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October 20, 2018

From Bang On: Outsized Musical Instruments

‘Name a musical instrument that would be too large to carry onto an aeroplane.’

Just when you thought you’ve got the hang of it, Bang On throws you a curve-ball challenge...

And one that gets that pesky opposing team rubbing their hands at the prospect of a right old ding-dong of arguments and objections. Brace yourself!

Note the specific phrase: ‘carry onto’ – no sneaking your instruments into the hold. And you’re quite within your rights to insist that this topic involves a normal, everyday airplane. So face down any attempts to bring up single-propeller Cessnas, lawnmower-engined microlights or, indeed, whatever the latest EasyJet policies and extra charges involve.

So wind up the fairground bell, take a deep, deep breath, and let’s bash out…


A grand piano! Let’s face it, this is likely to be most peoples’ first answer. Nobody carries a grand piano onto an aeroplane. Not even Elton John.


A double bass! A full-sized double bass comes in at around six feet from top to bottom, rendering it particularly inconvenient for the jet-setting musician. Unless you’re planning on purchasing your instrument its own seat, we’d recommend avoiding air travel, even if you do go down the check-in route. Notwithstanding the excess baggage charge, it’s likely to cause a modicum of disruption to the conveyors at baggage reclaim.


A sousaphone! You might have already shouted ‘tuba’. But you can have both. A sousaphone is essentially the dull old tuba with the cool-factor ramped up, sometimes via the medium of bizarre and eccentric design. It was developed for marching bands in the USA, to carry its sound above the heads of band members and forwards, towards the listeners. Rather than the tuba, which sends its sound up in the air, where it belongs.


Carl Palmer’s drum kit! Just ‘a drum kit’ renders you liable for a challenge, as they clearly come in all sizes. So get specific. We offer you this video from 1973 – and oh boy, this is peak 1973 – of Prog Drum God Carl Palmer and his… ah… understated equipment. Warning – contains flashing images near the end of the clip, although we suspect that many of you won’t make it past the first twenty seconds.




Bagpipes! Eh?!? That’s ridiculous – you’re struggling now. Deflated bagpipes are perfectly compact, and would easily get into the overhead locker. Except that, of course, bagpipes should not be taken onto an aeroplane in any circumstances, full stop. Except to protect yourself in the event of a hijack situation.

BAN… oh – time’s out.

More about Drumond Park family games here.

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