Mudcat Café message #654112 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #44448   Message #654112
Posted By: CapriUni
20-Feb-02 - 02:15 PM
Thread Name: Sound Of Pear-Shaped Tones
Subject: RE: Sound Of Pear-Shaped Tones
My favorite saying (In regards to this generation's obsession with "health"):

"I'm in very good shape. 'Pear' is a very good shape!"

As the folks in this thread will attest. ;-)

As for things "going pear-shaped", I have no authority to cite to back me up, but the phrase brings an image to my mind of a former athlete, who used to have bulging pecs and washboard abs, now vegging on the couch, with beer in one hand (and the beer belly to go with it) and a tv clicker in the other -- or, more comfortingly, an old worn teddy bear whose stuffing has gone all soft (like the Velvetine Rabbit).

As for the shape of sounds, I agree with MMario. I think it may have to do with how the singer shapes her/his mouth and throat to form the sound: starting small and quiet, and then opening out to a larger sound, the way a pear changes shape from the stem end to the blossom end.

I am a moderate afficiando of Shakespeare, and I've never come across the phrase in his work. Although I'm not familiar with every single line in every poem and play, I really think it is more likely that this phrase came about because some hapless singing teacher was trying to describe the sound he wanted, and was trying to come up with something for his student to visualize. Maybe there was a bowl of fruit in the studio, and he latched onto that...