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In the 1957 movie "All at Sea" or "Barnacle Bill" starring Alec Guiness, there is a solo instrument often played to create a humorous sailor-ish effect.

You can hear a very short bit of it in this clip right at the end of the guy rowing the boat in circles. There are much longer tunes played by this instrument elsewhere in the movie, but unfortunately they weren't up on YouTube.

Does anyone know what that instrument might be? I have searched IMDB for a clue, but aside from one reference to the tune being whimsical, I didn't find anything else.

Maybe some kind of harmonica? It doesn't really sound like it...

  • Anyone? The Movies & TV site shuts down the question, and I get no response here? :\ – Tagger Apr 2 at 23:56
  • Hi @Tagger, this is a nice question. Please don't be discouraged by slow responses here, we are a smaller site than Movies and TV SE. Moreover, identification questions are quite often a hit and miss. I listened to the linked clip, but I'm not able to identify the instrument being used; perhaps others will have better success. – Brahadeesh Apr 4 at 10:31
  • Thank you, Brahadeesh! I will be patient and see if someone has an idea. – Tagger Apr 5 at 0:23
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Probably a concertina ("squeezebox") with buttons...

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It's most likely a hornpipe, a flute made from a piece of horn, which is popularly and traditionally associated with sailors. It has a sound much like a bagpipe, but without the drones.

It can be tough to search for "hornpipe" because the dance music by the same name is much more popular than the instrument itself. But you can find the instrument hornpipe under the name "pipgorn."

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