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A Joke For All of Us
from Neeraj Mathur
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 

I found this on rec.humor.funny, posted by a Brad Donison under the subject heading "A little culture...". I thought some of you might like it.

Neeraj Mathur


Cultural differences explained:

Aussies: Believe you should look out for your mates.
Brits: Believe that you should look out for those people who belong to your club.
Americans: Believe that people should look out for and take care of themselves.
Canadians: Believe that that's the government's job.

Aussies: Dislike being mistaken for Pommies (Brits) when abroad.
Canadians: Are rather indignant about being mistaken for Americans when abroad.
Americans: Encourage being mistaken for Canadians when abroad.
Brits: Can't possibly be mistaken for anyone else when abroad.

Americans: Spend most of their lives glued to the idiot box.
Canadians: Don't, but only because they can't get more American channels.
Brits: Pay a tax just so they can watch 4 channels.
Aussies: Export all their crappy programs, which no one there watches, to Britain, where
   everybody loves them.

Americans: Love to watch sports on the idiot box.
Brits: Love to watch sports in stadiums so they can fight with other fans.
Canadians: Prefer to actually engage in sports rather than watch them.

Americans: Will jabber on incessantly about football, baseball and basketball.
Brits: Will jabber on incessantly about cricket, soccer and rugby.
Canadians: Will jabber on incessantly about hockey, hockey, hockey, and how they beat
   the Americans twice, playing baseball.
Aussies: Will jabber on incessantly about how they beat the Poms in every sport they
   played them in.

Americans: Spell words differently, but still call it "English."
Brits: Pronounce their words differently, but still call it "English."
Canadians: Spell like the Brits, pronounce like Americans.
Aussies: Add "G'day", "mate," and a heavy accent to everything they say

Brits: Shop at home and have goods imported because they live on an island.
Aussies: Shop at home and have goods imported because they live on an island.
Americans: Cross the southern border for cheap shopping, gas and liquor in a backwards
Canadians: Cross the southern border for cheap shopping, gas and liquor in a backwards

Aussies: Are extremely patriotic to their beer.
Americans: Are flag-waving, anthem-singing, and obsessively patriotic to the point of
Canadians: Can't agree on the words to their anthem, when they can be bothered to
   sing them.
Brits: Do not sing at all but prefer a large brass band to perform the anthem.

Americans: Drink weak, pissy-tasting beer.
Canadians: Drink strong, pissy-tasting beer.
Brits: Drink warm, beery-tasting piss.
Aussies: Drink anything with alcohol in it.

Brits: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their past citizens.
Americans: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their present citizens.
Canadians: Prattle on about how some of those great Americans were once Canadian.
Aussies: Wallow on about how some of their past citizens were once outlaw Pommies, but
   none of that matters after several beers.

Americans: Seem to think that poverty and failure are morally suspect.
Canadians: Seem to believe that wealth and success are morally suspect.
Brits: Seem to believe that wealth, poverty, success and failure are inherited things.
Aussies: Seem to think that none of this matters after several beers.

Canadians: Encourage immigrants to keep their old ways and avoid assimilation.
Americans: Encourage immigrants to assimilate quickly and dump their old ways.
Brits: Encourages immigrants to go to Canada or America.

Canadians: Endure bitterly cold winters and are proud of it.
Brits: Endure oppressively wet and dreary winters and are proud of it.
Americans: Don't have to do either, and couldn't care less.
Aussies: Don't understand what inclement weather means.

Aussies: Have produced comedians like Paul Hogan and Yahoo Serious.
Canadians: Have produced many great commedians, like John Candy, Martin Short,
   Jim Carey, Dan Akroyd, and all the rest at SCTV.
Americans: Think that these people are American!
Brits: Have produced many great comedians, but Americans ignore them because they
   don't understand subtle humor.

Musician jokes
From several sources (but Michele started it...)
Date: mid-October 1998

How many jazz guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?
100. 1 to change it & 99 to complain that it's electric.

What's the difference between a country guitarist dead in the road & a jazz trombonist
   dead in the road?
The country guitarist was probably on his way to a gig.

What do you call 2 oboes playing in unison?
A minor 2nd.

What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?

How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
Just one. She just stands there and the world revolves around her.

Why is a 'cello better than a viola?
'Cello burns longer.

How many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five. One to do it, and four to say "I coulda dun dat."

What's the difference between a double bass and a coffin?
With a coffin, the dead guy's on the inside.

How long does it take to tune a hammered dulcimer?
Nobody knows.

What's the best sort of tipper to use to play a bodhran?
An open pocket-knife.

What happens if you play blues music backwards?
Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

What do you get when you play New Age music backwards?
New Age music.

What would a musician do if he won a million dollars?
Continue to play gigs until the money ran out.

"To be, or not to be" -Shakespeare
"To be is to do" -Voltaire
"Tuba or not tuba" -Sousa
"Do be do be do" -Sinatra
"Do be a do bee" -Miss Molly

Q. What do you call a girl that thinks only of classical music?
A. A symphomaniac

Q. What are the similarities between a violist's fingers and lightning?
A. 1. You never know when they will fall.
   2. You never know where they will fall.
   3. They never fall twice at the same place.

Christmas time is here!
from Jonathan West
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 


That reminds me of a Christmas story about a cymbal . My school was right next door to Norwich Cathedral, and so our Christmas carol service was always held there.

The school, despite supplying boys for the cathedral choir, had just about no other music at all. For the carol service one year, the head of music decided to have a brass group up in the organ loft to accompany some of the carols, in addition to the organ. This used up just about all the instrumentalists in the school. A day or two before the service, he decided also that it would be really nice to have a big clash of cymbals at an appropriate point in one of the carols.

We didn't have any percussion players at all, so the best remaining musician, a cellist, was pressed into service. All went well in rehearsals. However, on the night, he saw & heard a thousand people singing in the nave, and decided that an extra loud cymbal clash would be needed if anyone was going to hear him. He didn't know that cymbals have to be brought together obliquely, and so did a huge clash by ramming them directly towards each other. Inevitably, he turned one of the cymbals inside out!

He was then faced with having to do another clash in the second verse, with an inside-out cymbal. Quickly he put the good one down, put the bad one between his knees and pushed on it for all he was worth. The cymbal snapped back into shape with a tremendous sound BOINK! which could be heard from the back of the cathedral. The brass players all collapsed with laughter, and it was just as well the organist couldn't see us, so he carried on playing.

The cymbal clash for the second verse was quieter!

Jonathan West

Christmas time is here!
from Carl
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 


What a great story! I love it.

