Back in 1997, when Cool Britannia was all the rage and a Pentium 200MMX was shit hot hardware, an Italian singer called Gala released a song called "Freed from Desire." In it, is the following lyric:

"My lover's got no money, he's got his trumbolice."

When it was first played on the local radio where I was living at the time, someone rang in and said, "Terry," because that was the name of the DJ in question, "what's a trumbolice?"

Well, he didn't have a very good answer, he thought it was a mondegreen for "strong beliefs" which is clearly nonsense. So I set to researching it, after delaying for a decade and a bit for no good reason. Just what is a trumbolice?

Well, the answer is this. A trumbolice is a large brass musical instrument. It has the embouchure of other brass instruments, which is one way by which the trumbolician can control the pitch, and also has a slide like a trombone. However, it also has, on the slide handle, keys, like a euphonium, which, by astoundingly complicated mechanical sorcery, divert the flow of air from after the slide to a number of very long additional tubes that go right down, almost to floor level, and back up. However, if the slide is above halfway retracted, then these keys deviate the airflow to very small bypass tubes, thus allowing the trumbolician to play notes almost as high as on a standard trumpet, although care should be taken with the embouchure while so doing to avoid squeaking and similar nastiness.

The size and complexity of this means that the trumbolice is an extremely heavy instrument. Early trumbolices had to be lugged everywhere by hand, which could sometimes be a two person job, and then balanced on the bottom of the lowest tube while playing. This was not practical as often the whole contraption would wobble over, and in the case of junior players, often taking them with it. Following an extremely nasty product liability litigation in 1929 in which a young child learning the trumbolice suffered vicious injuries from a collapsing trumbolice, Besson, the leading manufacturer of trumbolices, pioneered a new design in which the entire instrument was welded to a four-wheeled trolley and with a large case, resembling an upside-down dustbin, which would be clipped to it during transit. The wheeled design was criticised at first for having a somewhat "dead" tone in the lower registers (and there are still to this day purists who insist on the old "balance" design and have online tutorials about how to saw the trolley off correctly) but its increased mobility widened access to this most quixotic of instruments, and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band had a trumbolician in it from the very start. A trumbolice can also be found on Kevin Bloody Wilson's classic song, "Mick the Master Farter" as well, where it seems permanently stuck in lower register.

There was an urban legend that the legendary brown note can be achieved on the trumbolice by pushing the slide all the way out and opening all the keys and blowing with the loosest possible embouchure but this is just an urban legend.

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