EACH time I hear Handel's Hornpipe from the Water Music Suite, I travel back to the days when we were seated in a science lab and watching TV. Actually those sessions were called ETV (Educational TV) where programmes were specially made to explain lessons in a more interesting and entertaining way. That was during the 70s when I was in secondary school. We kind of looked forward to such sessions because it meant that we could allow our mind to wander a little as the teacher in charge of the sessions was usually seated at the back of the class. However, we could not day dream too much as the teacher would later ask questions on the subject featured in the programme.
The programmes were in black and white. I remember the narrator's voice which was calm and soothing -- perhaps a little bit too soothing as I soon found myself nodding off.
Hornpipes in Handel's French overture heralded the start of each ETV programme. A teacher actually took the trouble to explain the origins of Water Music though it was just background music for the introduction to the programme. Only trouble was that I got it all garbled. The only part I got right was that it was music composed for a king.
But for the longest time, I thought that hornpipes had water gushing down their length to produce "watery" music. So each time the programme started, I was enthralled secretly by the mental image of water gurgling down long pipes. Which I thought explained why Handel named this piece "Water Music".
Well, I know now that it was because King George had requested for a concert on River Thames, hence the water connection.
Today, I guess "E" stands more for 'electronic" rather than "educational". And in true spirit of the E-era, I googled "water pipes" and discovered that music can actually be produced using water pipes. And there is also such a thing as a water ogran. Wow!