When I was in college I was a ringer (a person hired to play in a band to strengthen a weak section for a concert or recording) in a community jazz ensemble that was making a recording of a concert they were giving. A trumpet player friend of mine was a ringer also and was sitting behind me on the third riser. At a very quiet part of a very quiet tune he reached for his mute and knocked it over. It rolled across the trumpet section riser, dropped down to the trombone section riser and rolled across, dropped down to the sax section riser and rolled across, dropped to the stage, rolled to the edge, and fell off right in front of the microphone. Came out great on the recording.

Another time I was a ringer in a orchestra. One of the tuba players was a ringer also and we were doing a piece where the tuba had about 350 bars of rest before playing just 2 or 3 notes. He fell asleep and fell off his chair. Fortunately he was not hurt but the tuba suffered a bent bell. Once again the commotion came through loud and clear on the recording.

I'm sure every musician has a story or two like this, anyone else??????


Christmas time is here!
from Fred Nachbaur
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998

I did a recording of a string quartet here in the sleepy town of Nelson. It was their last performance before a planned hiatus (as it turned out, it was their last performance ever because the first violinist died some time thereafter). The venue was wonderful (a basement pub at the old university Student Union Building), I borrowed a wonderful 2-track 15 ips reel-to-reel, and we had PZM microphones on the rafters (these are flat-looking things ideal for ambience-type recordings).

Unfortunetely there were the stage lights on the rafters also... and on balmy summer nights such lights tend to attract moths... 'nuff said. It's really quite amazing what the wing-beats of a moth sound like as it bashes them against a sensitive PZM microphone!


Christmas time is here!
from Adam Bodkin
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998

I have two.
1: Many many years ago (1986) I was doing a Big Band video to be broadcast at the end of television transmission each night in my old hometown, a country town (literally) called Tamworth. The tune we were doing was called "Fame" (yes, the fame you are thinking of).
The drummer in the band tended to get rather excited and hit his bass drum hard every time the camera was on him, and being on a very tall and slippery riser, his bass drum, toms and all gradually slid forward towards the trumpet section. Of course halfway through the tune, the drums fell off the riser, onto the lead trumpet player, who grabbed his music stand as he fell, let it go, and the domino effect started. 5 music stands in all went crashing down, along with his drum kit. Luckily there was no real damage, and they kept the video footage (and played it occaisionally) just for a laugh.

2: I heard this from the drummer in the Police Band. There was some great club drummer in the 60's (I'm not sure of his name) who was well known for catching any joke with a drum roll and a crash. On one gig, a rather well known singer was performing on stage. Half way through a tune, he suffered a heart attack. The drummer in his clubby way rolled the singer all the way to the floor, and ended with a crash as the guy collapsed. Every band member stopped to help the singer, except the drummer who decided it was an opportune moment for a drum solo. He accompanied the medics as they arrived and caught every bit of the action on his drums! Would be twice as funny except the singer actually died, but I wouldn't mind going out with a crash like that!


I had to share this with all of you
from Michele D. Hirt
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998

Paolo Esperanza, bass-trombonist with the Simphonica Mayor de Uruguay, in a misplaced moment of inspiration decided to make his own contribution to the cannon shots fired as part of the orchestra's performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture at an outdoor children's concert. In complete seriousness he placed a large, ignited firecracker, which was equivalent in strength to a quarter stick of dynamite, into his aluminum straight mute and then stuck the mute into the bell of his quite new Yamaha in-line double-valve bass trombone.

Later, from his hospital bed he explained to a reporter through bandages on his mouth, "I thought that the bell of my trombone would shield me from the explosion and instead, would focus the energy of the blast outward and away from me, propelling the mute high above the orchestra, like a rocket." However, Paolo was not up on his propulsion physics nor qualified to use high-powered artillery and in his haste to get the horn up before the firecracker went off, he failed to raise the bell of the horn high enough so as to give the mute enough arc to clear the orchestra.

What actually happened should serve as a lesson to us all during those delirious moments of divine inspiration. First, because he failed to sufficiently elevate the bell of his horn, the blast propelled the mute between rows of players in the woodwind and viola sections of the orchestra, missing the players and straight into the stomach of the conductor, driving him off the podium and directly into the front row of the audience. Fortunately, the audience were sitting in folding chairs and thus they were protected from serious injury, for the chairs collapsed under them passing the energy of the impact of the flying conductor backwards into row of people sitting behind them, who in turn were driven back into the people in the row behind and so on, like a row of dominos. The sound of collapsing wooden chairs and grunts of people falling on their behinds increased logarithmically, adding to the overall sound of brass cannons and brass playing as constitutes the closing measures of the Overture.

Meanwhile, all of this unplanned choreography not withstanding, back on stage Paolo's Waterloo was still unfolding. According to Paolo, "Just as I heard the sound of the blast, time seemed to stand still. Everything moved in slow motion. Just before I felt searing pain to my mouth, I could swear I heard a voice with a Austrian accent say "Fur every akshon zer iz un eekvul un opposeet reakshon!" Well, this should come as no surprise, for Paolo had set himself up for a textbook demonstration of this fundamental law of physics. Having failed to plug the lead pipe of his trombone, he allowed the energy of the blast to send a super heated jet of gas backwards through the mouth pipe of the trombone which exited the mouthpiece burning his lips and face.

The pyrotechnic ballet wasn't over yet. The force of the blast was so great it split the bell of his shiny Yamaha right down the middle, turning it inside out while at the same time propelling Paolo backwards off the riser. And for the grand finale, as Paolo fell backwards he lost his grip on the slide of the trombone allowing the pressure of the hot gases coursing through the horn to propel the trombone's slide like a double golden spear into the head of the 3rd clarinetist, knocking him unconscious.

The moral of the story? Beware the next time you hear someone in the trombone section yell out "Hey, everyone, watch this!"

