Conch is the name given to a variety of sea snails or their shells. True conchs are marine gastropod molluscs. The shells are often used as musical wind instruments (AKA shell trumpets). When a hole is cut into the top of the spire, it can be used as a trumpet. Also known as ‘conques’, they are popular instruments in India and Tibet, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.
The most famous conch in literature is to be found in Lord of the Flies by William Golding, another novel about a group of boys who go murderously off the rails.
An echoplexed Indian conch was used by Jerry Goldsmith in his score for Ridley Scott’s Alien in 1979. Scott thought the sound so eerie and otherworldly, he requested Goldsmith use it throughout the film. Listen on Spotify