'smorgasbord' of music [acceptable?]

barneyventure

Senior Member
french
Hi everybody,

I would like to use this word to describe a wide selection of music or a huge blend of music.

A smorgasbord of music

1) how does it sounds?

2) I cannot figure out how popular is this word. Does everyone understand it, whether in the UK or in the US?
Is it oudated? trendy? can we use it to describe non food related things?

Thanks
 
  • Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It means a plethora or a cornucopia of sound. A large, diversely blended mix of sounds.

    1) It sounds fine. Some may argue that they'd not use it. My mom used it all the time.
    2) It may be a bit outdated. Some regions of the United States may not be familiar with it.

    Afterthought: Apparently the word has Swedish origins. I have no idea how wide-spread its usage is in the United States (or the U.K. for that matter) but I, for one, would understand it if you were to say it.
     
    Last edited:

    barneyventure

    Senior Member
    french
    Hello Filsmith,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Given the context, which one would be a better match then?

    smorgasbord or cornucopia?
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    I don't think the use of this word will be appropriate in this context. It means literally a table with sandwiches, and more practically the kind of service in a hotel or a restaurant where one can eat freely whatever they want for one flat price.
    Figuratively it could mean a variety, but I don't think it goes well with music.
     

    barneyventure

    Senior Member
    french
    oh really? I figured that out that's why I asked the forum, however there is a lot of hit on google for both words (smorgasbord of music and cornucopia of music)
    That's a bit confusing.
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't think the use of this word will be appropriate in this context. It means literally a table with sandwiches, and more practically the kind of service in a hotel or a restaurant where one can eat freely whatever they want for one flat price.
    Figuratively it could mean a variety, but I don't think it goes well with music.
    I can see your point in a "literal sense", however, I can say from experience that it is used quite often in the generic sense of "wide range/selection". Though not completely true to the definition of smorgasbord, I have often heard it used in regards to many things other than just food.

    It may not be necessarily "correct" to use it in such a way, but many do so.

    Hello Filsmith,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Given the context, which one would be a better match then?

    smorgasbord or cornucopia?
    If I had my druthers, I'd prefer cornucopia. A cornucopia of sound. (this, however, would have to be taken in the figurative sense of the word - not the literal)
    A cornucopia could not realistically contain sound. Cornucopia is literally a horn brimming with a wide variety of foods. This is a case where the literal definitions are not always the way that real human beings choose to relay imagery. Neither smorgasbord nor cornucopia would be technically applicable to sound; but they are used in such a way quite often.
     
    Last edited:

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    Since I speak Swedish the only image that comes to my mind are sandwiches, with shrimp and mayo, usually. You may be right: English speakers may not have such associations.
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Since I speak Swedish the only image that comes to my mind are sandwiches, with shrimp and mayo, usually. You may be right: English speakers may not have such associations.
    I'd say that 90% of the time we use it in regards to food. We'd often say "There was a smorgasbord of food at Thanksgiving!! The spread was fantastic!". It's just one of those literary liberties that Americans take in word choice (often "incorrectly").
    Just as one would say "he is a fountain of knowledge" it would not truly mean that such a fountain exists nor would a fountain produce knowledge. In a literal sense, a fountain would only spring forth liquid. Any definition of fountain would talk about liquids spilling forth, etc.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    It would be perfectly understandable to me also. (Restaurants that today would be called "buffets" were often called "smorgasboards" when I was young.) It may be a bit out of date, but I can't imagine it wouldn't be understood by most AE speakers.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I do not think it is a 'mix', rather an asortment of varying items, originally food items, what we'd usually call a buffet. Translated from the Swedish, meaning, I gather, "slice of bread table", like open sandwiches

    I really can't say how often the word is used these days, or how many people even know it. Increasing numbers of people know very little about language, it seems to me. I think most literate people would have it in their passive vocabulary. Actually I heard a funny rather dirty joke about the word the other day, the whole point of which was a very vague understanding that the word might have something to do with food. I prefer 'smorgasbord' to 'cornucopia', because it suggests carefully prepared, well -chosen delicacies laid out invitingly on a beautifully dressed table rather than simply lots and lots all jumbled together tumbling all battered and bruised out of a shell, is it, for some reason unknown to me.

    Hermione
     

    barneyventure

    Senior Member
    french
    On second thought, sure it pertains to a table where one can eat freely whatever they want for one flat price. Another similar, and yet wide spread expression conveys the same idea: "all you can eat music"

    In this regard won't smorgasbord be better?
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    All you can eat music would definitely not work. You are using the verb "eat" and that strongly conveys actually eating. Smorgasbord and cornucopia are figurative uses of the words to convey imagery.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    .... it pertains to a table where one can eat freely whatever they want for one flat price. Another similar, and yet wide spread expression conveys the same idea: "all you can eat music"
    Sorry, but I don't think eating "all you want for one flat price" comes into it. It is simply a description of a way of presenting food, just as that other foreign loan word 'buffet' is. Another feature of such meals is the absence of table service. Buffet meals are often served at private events where there is no question of paying for the food. You have completely lost me on that widespread expression "all you can eat music".