Here's another
from Michele D. Hirt
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 


  • ...your favorite pickup line is, "What's your favorite augmented sixth chord?"
  • like to march around your room to the rhythms of Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps."
  • love to quote Walter Piston.
  • long for the good old days of movable G-clefs.
  • feel the need to end Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony with a picardy third.
  • can improvise 16th century counterpoint with no trouble, but you frequently forget how to tie your shoes.
  • lament the decline of serialism.
  • enjoy the tang of a tritone whenever you can.
  • like to deceive your friends and loved ones with deceptive cadences.
  • find free counterpoint too liberal.
  • wonder what a "Danish Sixth" would sound like.
  • ...the "Corelli Clash" gives you goosebumps.
  • can hear an enharmonic modulation coming a mile away.
  • have ever done a Schenkerian analysis on "Three Blind Mice."
  • have ever tried to do a Schenkerian analysis on John Cage's "4'33."
  • have hosted a "Gurrelieder" party.
  • have ever pondered what an augmented seventh chord would sound like.
  • ...bass motion by ascending thirds or a sequential pattern with roots in ascending fifths immediately strikes you as "belabored."
  • know what the ninth overtone of the harmonic series is off the top of your head.
  • can name ten of Palestrina's contemporaries.
  • have ever heard a wrong note in a performance of a piece by Berio, Stockhausen, or Boulez.
  • ...when you're feeling particularly prankish, you transpose Mozart arias to locrian mode.
  • keep a notebook of useful diminutions.
  • ...those "parasitic" dissonances make you queasy, especially when left unresolved.
  • know the difference between a Courante and a Corrente.
  • have ever used the word "fortspinnung" in polite conversation.
  • feel cheated by evaded cadences.
  • ...every now and then you like to kick back and play something in hypophrygian mode.
  • abbreviate your shopping list using figured bass.
  • have ever told a joke that had this punchline : "because it was POLYPHONIC!"
  • can not only identify any one of Bach's 371 Harmonized Chorales by ear, but you also know on what page it appears in the Riemenschneider edition and how many suspensions it has in the first seven bars.


You Might be a "Music Theory Geek" When...
from Ertugrul iNANC
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 like polytonal music because, hey, the more keys the merrier. dream in four parts. only drink fifths, and then you laugh at the pun.

...instead of counting sheep, you count sequences. only sing tunes that make good fugal subjects.

...Moussorgsky's "Hopak" gives you nightmares. can answer your phone with a tonal or a real answer. suspiciously check all the music you hear for dangling sevenths. have composed variations on a theme by Anton Webern. have trained your dog to jump through a flaming circle of fifths. have a poster of Allen Forte in your room. know who Allen Forte is. wonder why there aren't more types of seventh chords. wish you had twelve fingers. always make sure to invert your counterpoint , just in case. know dirty acronyms for the order of sharps. consider all music written between 1750 and 1920 to be "rather elementary." memorize dates and times by what they would sound like in set theory. got more than half of the jokes in this list.

Comments on modern music
from Jonathan West
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998

OK, I'll tell the story (again, perhaps)

When I was a postgrad student at the Royal College of Music in London, one of the professors strongly held the opinion that no potential professional musician should go through college without having played some "modern" music. Like the music or loathe it, I think he had a good general point, in that musicians owe it to the composer to give a new piece the best possible performance, and to be appropriately trained to do so.

Anyway, one term, he managed to arrange for the college symphony orchestra to play Stockhausen's Carré. The word, as I'm sure those of you who did French at school already know, means "squared". This was a square piece, for 4 orchestras, positioned in the 4 corners of the hall. The conductors stood right in the corners facing inwards so they could see each other and coordinate the beat, and the orchestras faced outwards each towards their own conductor, with the audience in the middle. Each orchestra was a couple of desks of each of the strings, a varied selection of woodwind & brass, an 8-voice chamber choir, and pretty much a full symphonic percussion section. Maybe a keyboard or two thrown in for good & useless measure.

The piece hadn't been performed in London for 35 years. We soon discovered why. I can honestly say that this is the only piece I have ever played, where I couldn't actually tell, for the entire duration of the music, whether I was playing the right notes or not. The singers had tuning forks more or less permanently to their ears to try and pitch their notes. There were really no cues you could take from the players around you.

The students rapidly took a fairly lighthearted approach to rehearsals, to the annoyance of the professors. There was a harpsichord player in the 4th orchestra, who rapidly cottoned on to the fact that nobody could hear her over the percussion, and practised Bach throughout the rehearsals. She was never found out. (Later she became my wife. Unfortunately this means that we can never enter a restaurant and say "Darling, they're playing our tune!", because it doesn't have any.)

We all assumed that nobody would want to come & hear this junk, even though RCM concerts were free for the public. We were astonished when we filed into the hall for the concert, to find the place absolutely packed, with people standing in the gallery.

We later discovered that someone had publicised the concert, and because it was so long since the piece had been played in London, all the atonal music junkies had come to hear it. (In London, there are just enough such people to fill a medium sized concert hall, if they all turn up on the same night.)

Anyway, all went fine in the performance, we made a raucous din for about 30 minutes. The problem came towards the end. The conductor of the 4th orchestra got lost, and out of time with the other three. As a result, in the 4th orchestra, we finished about 30 seconds early. Nobody noticed. We got a standing ovation and a rave review from the Times music critic.

I have never believed a critic's opinion of a concert since. Nor have I believed anyone who tells me I ought to like & understand Stockhausen or any composer of a similar nature.

Jonathan West

An Insult for Everybody
from A Christopher Hall
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 

Musician jokes (in score order)

How do you get two piccolo players to play in perfect unison?
Shoot one.

What's the definition of a minor second?
Two oboists playing in perfect unison.

What's the difference between an oboe and an onion?
No one cries when you chop up an oboe.

What's the difference between a bassoon and a trampoline?
You take off your shoes when you jump on a trampoline.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get away from the bassoon recital.

Why do clarinetists leave their cases on the dashboard?
So they can park in the handicapped zones.

What is "perfect pitch?"
When you lob a clarinet into a toilet without hitting the rim.

What's the definition of a nerd?
Someone who owns his own alto clarinet.

What do you call a bass clarinetist with half a brain?

What's the difference between a lawn mower and a soprano sax?
You can tune a lawn mower, and the neighbors are upset if you borrow a lawn mower
   and don't return it.

If you were lost in the woods, who would you trust for directions: an in-tune
   tenor sax player, an out of tune tenor sax player, or Santa Claus?
The out of tune tenor sax player. The other two indicate you are hallucinating.

How do you make a chain saw sound like a baritone sax?
Add vibrato.

How many trumpet players does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five: one to handle the bulb, and the other four to tell him how much better
   they could've done it.

How do you make a trombone sound like a french horn?
Stick your hand in the bell and play all the wrong notes.

What's the difference between a dead trombonist in the road and a dead
   country singer in the road?
The country singer might've been on his way to a recording session.

How do you improve the aerodynamics of a trombonist's car?
Take the Domino's Pizza sign off the roof.

What kind of calendar does a trombonist use for his gigs?

What's the difference between a dead snake in the road and a dead trombonist
   in the road?
Skid marks in front of the snake.

What's the range of a tuba?
About twenty yards, if you have a good arm.

What's a tuba for?
1-1/2" by 3-1/2".

What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?
A drummer.

What does a timpanist say when he gets to work?
"Would you like fries with that, sir?"

What did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?

