Mnozil Brass speak Mandarin

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Listen to these Austrian fellows introduce themselves in Mandarin (from around :50 to around 2:00):

All they say is "Wǒ jiào X", but they mix up the tones in so many different ways, and their attempts to pronounce their Austrian names in a Mandarin fashion are so cute that the audience erupts in laughter again and again.  Meanwhile, the host keeps complimenting them for being so biāozhǔn 標準 ("standard").

Bill Benzon, who sent this to me, remarks:

In case you don’t know, the musicians are the Mnozil Brass, a septet out of Austria. They are VERY good, playing a repertoire of Balkan folk music, pop tunes, classical and semi-classical, jazz, and whatever else. As you might guess, they’re very much into putting on a show. Playing the melody of the 2nd movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto using recorders stuck in a nostril, that’s well within their range. And each has adopted a stage persona as part of their act. Thus Leonhard Paul, the trombone player in the pink jacket, is an awkward shy geek, etc.

These guys really are musical and comedic geniuses.  Being of Austrian heritage, their performance resonates deeply in my Tyrolean soul.  I don't know about other parts of Austria, but every little village in the Tyrol has what is known as a Musikkapelle ("band").  In my own ancestral village of Pfaffenhofen, generations of my relatives have participated in these marching brass bands from the time they were young, all decked out in their Lederhosen and other Alpine garb, and one of them has recently served as the Musikkapelle Meister of the band and coordinator of all the bands in the region.  So there is a vast pool of talented musicians and a long tradition to draw on for the formation of outstanding groups of brass instrumentalists to form fantastic groups like Mnozil Brass.  Austria is truly blessed to have them as part of their culture.  So is the world.

And here are the amazing Mnozil Brass performing William Tell Overture:


  1. Geoff said,

    October 30, 2017 @ 3:06 am

    To me most of their 'wo jiaos' sound like wo2 jaio3. I'm wondering what equivalent phrase or rule of intonation in their own language might cause that.

  2. David Marjanović said,

    October 30, 2017 @ 5:43 am

    I'm wondering what equivalent phrase or rule of intonation in their own language might cause that.

    Ich heiße, pronounced slowly and clearly, tends to come out that way.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    October 30, 2017 @ 6:18 am

    It's really surprising to me that "Ich heiße" could sound like a 2nd tone followed by a 3rd tone. I don't think I've ever heard it pronounced that way.

  4. Coby Lubliner said,

    October 30, 2017 @ 8:14 am

    VHM: in view of your Austrian heritage, do you pronounce your surname the German way (like mire) or in an anglicized way (like mare)?

  5. Victor Mair said,

    October 30, 2017 @ 8:33 am

    @Coby Lubliner

    My family all pronounce our surname like "hair", but I never complain or correct anyone if they pronounce it as Mayer, Meier, Myer, Mayr, Meir, Meyer, Meyr, etc. — however people think those names sound.

  6. Bill Benzon said,

    October 30, 2017 @ 4:17 pm

    Tyrolean madness?

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