    Yes I prefer 'smorgasbord', even though I am not very sure of the context.

    Hermione
     

    barneyventure

    Senior Member
    french
    I totally agree with you and Pob 14, this one sounds weird, but didn't you stumble upon such headlines?

    Spotify to offer an All-You-Can Eat Musical Buffet

    Sony’s all-you-can-eat music service - the best weapon against piracy?
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I totally agree with you and Pob 14, this one sounds weird, but didn't you stumble upon such headlines?

    Spotify to offer an All-You-Can Eat Musical Buffet

    Sony’s all-you-can-eat music service - the best weapon against piracy?
    This is hard to explain. You may find examples of this...but it would sound "odd" to any native speaker if you were to say it. That title is mostly being "fun" with its title. It is being used to say "all you want - no limit". Again, however, neither I nor any other native speaker would use such terminology.
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Hi everybody,

    I would like to use this word to describe a wide selection of music or a huge blend of music.
    Hi barney,
    I agree with Filsmith and pob that the figurative use of ‘smorgasbord’ may be a little outdated. At least it’s been a while since I’ve heard someone use it that way. Even in the literal sense, the word seems to be used less frequently (outside Scandinavian circles, where you may still hear it when people refer to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smörgåsbord)
    But if you really like this word for whatever reason, go ahead and use it, as there’s nothing wrong with using it in the context you describe. I can’t imagine anyone not understanding it.
    Personally I would be tempted to use the word “medley” (which literally refers to a single piece of music made from various bits and pieces of different songs). This is also used figuratively to describe a blend or a hodge-podge of things. It might be a ‘play on words’ if you use "medley" in both senses of the word :)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Sorry, but I don't think eating "all you want for one flat price" comes into it. It is simply a description of a way of presenting food, just as that other foreign loan word 'buffet' is. Another feature of such meals is the absence of table service. Buffet meals are often served at private events where there is no question of paying for the food. You have completely lost me on that widespread expression "all you can eat music".
    In American English, smorgasbord and buffet are both words used for all-you-can-eat restaurants. "Free" is a price of 0 ;).
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In American English, smorgasbord and buffet are both words used for all-you-can-eat restaurants. "Free" is a price of 0 ;).
    Not to mention that we are the home of buffets!! Private events such as weddings are not solely where you will find our "good ole U.S.of A buffets. That's why we, as a nation, are so damn fat. :)
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    The implication of smorgasbord (when applied to non-foods) is "a large variety of <things> from which you can choose".

    Cornucopia implies a "never-ending supply of <things>". (The Cornucopia was a magic horn from which you could draw food and never empty it.)
     

    barneyventure

    Senior Member
    french
    Thanks to Pwmeek, Bicontinental and all!
    I’ll definitely go with smorgasbord.

    I'd like to follow up on Filsmith's comment:

    "neither I nor any other native speaker would use such terminology" (all-you-can-eat)


    I did not make these examples up, they are all over the web. I cannot believe all of them are a figment of non-native's imagination.

    Here are more from people that are not rumoured to be non-native speakers:

    Sam Jones
    The Guardian
    Monday 10 August 2009

    Music industry may seek salvation in 'all you can eat' downloads
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/10/music-download-young-people

    Financial Times
    By Brian Lam
    Mar 18, 2008 8:04 PM

    iTunes All-You-Can-Eat Music Downloads Coming
    http://gizmodo.com/369467/financial-times-itunes-all+you+can+eat-music-downloads-coming

    Business Insider
    Nicholas Carlson
    March 23, 2012

    All-you-can eat music service Spotify is raising another big round of funding
    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-23/tech/31228196_1_spotify-hulu-investors#ixzz1qUNmQDCD


    TechCrunch
    Jason Kincaid
    Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
    MOG Launches All-You-Can-Eat Music Service For iPhone And Android
    http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/20/mog-iphone-android/
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    What about All-You-Can-Download Music service? I really don't like the smorgasbord in relation to anything else than food, but this might just be my personal taste.
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.

    I'd like to follow up on Filsmith's comment:
    "neither I nor any other native speaker would use such terminology" (all-you-can-eat)

    I did not make these examples up, they are all over the web. I cannot believe all of them are a figment of non-native's imagination.


    You have to remember; the internet cannot be trusted. I know many people that take creative liberties with words and wordplay in order to make a joke or a catchy title. I can assure you that no one, in everyday speaking, would say all-you-can-eat music. You'll find no one here that will agree to that in regards to everyday speech. It just is not something any of us would say.
     
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