How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?
None. They have machines to do that now.

"Hey buddy, how late does the band play?"
"Oh, about a half a beat behind the drummer."

How can you tell when a drummer is at your door?
The knock gets faster.

How do you get a rhythm guitarist to play softer?
Give him music to read.

How long does a harp stay in tune?
About twenty minutes, or until someone opens the door.

Why are a violinist fingers like lightning?
They rarely strike the same spot twice.

How can you tell if a violin is out of tune?
The bow is moving.

Why is a violinist like a scud missile?
Both are offensive and inaccurate.

What do violists use for birth control?
Their personalities.

How do you make a violin sound like a viola?
Sit in the back and don't play.

What's the difference between a violist and a dog?
The dog knows when to stop scratching.

Did you hear about the violist who bragged he could play 32nd notes? The rest of the
   orchestra didn't believe him, so he proved it by playing one.

Why are violins smaller than violas?
They really are the same size, but the violinists' heads are bigger.

What's the difference between a cello and a viola?
The cello burns longer.

What's the difference between violists and terrorists?
Terrorists have sympathizers.

How do you make a cello sound beautiful?
Sell it and buy a violin.

What's the difference between a cello and a coffin?
The coffin has the corpse inside.

Why are orchestra intermissions limited to 20 minutes?
So you don't have to re-train the cellists.

Why did the string bass player get mad at the timpanist?
He turned a peg and wouldn't tell him which one.

One string bass player was so bad, even his section noticed.

How many string bass players does it take to change a lightbulb?
None; the piano player can do that with his left hand.

How do you put a twinkle in a soprano's eye?
Shine a flashlight in her ear.

How does a soprano change a lightbulb?
She just holds on and the world revolves around her.

How can you tell when a soprano is at your door?
She can't find the key, and doesn't know when to come in.

How many altos does it take to change a lightbulb?
None; they can't get up that high.

If you took all the tenors in the world and laid them end to end...
it would be a good idea.

Where's a tenor's resonance?
Where his brain should be.

What do you call ten baritones at the bottom of the ocean?
A good start.

What's the definition of a male quartet?
Three men and a tenor.

If you drop a conductor and a watermelon off a tall building, which will hit
   the ground first?
Who cares?

What's the difference between a conductor and a sack of fertilizer?
The sack.

What's the definition of an optimist?
A choral director with a mortgage.

Why are conductor's hearts so coveted for transplants?
They've had so little use.

A musician calls the symphony office to talk to the conductor. "I'm sorry, he's dead," comes the reply. The musician calls back 25 times, always getting the same reply form the receptionist. At last she asks him why he keeps calling. "I just like to hear you say it."

Why do bagpipers walk when they play?
To get away from the sound.

How many sound men does it take to change a lightbulb?
"One, two, three; one, two, three."

What's the definition of a gentleman?
One who knows how to play the accordion, but doesn't.

What's the definition of an optimist?
An accordion player with a pager.

How many alto sax players does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five: one to handle the bulb and four to contemplate how David Sanborn
   would have done it.

How do you get a violist to play down bow staccato?
Put a tenuto mark over a whole note and mark it "solo."

What's the best recording of the Walton Viola Concerto?
"Music Minus One"

How do you get a cellist to play fortissimo?
Write "pp, espressivo" on the music.

What's the difference between a soprano and the PLO?
You can negotiate with the PLO.

An Insult for Everybody
from Neeraj Mathur
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999

And everybody's favourite horn joke:

A lady went out one night with a tuba player. When she returned, her roommate asked her, "Well, how was his kissing?" She replied, "With those huge, slobbering slabs of meat, yuck! It wsa just gross!" The next night she went out with a trumpet player. Her roommate asked the same question, with the reply: "It was no fun at all, with those tight, tiny little lips!" On the third night she was the guest of a horn player. "Well, how was his kissing?" "His kissing was okay, but I loved the way he held me!"

An Insult for Everybody
from Jonathan West
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 

Here's a few more

What do you call a girl who thinks only of classical music?
A symphomaniac.

A man is stopped by police, on suspicion of drunken driving. The policeman says "You'll have to blow into this breathalyser".
The man produces a medical certificate saying "Asthmatic, can't breathe deeply"
The policeman then says, "Well, in that case, you'll have to come to the station and give us a blood sample."
The man produces a certificate saying "Haemophiliac, can't give blood"
The policeman replies "Well, in that case you'll have to come and give a urine sample."
The man produces a certificate saying "Viola player, piss taken already."

Karajan, Klemperer and Toscanini were talking one day. Apropos of nothing in particular, Klemperer said "I am the greatest conductor the world has ever seen."
Toscanini replied immediately "Oh, no you aren't, I'm the greatest conductor ever, God told me so himself!"
Karajan paused for a moment, & then said "I never told you that."

A musician, when he died, was put on the back desk of the second violins of the Heavenly Symphony Orchestra. During a break in rehearsal he turned to his partner & asked "I've not had a chance to read any reviews of this orchestra recently. What's it like?"
The partner replied "Oh, its pretty good really. We have Pagannini & Kreisler on the front desk. There's only one problem really. God thinks he's Karajan."

Any violinist who has remained on the back desk of an orchestra for more than 20 years, must have found the perfect brand of soap to rub on his bow.

What's the difference between a bad conductor and a bouquet garni?
The bouquet garni bucks up the meat, the bad conductor mucks up the beat.
(There is another version of this one, involving Radox Bath instead. I'll leave you to work it out.)

A woman asked the advice of Sir Thomas Beecham. She wanted her son to learn an instrument, but couldn't bear the purgatory of the early stages of practice. Which instrument did he recommend?
"Undoubtedly the bagpipes, they sound exactly the same when you have finished learning them as when you start."

Beecham passed a grave where the headstone inscription was "Here lies a fine musician and a great organist"
He commented "How did they manage to get them both into such a small hole?"

Equal Temperament
Attribute of back desk string players who seem completely unmoved by whatever music they play.

The effect obtained when half a choir is given the wrong music.

Technique often used by orchestral musicians when they get lost in a performance. Jump 3 lines, play the same bar over & over again until it fits, and then press on with the general throng.

Jonathan West

An Insult for Everybody
from CDEX
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999

This story might not be an insult to 'everybody' -- just to selected bodies. I don't remember where I heard it, but it was supposedly from some "true" tales from the Met . . .

There's the Faust scene in which Faust and Mephistopheles descend into Hades, just before the ballet sequence. Presumably Mephistopheles wants to show Faust the good side of the tracks, as an inducement.

