Vuvuzela vs. Shofar

For those of you disappointed by the US soccer team’s exit in the World Cup I have one thing to say: there’s a fine line between a vuvuzela and a shofar.

A vuvuzela is a traditional African horn-like instrument used to call distant villagers to communal gatherings. The modern plastic version is most closely associated with South African soccer and the 2010 World Cup has generally served as the world’s introduction to the vuvuzela. It is about two-feet long and, when blown, produces a monotone sound that hovers around a B-flat. And it is exceedingly annoying. Like a mating call for some large, slow, and depressed animal.

The shofar is an instrument made out of a ram’s horn used in Jewish liturgies. It is most closely identified with the High Holy Days of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. There are Biblical references to the shofar, most notably in Exodus 19 and 20 when the Israelites tremble in fear and awe as it is blown at Mount Sinai. The sound is also rather grating but at least it has some religious significance.

Go ahead. Compare the two sounds and determine which one you’d rather hear for a full 90 minutes (plus overage time).

Who would want either one of those for a ringtone?

And, for my Jewish friends, I dare you to bring a vuvuzela with you the next time you attend services at the synogogue. If you do, my organist promises to compose a mass setting for vuvuzela and organ.


2 Comments on “Vuvuzela vs. Shofar”

  1. art finkle says:

    For more information about Shofar and other Holy Temple instruments, we have written extensively on the Shofar and have three websites

    1) Joint Effort with Michael Chusid, an expert Shofar sounder and commentator
    2) Shofar Sounders WebPage
    3) Shofar WebPage

  2. Barbara Baxter says:

    Afflicted as I am with an exaggerated startle response neither the shofar nor the vuvuzela belong in my cell phone’s ring tone repertoire (nor a didgeridoo, for that matter). However, to give myself a laugh at my own plight, I recently downloaded “The Ride of the Valkyries” as my ringtone. It’s too short a rendering, and not in the best measures, but perhaps it will desensitize me. I just wish it was recorded at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine — on the organ, that is.

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