Now that the FIFA World Cup is in full gear, the vuvuzela – pronounced voo-voo-ZAY-lah – is fair game for a Horn Matters article.
This horn is basically a noise-maker that enthusiastic fans toot in the hundreds, if not thousands during games. Like the typical Western brass instrument, it requires the player to buzz their lips to make a sound.
The sound is raw and raucous – somewhat similar to a French horn or trombone with its main tuning slide taken out.
While hundreds enjoy and participate in joyful tooting, others might call it a nuisance – even a danger. If a crowd of them gets going it can in fact get dangerously loud.
The video below registers a single blast at close range at around 140 decibels.
Compare that to these measurements:
- 20 dB = soft whisper
- 70 dB = vacuum cleaner
- 90 dB = screaming child
- 100 dB = jackhammer, chainsaw
- 120 dB = car horn at 3 feet
- 140dB = gunshot
These issues aside, I could easily imagine how blowing on one of these during a game would be fun. I would love it – wearing ear plugs.