During the '20s the Met staged this transition with a trapdoor, through which Mephisto was lowered down below the stage. To hide the transition, the stage crew pumped smoke and red lighting upward through the trapdoor as it was lowered. The idea was to have the devil apparently disappear from the stage, downward, with effect.

During one performance, unfortunately the trapdoor stuck. It had been lowered partway with the devil on it, and then the mechanism became frozen solid. It would not budge.

The stage crew worked feverishly to free the works, all the while continuing to pump smoke and red light upward through the trapdoor hole. The unfortunate basso hacked and coughed. Finally the crew became aware of the devil's plight and ceased pumping. The smoke cleared, revealing the devil still standing there.

Literally, the devil was knee deep into Hades. He was peering down through the trapdoor, puzzled. He was unsure whether to jump down the rest of the way, or to try to crawl back upward onto the stage.

Naturally the music could go no further. The orchestra was silent; the conducter's arms folded patiently in waiting. Among the audience there ensued that uncomfortable moment when everyone realizes that something has gone wrong -- and want to be respectful if possible -- and not to laugh if possible -- you know the feeling.

Just then (so the story goes), a voice cried out from the balcony:

"Thank God!! I'm saved!! Hell's full !"


Teach Me!
from CDEX
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999

A radio station in a rural town had been broadcasting mostly pop music, and decided to do a "culture hour" with classical music. The DJ had no prior exposure to the music, and was naturally unfamiliar with the names of the composers. In the first evening's broadcast, he announced the next piece as the Ave Maria, by "Bach-Gounod" (just calling out the two names together).

A listener called in by telephone, letting the DJ know that, in fact, the composer wasn't someone with two names. The caller explained how the hyphen indicated that the piece was written by Bach, and arranged by Gounod. The DJ thanked the caller for the information.

After the piece ended, the DJ announced to his audience: "A correction on the composer's name. I mentioned that it was 'written by Bach-Gounod'. Of course I should have said, 'written by Bach, and arranged by Gounod'. Thanks to our caller for correcting me."

.... The next piece was: Scheherazade.


A Bit of Fun
from Richard Woodroffe
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999

Here are a few limericks :- Enjoy ....

"A limerick writer, I'm not -
But I'll try!" said Franz Schubert. "Mein Gott!
    I hef the first line!
    (Es gibt rather fine?)
'There voss on old man ...' " (dot dot dot)


A young Aussie singer called Hilda
Adored singing 'Waltzing Matilda'
    For weeks, loud and shrill,
    She warbled, until
An irate Aborigine killed her.


On Verdi, Giuseppe, I'm keen,
His name, if you know what I mean,
    Quite rolls off the tongue,
    (It can almost be sung)
- A pity it just means Joe Green.


Said Handel: "Please don't call me Herr-
I'm really quite British - so there!
    And please, ven I croak,
    I vould like (for a joke)
A coffin marked : 'Handel with care'."


It's hard to play harp, and no doubt,
Much harder to lug it about;
    It's tuned to C-flat,
    And the reason for that
Is to keep all the amateurs out.


The world loves a violin, of course;
But just think: that tone is perforce
    Produced by a cat
    When its lower anat.
Is scraped with the hair of a horse.


There was a young girl called Felicity,
Who had quite a flair for publicity;
    She'd play a Bach fugue
    On the synth or the Moog:
"To hell with", she said, "authenticity!"


There was a young lad in the choir,
Whose voice it rose hoir and hoir;
    Till one Sunday night
    It rose out of sight,
And they found it next day on the Spoir.


(for Michele)
A tutor who tooted a flute,
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot;
    Said the two to the tutor:
    "Is it harder to toot, or
To tutor two tooters to toot?!"


A Bit of fun
from Fred Nachbaur
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999

A composer named Wolfie Mozart
Took serious music to heart;
    But one day he broke,
    Wrote A Musical Joke,
Which ends with a musical fart.

Now there's a challenge...
from Jason Walker
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000

Well actually it's not. Unless anyone really wants to.

I've just found the text that Donald Francis Tovey set for an exam in three part counterpoint in Edinburgh university. Thought that it might collectively amuse.

There was a young lady from Rio,
Who tried to play Hummel's Grand Trio,
    But her pace was so scanty,
    She took it Andante,
Instead of Allegro con brio.


Test Answers
from Carl Fritsche (Jazzman)
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 

  • The principal singer of nineteenth century opera was called pre-Madonna.
  • It is easy to teach anyone to play the maracas. Just grip the neck and shake him in rhythm.
  • Gregorian chant has no music, just singers singing the same lines.
  • Sherbet composed the Unfinished Symphony.
  • All Female parts were sung by castrati. We don't know exactly what they sounded like because there are no known descendants.
  • Young scholars have expressed their rapture for the Bronze Lullaby, the Taco Bell Cannon, Beethoven's Erotica, Tchaikovsky Cracknutter Suite, and Gershwin's Rap City in Blue.
  • Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel; if they sing without music it is called Acapulco.
  • A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.
  • Contralto is a low sort of music that only ladies sing.
  • Diatonic is a low calorie Schweppes.
  • Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and the McCoys.
  • A harp is a nude piano.
  • The main trouble with a French Horn is that it is too tangled up.
  • An interval in music is the distance from one piano to the next.
  • The correct way to find the key to a piece of music is to use a pitchfork.
  • Agitato is a state of mind when one's finger slips in the middle of playing a piece.
  • Refrain means don't do it. A refrain in music is the part you'd better not try to sing.
  • I know what a sextet is but I'd rather not say.
  • Most authorities agree that music of antiquity was written long ago.
  • My favorite composer was Opus.
  • Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.
  • Henry Purcell was a well-known composer few people have ever heard of.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic.
  • Rock Monanoff was a famous post-romantic composer of piano concerti.

Jeffrey Showell, DMA
Chair and Professor
Department of Music
University of Central Arkansas
201 Donaghey Ave.
Conway, AR 72035

Test Answers from Robert Lim
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 

Missed my favourite one which goes:

  • Atonal music is so called because somewhere, sometime, someone is going to have to atone for it.

Musical Quotes
from Carl
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000

Musical Quotes (With many thanks to Gayle Shaw Hutton)

  • "I write [music] as a sow piddles."
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • "My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a producer."
    • Cole Porter

  • "Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already."
    • Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.

  • "I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve."
    • Xavier Cugat

  • "[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."
    • Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.

  • "The amount of money one needs is terrifying..."
    • Ludwig van Beethoven

  • "Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living."
    • Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer

  • "Chaos is a friend of mine."
    • Bob Dylan

  • "There is nothing more difficult than talking about music."
    • Camille Saint-Saens

  • "I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet."
    • Niccolo Paganini

  • "Of course I'm ambitious. What's wrong with that? Otherwise you sleep all day."
    • Ringo Starr

  • "What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?"
    • Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • "Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats."
    • Victor Borge, playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan.

