The music produced by supposedly unmusical objects in Sirens concludes with an intestinal symphony as Bloom leaves the Ormond and moves west along the quays. Variations of two small onomatopoeic words reproduce the sounds increasingly emanating from his turbulent guts, and a third sound imitates a small release of gas. At the end of the chapter, the three sounds climactically combine when a passing tram gives Bloom cover for a long and satisfying fart: "Pprrpffrrppffff." In building to this conclusion Joyce almost certainly was paying homage to a widespread medieval musical image that he found in Dante's Inferno.

John Hunt 2023

  Detail from Hieronymus Bosch's ca. 1495-1505 triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Source: earlymusicmuse.com.

  Another detail from Bosch's triptych, showing a man carrying a huge shawm and playing a fife with his ass. Source: earlymusicmuse.com.

Marginalis from Vincent of Beauvais's 1297 Speculum Historiale.
Source: earlymusicmuse.com.

A similar bit of marginalia in a 14th century Flemish Book of Hours.
Source: earlymusicmuse.com.

  Another such image. Source: earlymusicmuse.com.