I remember a long ago teacher warning all of her pupils never to use the word NICE because it wasn’t a proper word, It wasn’t nice!
The derivation is rather strange:
Middle English (in the sense ‘stupid’): from Old French, from Latin nescius ‘ignorant’, from nescire ‘not know’. Other early senses included ‘coy, reserved’, giving rise to ‘fastidious, scrupulous’: this led both to the sense ‘fine, subtle’ (regarded by some as the ‘correct’ sense), and to the main current senses.
However, I rather like the word, and I shall use it because I think it is NICE.
Geoff Le Pard posted a film review yesterday which mentioned that one of the main characters was an Oud player.
Now, it just so happens that I knew what an Oud was, but I wanted to know where the instrument originated from so I entered the long and dark tunnel known as Google, and then Wikipedia, and this is part of what I found:
The first known complete description of the ‛ūd and its construction is found in the epistle Risāla fī-l-Luḥūn wa-n-Nagham by 9th-century Philosopher of the Arabs Yaʻqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī. Kindī’s description stands thus:
“[and the] length [of the ‛ūd] will be: thirty-six joint fingers – with good thick fingers – and the total will amount to three ashbār.[Notes 1] And its width: fifteen fingers. And its depth seven and a half fingers. And the measurement of the width of the bridge with the remainder behind: six fingers. Remains the length of the strings: thirty fingers and on these strings take place the division and the partition, because it is the sounding [or “the speaking”] length. This is why the width must be [of] fifteen fingers as it is the half of this length. Similarly for the depth, seven fingers and a half and this is the half of the width and the quarter of the length [of the strings]. And the neck must be one third of the length [of the speaking strings] and it is: ten fingers. Remains the vibrating body: twenty fingers. And that the back (soundbox) be well rounded and its “thinning” (kharţ) [must be done] towards the neck, as if it had been a round body drawn with a compass which was cut in two in order to extract two ‛ūds“.
I just love that language. It is so much better than modern idioms, youth speak, or Essex garbage. That, in itself, is worthy of NICE.
But (and my favourite teacher would be horrified that I started a sentence with but) I then went on to discover this absolute gem of music, and this is REALLY NICE.
So, not only do we have a nice review of a nice film from the nice Geoff Le Pard but we also have some really nice descriptive language, followed by some very nice music.
I think this deserves a new occasional series of NICE things. I hope it gifts you a smile today.