  • "If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation."
    • Oscar Wilde

  • "Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together."
    • Mel Brooks

  • "Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years."
    • William F. Buckley, Jr.

  • "You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow."
    • Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket.

  • "Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
    • Mark Twain

  • "I love Beethoven, especially the poems."
    • Ringo Starr

  • "Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently."
    • James Gibbons Hunekar

  • "If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder."
    • Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland

  • "There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major."
    • Sergei Prokofiev

  • "I never use a score when conducting my orchestra... Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?"
    • Dimitri Mitropolous

  • "God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way."
    • Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player

  • "Already too loud!"
    • Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing the players reaching for instruments.

  • "I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find more asses and virtuosos."
    • Frederic Chopin

  • "When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano."
    • Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller

  • "Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
    • Richard Strauss

  • "In opera, there is always too much singing."
    • Claude Debussy

  • "An exotic and irrational entertainment."
    • Samuel Johnson's definition of opera

  • "If a thing isn't worth saying, you sing it."
    • Pierre Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville

  • "Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings."
    • Robert Benchley

  • "I'd hate this to get out, but I really like opera."
    • Ford Frick (Commissioner of Baseball)

  • "Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!"
    • Gioacchino Rossini

  • "Movie music is noise. It's even more painful than my sciatica."
    • Sir Thomas Beecham

  • "I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that have made giant strides in reverse."
    • Bing Crosby

  • "Theirs [the Beatles] is a happy, cocky, belligerently resourceless brand of harmonic primitivism... In the Liverpudlian indulgent amateurishness of the musical material, though rivaled by the indifference of the performing style, is surpassed only by the ineptitude of the studio (Strawberry Fields suggests a chance encounter between Claudio Monteverdi and a jug band.)"
    • Glenn Gould

  • "A ponderous orchestral absurdity."
    • Frank Zappa on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic

  • "It's pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness."
    • Jerry Garcia
Gayle Shaw Hutton
Director of Development
The Gow School
Emery Road
South Wales, NY 14139
ghutton@worldnet dot att dot net
716-687-2074 (voice)
716-687-2034 (fax)

Musical Quotes
from Yves Grasset 
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 

  • "Time is a great teacher. The problem is that he kills his pupils."
    • Hector Berlioz

  • [When giant Micromégas, who is ~40 kilometers high, comes to Saturn, whose inhabitants are "only" 2 km high] "First he laughed a little at them, about the same way that an Italian musician laughs at Lulli's music when he's in France."
    • Voltaire -- in "Micromégas"

  • "The man that hath no music in himself,
    Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils."
    • William Shakespeare -- in "The Merchant of Venice"

Musical Quotes
from Ertugrul iNANÇ
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 

  • "In music, there is no form without logic, there is no logic without unity."
    • Schönberg

  • "...When you are unaware that it is instrumentation."
    • Stravinski, to his pupil asking about good instrumentation

(From O. Karolyi's "Introducing Modern Music")
Musical Quotes
from CDEX
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 

There's this gem from Aaron Copland:

  • "A composer does not really finish a work. He merely abandons it."
- - -

Musical Quotes
from Jason Walker 
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 

Most of these are from "Scorn with extra bile", by M Parris. Hope you enjoy them.

An excellent source of musical quotes is "The Wordsworth Dictionary of Musical Quotations" Compiled by Derek Watson, Published by Wordsworth (for well under £5) ISBN 1 85326 327 3 Jason.

  • "After Rossini dies, who will there be to promote his music?"
    • Wagner

  • "Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on the backside"
    • Beethoven

  • "What can you do with it? It's like a lot of Yaks jumping about."
    • Sir Thomas Beecham on Beethoven's 7th Symphony.

  • "I liked the bit about a quarter to eleven."
    • Erik Satie on 'From dawn to noon on the sea,' from Debussy's La Mer.

  • "Rachmaninovs immotalizing totality was his scowl. He was a six-and-a-half-foot-tall scowl."
    • Stravinsky

  • "A tub of pork and beer."
    • Berlioz on Handel.

  • "If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon."
    • Brahms, leaving a gathering.

  • "Brahms is just like Tennyson, an extraordinary musician with the brains of a third-rate village policeman."
    • George Bernard Shaw

  • "I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard! It annoys me that this self-inflated mediocrity is hailed as a genious. Why, in comparison to him, Raff is a giant, not to speak of Rubenstein, who is after all a live and important human being, while Brahms is chaotic and absolutely empty dried up stuff."
    • Tchaikovsky

  • "Listening to the fifth symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for forty five minutes."
    • Aaron Copland

  • "Madame, you sit there with that magnificent instrument between your legs, and all you can do is scratch it!"
    • Attrib. to Toscanini and to Beecham

  • "If you will make a point of singing 'All we, like sheep, have gone astray' with a little less satisfaction,we shall meet the aesthetical as well as the theological requirements."
    • Beecham

  • "He sang like a hinge."
    • Ethel Merman on Cole Porter

 Musical Quotes
from peanutjake
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 

  • "Any song that needs more than 2 chords just ain't worth playing."
    • Said to me and Pete Seeger backstage after a concert by Woody Guthrie, 1949

Musical Quotes
from Yves Grasset 
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000

  • "The French people were made to compose opera, the Italians to sing it, the Germans to play it, the English people to listen to it, and the Americans to pay it."
    • Enrico Caruso

  • "I am convinced that you applause an opera actress's screams like the strength demonstrations at a fair: the feeling is unpleasant and painful, you suffer while it lasts, but you're so relieved to see it end without an accident, that you heartily express your joy."
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau -- in "Julie ou la nouvelle Héloïse"

  • [About opera] "What I don't understand is why the spectators sitting on the three first ranks are allowed to come in with musical instruments."
    • Alfred Jarry, French burlesque playwright

And, in answer to all the nasty things said in this thread, some of them about people now unanimously considered as great composers:
  • "Never listen to critics; nobody has ever built a statue to a critic."
    • Jean Sibelius


Musical Quotes
from CDEX
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000

Calls to mind the (probably apocryphal) story of the wealthy man, a wannabe conductor, who bought himself an orchestra for exercising what he thought was his conducting talent.

In spite of his riches and desires for conducting, he was, well, sorely challenged in his lack of knowledge both of the instruments and in reading the conductor's score.

He conducted several agonizing sessions. The musicians suffered through tries at various works, in which the poor conductor flubbed tempi, cues and entrances. There was absolutely no contact with the poor fellow, neither in the eyes nor in the baton.

