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Played upon a razor

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 21, 2005

In Reply to: Played upon a razor posted by Brian from Shawnee on May 02, 2005

: : : : What is the origin of the phrase "he played upon a Razor" in the old nursery rhyme "There was a man in another town" or another version of the rhyme is "Aikendrum"? But both have this curious idea of "playing upon a razor"... presumably (but not necessarily) as a musical instrument. The rhyme, at least, dates back to late 1700's.

: : : Could it have anything to do with the phrases "On a razor's edge"?

: : If you go to
: : the words of the rhyme are all there. It seems that one man plyed a ladle and and another a razor, with the razor player coming to a sticky end with some haggis. To me,there's no logic behing either ladle or razor.

: I have to admit I had never heard of either one, until the mid-1990's when I started having little kids of my own. In fact until now I had only heard the "ladle" version, and of course here in the U.S. there is no mention of haggis.

The way to play music on a razor, if that's really what this is about, is to treat the razor the way you would a comb. That is, you put it in the fold of a piece of paper, wax paper does very nicely, hold it just a bit loosely, and hum on one of the flat surfaces. It works like a kazoo. You've played the kazoo, haven't you? SS