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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 07-30-2017, 11:34 AM   #1
Leong
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Default How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

In the Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, Holmes (the world's first consulting detective) invites his companion to

"....learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man, and the trade or profession to which he belongs. Puerile as such an exercise may seem, it sharpens the faculties of observation, and teaches one where to look and what to look for. By a man’s finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt cuffs—by each of these things a man’s calling is plainly revealed."

Would he be able to pick out a piper from the crowd (sans pipes of course), or across from him at an interview in the rooms at 221B Baker Street?

I have a callus which Holmes will not fail to observe on the side of my right thumb. Is this common to pipers?

But aside from that, I don't think I exhibit a more visibly muscled left arm (compared to the right), am more bug-eyed than the general populace, or have a more puffed-up chest
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:39 AM   #2
piper Q
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

A callus on the side of the thumb would not be indicative of a bagpiper. It could also indicate that one is in the Profession of Arms and uses the thumb to engage or disengage the safety of a weapon. Also other occupations have unique hand and digit manipulations which also could develop a thumb callus.
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:56 AM   #3
Leong
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

You are quite right, PiperQ. It would not come down to a single clue, but the Holmes method depends on taking into consideration a number of such physical attributes* including the bearing of the person and so on. A single thing would not signify.



*(hahaha - perhaps a right little finger describing figure 7s on the armrest)
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Old 07-30-2017, 12:01 PM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

C' mon Watson......a guy continuously playing a birl on a #2 pencil or his right pants leg,or his stomach when lounging seated or left elbow when arms crossed.
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Old 07-30-2017, 02:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper Q View Post
A callus on the side of the thumb would not be indicative of a bagpiper. It could also indicate that one is in the Profession of Arms and uses the thumb to engage or disengage the safety of a weapon. Also other occupations have unique hand and digit manipulations which also could develop a thumb callus.

A callus on the right thumb could also indicate a tuba player with a rotary-valve tuba. ( or even one of several piston-valve models, but then the shape of the callus would be different). A slightly elevated left shoulder might be another indicator, but then again it could also indicate a sousaphone player...
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Old 07-30-2017, 02:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
C' mon Watson......a guy continuously playing a birl on a #2 pencil or his right pants leg,or his stomach when lounging seated or left elbow when arms crossed.

I quite agree. It has come to my notice that pipers, particularly advanced ones, are constantly playing something with their fingers either on the beer glass, table top, elbows, or even against their thumbs.

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Old 07-31-2017, 10:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

I see that you are a piper by the drum of your fingers on the horn spoon.
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Old 07-31-2017, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

While Leong has limited his observable details to a callus on the thumb, Holmes accepted no such limitations. In example, there are the numerous unavoidable tics mentioned already, but still there are many more. An amount of tartan wear in the clothing, an odor of Airtight Seasoning, or potentially of a honey mixture, on the left side of the jacket, or even on the right for cack handed players, but one side only. Unconciously humming a Piobaireachd, wearing a glengarry. A jacket with a wear mark of a roll of hemp, with hemp bits left on the jacket. The smack mark on the face where the Pipe Major gently corrected a missing embellishment. OR lastly, by the unmistakable superiority and lofty brow of the imagined piper. All these things form a gestalt which Holmes by dint of practice could determine.
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Old 07-31-2017, 01:03 PM   #9
Leong
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

Clearly, I'm a Lestrade to your Holmes, Zarb!



I can suggest one more to the list - the remains of thermowax in the fingerprint ridges on one or two digits


- an amount of tartan wear in the clothing
- an odor of Airtight Seasoning, or potentially of a honey mixture, on the left side of the jacket, or even on the right for cack handed players, but one side only
- unconsciously humming a Piobaireachd, wearing a glengarry (not sure if this is 2 separate things i.e. we exclude glengarry wearing if you are not humming a pibroch )
- a jacket with a wear mark of a roll of hemp, with hemp bits left on the jacket
- the smack mark on the face where the Pipe Major gently corrected a missing embellishment
- the unmistakable superiority and lofty brow of the imagined piper <--- oh, good one!
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Old 07-31-2017, 01:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: How Sherlock Holmes detects the piper

the thermowax could be a result of an occupation as a cobbler, or pipefitter, but would add to the gestalt.
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