Finally the tension broke. The tympanist was the first to lose his cool. In one ppp passage for strings, he let go with a thunderous THUMP on one of the drums, in an ultimate expression of exasperation.

The conductor stopped, tapped his baton on the stand for silence, and asked: "WHO DID THAT?".


Some handy hints
from Jason Walker
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2000 

A Choral Singer's Guide to Keeping the Conductor in Line

  1. Never be satisfied with the starting pitch. If the conductor uses a pitch fork, insist on your preference for the piano - and vice versa.
  2. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, the lack of space, or a draught. It is best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.
  3. Bury your head in the music just before an important cue.
  4. Ask for a re-audition or seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you're about to quit. Let the conductor know you're there as a personal favour.
  5. Loudly clear your throat during pauses (tenors are trained to do this from birth). Quiet instrumental interludes are a good opportunity for blowing your nose.
  6. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your low C was in tune. This is especially effective if didn't have a low C or were not singing at the time.
  7. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know that you don't have any music.
  8. At dramatic moments in the music (while the conductor is emoting wildly) be busy marking your music so that the climax will sound empty and disappointing.
  9. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.
  10. Whenever possible, sing your part either an octave above or below what is written. This is excellent ear training for the conductor. If he hears the pitch, deny it vehemently and claim that he must be hearing the harmonics.
  11. Tell the conductor, "I'm not sure of the beat." Conductors are always sensitive about their "stick technique", so challenge it frequently.
  12. If you are singing in a language with which the conductor is the least bit unfamiliar, ask him as many questions as possible about the meaning of individual words. Occasionally, say the word twice and ask his preference for pronunciation, making certain to say it exactly the same both times. If he remarks on their similarity, give a look of utter disdain and mutter under your breath about "subtleties of inflection".
  13. Ask the conductor if he has listened to the Bernstein recording of the piece you are rehearsing. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it.
    Also good: ask "Is this the first time you've conducted this piece?"
  14. If your phrasing differs from that of others singing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.
  15. Remember - softer means slower.

Musical Quotes
from CDEX
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000

Here is yet another ... Fritz Kreisler had gotten into a bit of a rub with the Internal Revenue Service about an overdue tax payment.

His wife was quoted as remarking:

... "Ah, that man! He knows nothing about money. All he knows how to do is fiddle, fiddle, fiddle!"


A Personal View Of Music
from CDEX
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000

There was also Teddy Roosevelt's response when asked what music he liked best:

"I know only two tunes. One of them is 'Yankee Doodle' and the other one isn't."


More quotes
from Fred Nachbaur
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 

Found on

These little gems were recently forwarded to me by one of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's regular visiting conductors:


"Please don't use the depth-charge pizzicato."

"Play short, especially if vou don't know where you are."

"There is a lot of fishing for notes. I wish you would catch them."

"Play faster. It's getting late."

"Horns, imagine that you've had a really ugly breakfast and it's about to come up."

"Strings, I know what you're thinking: 'With all this racket going on, why am I playing?' Well, there's no time for existential questions right now."

"Listen to the tune, and then accompany it in a non-disgraceful fashion."

"Imagine you're getting enough money for what you do."

"Not so bright. It sounds like 'Orpheus in His Underwear'"

"Let's see if you can pizzicato together in a non-banjo way."

"It's very hard to raise money for something that sounds like that."

"You know, there's a fine line between artistry and shit. Not that what you're doing is shit, but it's close to it."

"That was a drive-by viola solo."

"The place where you will be shot if you come in early is the bar before 26."

"Now forget all the nasty things I said and play naturally."

"You're all wondering what speed it's going to go. Well, so am I."

"Play as if you were musicians."

More quotes
from Bill Mullins
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000

My 1.5 cents.

Guest conductor to group rehearsing "Spring" from the 4 Seasons" "No! No! No! This is VIVALDI, not WAGNER!"

(Heard this on Public Radio, 1985-ish. Don't know if they ever got it right.)

Arrangement of a Bach choral
from Peter Edwards
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001

(In reply to an NWC version of 4'33" posted by Ertugrul iNANÇ

But don't you find the performance awfully flat? Surely you should capture more of the contrapuntal nature of the various lines of silence with their stunning accelerando to the final Stretto, taken, contrastingly, larghamento. ;-)

From Chris Hall 
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 

On the contrary, it's very calm and relaxing just as it is. |->

From Warren Porter 
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001

I saw a published piece of music in our choir's library named "Resting" which spelled that out. It was "Dedicated to tired choristers and conductors everywhere." The piece was SATB and contained a number of tempo changes, repeated phrases, dynamic changes, and a descant. There wasn't one note in the whole piece, simply a collection of different length rests for each part, even the solo parts. The copyright notice discouraged public performance without permission though.

From Geoff Walker 
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001

They are probably worried they will infringe the copyright on 4'33" :-)


Musical Terms Misunderstood by Country and Western Musicians
from Ertugrul iNANC
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 

Musical Terms Misunderstood by Country-Western Musicians:

Diminished Fifth -- An empty bottle of Jack Daniels.

Perfect Fifth -- A full bottle of Jack Daniels.

Relative Major -- An uncle in the Marine Corps.

Relative Minor -- A girlfriend.

Big Band -- When the bar pays enough to bring two banjo players.

Pianissimo -- "Refill this beer bottle."

Repeat -- What you do until they just expel you.

Treble -- Women ain't nothin' but...

Portamento -- A foreign country you've always wanted to see.

Arpeggio -- "Ain't he that storybook kid with the big nose that grows?"

Tempo -- Good choice for a used car.

A 440 -- The highway that runs around Nashville

Transpositions -- Men who wear dresses.

Cut Time -- Parole.

Passing Tone -- Frequently heard near the baked beans at family barbecues.

Middle C -- The only fruit drink you can afford when food stamps are low.

Perfect Pitch -- The smooth coating on a freshly paved road.

Cadenza -- That ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when company comes.

Whole Note -- What's due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year.

Clef -- What you try never to fall off of.

Altos -- Not to be confused with "Tom's toes," "Bubba's toes," or "Doritos."

Minor Third -- Your approximate age and grade at the completion of formal schooling.

Melodic Minor -- Loretta Lynn's singing son.

12-Tone Scale -- The thing the state police weigh your tractor-trailer truck with.

Quarter Tone -- What most standard pickups can haul.

Sonata -- What you get from a bad cold or hay fever.

Clarinet -- Name used on your second daughter if you've already used Betty Jo.

Cello -- The proper way to answer the phone.

Bassoon -- Typical response when asked what you hope to catch, and when.

