The Bumbulum, A Medieval Musical Instrument That Made Fart Sounds


People in the Middle Ages faced horrors ranging from plagues to war, but in the midst of life-threatening disasters, they enjoyed a good laugh, including the fart, the most universal source of humour. Fart jokes can be found in historical literature from Shakespeare to Chaucer, and medieval people may have also amused themselves with a musical instrument, called a bambulum, that produced fart noises.

What Was Bambulam?

The bambulum was, clearly, a wind instrument, but it was more like a bagpipe than a flute or trumpet, named after the Latin word for the hump or hump of a bee, bamboulio. Think of it like a big whoopie cushion. It was first described in a letter from Saint Jerome, a theologian who lived from 347 to 420, to his associate Claudius Postumus Dardanus. Jerome wrote that the instrument was designed to accentuate musical compositions with fart sounds and was built with pipes and an air bladder. Another 11th-century document describes it as a frame on which rows of rectangular metal sheets were hung, while medieval paintings are alleged to have been a bumbulum, drum-like. From instruments to butt tuba can best be described. ,

Was Bambulam Real?

Many experts in the history of musical instruments argue that the bambulum never actually existed. The literal context may have been pure fantasy or inside jokes that have lost meaning to us. One thing is certain: the medieval era was as much about sophistication humor as it was about relentless horror.

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