Broken Feather

(A ). A broken feather in his wing. A scandal connected with one's character.

“If an angel were to walk about, Mrs. Sam Hurst would never rest till she had found out where he came from; and perhaps whether he had a broken feather in his wing.” —Mrs. Oliphant: Phoebe.

Broken Music
A “consort” consisted of six viols, usually kept in one case. When the six were played together it was called a “whole consort,” when less than the six were played it was called “a broken consort.” Sometimes applied to open chords or arpeggios.

“Here is good broken music.”

Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida, iii. 1.

Lord Bacon in his Sylva Sylvarum gives a different explanation: he says certain instruments agree together and produce concordant music, but others (as the virginal and lute, the Welsh and Irish harps) do not accord.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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