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Cole, E.M. (1921). A New Point in the Symbolism of Flute Playing. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 2:202-203.

(1921). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 2:202-203

A New Point in the Symbolism of Flute Playing

Estelle Maude Cole

It is quite an ordinary occurrence to be confronted in psycho-analysis with dreams in which the performance on a flute or other musical instrument is associated in the unconscious with the masturbatory act or with the passing of flatus. The flute, by reason of its shape, lends itself to identification with the phallus, and the resemblance approximates still more closely to the penis in the clarionet and whistle, where the mouthpiece would be represented by the head or glans penis. Recently I have come across some associations which do not show that they are connected with either masturbation or flatus, and thus present a new point in symbolism for consideration.

A man patient brought a dream that he was playing a flute.

1. The stimulus appeared to be that during the day preceding the dream night the patient was riding on a bus which traversed Trafalgar Square. The fountains in the middle of this thoroughfare attracted his attention, and he noticed that the water issued from a lion's mouth. This reminded him of the celebrated fountain in Brussels, which represents a little boy in the act of micturition.

2. The analysis of the manifest content showed that the patient has always been devoted to music. His present interest lies in the violin. At the age of six or seven years he had greatly admired an army bandsman who played the clarionet; this he had been allowed to examine and it caused great excitement. His early attempts at music had begun on a penny whistle.

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