pitch upon/spare

lizy

Senior Member
Spain-Spanish
I'm having some trouble with "pitch upon" and "spare". I think I can more or less guess their meaning in this context but I need to make sure. Any synonymous?

"They are taught music by the help of a stick, without which discipline nothing goes down with them. If a General pitches upon some spare fellow in a regiment, whom he will have to learn music, notwithstanding he has not the least notion of it, he is put to a master..."

Thanks.
 
  • Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "To pitch upon" means "to choose" or "to decide on".

    "Spare" may mean "... upon one of the fellows..." (any fellow; a random fellow).

    The rest sentence doesn't make sense to me. I guess it is saying "If a General chooses one of the of the fellows in the regiment, he will need to learn music..."
     

    lizy

    Senior Member
    Spain-Spanish
    Thanks, Nick. You've been very helpful today! I was right about "pitch upon" (which, by the way, I couldn't find in any of my dictionaries) but I thought "spare" maybe meant "with nothing to do". I've already made out the rest of the sentence. It sounds weird because its a 17th century translation of a German letter.
    Thanks again.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Lizy-
    I feel so sorry for second-language learners! They make you read all the difficult stuff that most first-language readers don't read unless they are getting a degree in English literature!
    :) ;)
     

    Ralf

    Senior Member
    German
    lizy said:
    .... its a 17th century translation of a German letter.
    Thanks again.
    I thought as much, since there is a German saying roughly translated into English goes like "to teach so. music" or more literally "to teach so. the (correct) tunes (of a flute)", which means to teach so. (or drill so. into) the correct manners, i. e. to give so. lesson.
     

    lizy

    Senior Member
    Spain-Spanish
    Ralf said:
    I thought as much, since there is a German saying roughly translated into English goes like "to teach so. music" or more literally "to teach so. the (correct) tunes (of a flute)", which means to teach so. (or drill so. into) the correct manners, i. e. to give so. lesson.
    Interesting! I didn't know that as my German is definitely poor. However, the texts talks about music and musicians, so I think we should take the expression literally.
    Thanks, Ralph. I'm learning a lot today.
     
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