could hear music piping in from?

High on grammar

Senior Member
Farsi
Hello everyone:


I couldn’t find an example of “could hear music piping in” on the Googlebooks. So, does it mean that my sentence that appears below is incorrect?

[Suddenly I could hear music piping in from some unknown source].

Thanks
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If it's your own sentence, perhaps you could tell us what you want it to mean?
    In large stores we sometimes talk about piped music (muzak), but otherwise I find it odd to talk about it being piped.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    If it's your own sentence, perhaps you could tell us what you want it to mean?
    In large stores we sometimes talk about piped music (muzak), but otherwise I find it odd to talk about it being piped.
    I believe " piping in from" in my sentence is synonymous with "coming from".

    [ I was sitting in my room when I suddenly heard music coming from/piping in from some unknown source]

    Thanks
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would only expect to hear this expression if the music was intended to be heard (through loudspeakers), as in the example I gave. It is as if the music is being sent through pipes.
    Otherwise I find it strange, unless we're talking about bagpipes!

    If we want to know the source of the music, we would ask where it is coming from, not where it is being piped in from.
     
    Last edited:

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    I would only expect to hear this expression if the music was intended to be heard (through loudspeakers), as in the example I gave. It is as if the music is being sent through pipes.
    Otherwise I find it strange, unless we're talking about bagpipes!

    If we want to know the source of the music, we would ask where it is coming from, not where it is being piped in from.

    Here is an example of that strange use of "pipe in" used by a native speaker of English:


    Adam's Apple - Page 88
    A beautiful woman on my arm, beautiful music piping in from all sides of the truck, surrounded by beautiful people. And I was hungry. We had to stop anyway; no way we would make the last hour of the drive unless we gassed up.
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    When we talk about something being piped in, it means that that something is available to us as though it were on tap. and that it is conveyed to us through some mechanism, as water arrives by means of plumbing through pipes. It speaks of a steady and plentiful supply, and of ease of access to it.

    It's inappropriate to talk of music that arrives on a current of air as piping in. (Yes, I've changed my mind).

    I think that music can be 'piped in', but I no longer think it can 'pipe in'.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    When we talk about something being piped in, it means that that something is available to us as though it were on tap. and that it is conveyed to us through some mechanism, as water arrives by means of plumbing through pipes. It speaks of a steady and plentiful supply, and of ease of access to it.

    It's inappropriate to talk of music that arrives on a current of air as piping in. (Yes, I've changed my mind).

    I think that music can be 'piped in', but I no longer think it can 'pipe in'.

    What about this one:
    Silent Abuse, Control - Page 50

    Although I had not fallen asleep, the sound of my husband's voice seemed like it was piping in from a mile away. The tone of it began to set my heart racing as my eyes flew open. I heard him repeat my name louder and louder as his voice ...
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    We have a proverb in English: One swallow does not a summer make.
    You have found two examples. You may well find more. :)

    All that is needed is for people on twitter to read these books and start tweeting pipe in to each other.

    That will force me (and Beryl perhaps) to change our minds.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    We have a proverb in English: One swallow does not a summer make.
    You have found two examples. You may well find more. :)

    All that is needed is for people on twitter to read these books and start tweeting pipe in to each other.

    That will force me (and Beryl perhaps) to change our minds.

    Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time - Page 63
    Ten minutes later, we were slipping in and out of unlit rooms where figures lurked in corners and a tribal beat was piping in from somewhere. This is when my memory becomes patchy. Gus faded away. I have a dim recollection of a bald man ...

    My point is that there are many native speakers who use "pipe in" as such.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    There are 2 examples from COCA of piping in:

    1) In the sensitive time after the attacks of September 11, Bob Dylan began his concerts by piping in recorded excerpts of Copland.
    2) You have loud speakers everywhere piping in music. [Spoken English]

    I don't know exactly what piping in means in 1), but I assume it means through a feed or cable or loudspeaker.

    There is nothing strange here, since we have the expression piped music. The piping is also transitive. If we look at piped in, we find a much larger number of examples (perhaps a dozen, at a rough guess). But they are all the past passive of the transitive verb pipe.

    But you (and the novels you quote) are using piping in as an intransitive verb, which is unusual, to say the least.
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I haven't found any support for my hypothesis, but ....

    Sound can be carried through pipes, i.e. big tubes. If you take a long length of PVC tubing and hold one end to your ear and ask someone to speak into the other end, you will realize that sound carries quite efficiently through pipes.

    I imagine this was used in a bygone era to carry music to a part of a church or cathedral not in an auditorium and thus the terminology has continued to this day although we now have wires, fiber optics, Bluetooth, etc.

    ... or maybe not.
     
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