French Horn -- Your wife says you smell like a cheap one when you come in at 4 a.m.

Cymbal -- What they use on deer crossing signs so you know what to sight in your pistol.

First Inversion -- Grandpa's battle group at Normandy.

Staccato -- How you did all the ceilings in your mobile home.

Aeolian Mode -- How you like Mama's apple pie.

Bach Chorale -- The place behind the barn where you keep the horses.

From Warren Porter 
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 

I posted these in the "Humor" section of and a number of people added to the list:

fermata - what happens to grape juice when it turns into wine

Bass - fish that you catch with a lure.

coda- something you talk in when you don't want others to know what you're saying.

Andante - one of them Eye-talian sports cars.

subito piano - a piano made in Japan

Allegro - the new medicine my Doctor gave me for my sinus problem.

Acapella --- That town in mexico whar folks sing without no gitfiddles!

Vivace--that Italian that wrote the Four Seasons and all those other concertoes

Concertina--Tina Du Bois, the famous pianist

Slur--how you talk after too long at the honkytonk

Pizzicato--part of a Papa John's restaurant

Fugue--chocolatey desert

I Solisti Veneti--weather vane for the sun, not the wind

Berliner Philharmoniker--Philip's mouth organ

Concertgebouw--what a musician does afterwards

opera--that talk show host from Chicago...doesn't like beef

Handel--how you hold the jug

Haydn--runnin' from the revenuers

ballet--what them folks in Florida cain't figger out

Beat- how you feel after you've been out plowing all day

Baritone- what we done to ol' Tony our watch dog, after he got run over by that tractor

musical scales- them annoying scales that make music,

treble - what yore gonna be in if'n you trespass on my property!

oboe - you know, that joint in d'middle of yore arm

tuba - a tube of this or that; tuba toothpaste, tuba biscuits

euphonium - telling somebody to call a male. ex. I ain't a callin' yore deadbeat brother. Euphonium!

piccolo - gathering things that grow near the ground.

ex. You cain't pick them berries like you do apples. You hafta piccolo!

half-step: how you walk when you're drunk

Soprano- a famous Eye-talian movie star...Soprano

And it seems to go on... from Geoff Walker, Joe Roberts, Keith Sheasley, Warren Porter & John White, 6-7 October 2001.

pizzicato - A violinist with a couple of bottles of wine inside him

sotto voce - a drunk, singing

al gore - former second fiddle - no brass

Obbligato - being forced to practice

Rit. and/or Rall - coming up to the bit you HAVEN'T practiced

Largo - brewed in Germany

Rubato - ointment for the musician's back

Quaver - feeling before a lesson when you haven't practiced

Flats - English apartments

Trill - bird food

Subdominant - "I can't play until I've asked my wife"

Andante: Often found with Uncle.

Atonal Music: Music with no notes, e.g. John Cage's 4'33"

Beat music: As played by policemen.

Bossa Nuova: The new Guv'ner.

Double Bass: Hind quarters of over weight person.

French Horns: Found in pairs on Charolez cows.

Hebrides Overture: Refers to role reversal at wedding ceremonies.

Larghetto: Part of city where Lager drinkers congregate.

Metronome: Little man with a pointed hat found on the Paris Subway.

Overture: Head of quality control at a chewing gum factory.

Pitch Bend: White lines painted on a football field by a drunken groundsman.

Rock Music: As played in the Stone Age.

Serial Music: Written to accompany TV commercials for cornflakes.

Tuba: An instrument so low that they have to dig 'em out of the ground.

Twelve Tone Music: Music printed in a dozen different colours.

Violin: A nasty hotel.

Top C: Name of a famous soprano.

Oboe: A tramp.

Fugue: That which occurs in a crowded concert hall with no ventilation and smoking is permitted.

Semibreve: All that one can do in the above circumstances.

Xylophone: A wooden mobile.

Tonic: That which goes with gin.

Dominant seventh: Exemplified by " after being happily married on 6 previous occasions, this time he struck unlucky"

Bach: Woof!

Offenbach: Woof, woof,woof,woof, woof, woof, woof, woof woof, woof, woof ...

oboi - expression of delight, as in a small child getting candy

moderato - antonym of rocker erato

mephistopheles - evil mosquito

Faust - had one too many margaritas

Some (mostly) off topic Howlers from Peanut Jake

Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 

Sixth Graders View Ancient History

The following were answers provided by 6th graders during history tests. Watch the spelling! Some of the best humor is in the misspelling.

 1. Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere. 

2. Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada. 

3. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines. 

4. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth. 

5. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. 

6. In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java. 

7. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus." 

8. Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw. 

9. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah." 

10. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. Sir Francis Drake circumsized the world with a 100-foot clipper. 

11. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couple. Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet. 

12. Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained. 

13. Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand. Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead. 

14. Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career. 

15. Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large. 

16. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this. 

17. The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered the radio. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers. 

Don't Shoot the Messenger from Fred Nachbaur

Date: Sat, 7th Sep 2002 

From my beloved daughter...
Gone Chopin. Bach in a minuet.
(Amendment by Barry Graham : Gone Chopin. Bach in a minuet. Offenbach sooner!)

Haydn's Chopin Liszt at Vivaldi's

a.. Rossini and cheese
b.. Schumann polish
c.. Bern-n-stein remover
d.. Satie mushrooms
e.. batteries (Purcell)
f.. BeethOVEN cleaner
g.. Hummel microwave meals
h.. orange Schubert
i.. TchaiCOUGHsky drops
j.. marshMahlers
k.. Honey-nut Berlioz
l.. Cui-tips
m.. Chef Boyardee Raveli
n.. sour cream and Ives
o.. Strauss (straws)
p.. chocolate Webers (wafers)
q.. Del Monteverdi corn
r.. Mozart-rella cheese
s.. I Can't Believe it's not Rutter
t.. Bach of serial (opera)
u.. chicken Balakirev
v.. new door Handel
w.. Golden Brahms
x.. Clemen-TEA
y.. Little Debussy snack cakes
z.. Oscar Meyerbeer bologna

a.. string quartet: a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together
     to complain about composers.
b.. detaché: an indication that the trombones are to play with their slides removed.
c.. glissando: a technique adopted by string players for difficult runs.
d.. subito piano: indicates an opportunity for some obscure orchestra player to become a soloist.
e.. risoluto: indicates to orchestras that they are to stubbornly maintain the correct tempo no matter what the
     conductor tries to do.
f.. senza sordino: a term used to remind the player that he forgot to put his mute on a few measures back.
g.. preparatory beat: a threat made to singers, i.e., sing, or else....
h.. crescendo: a reminder to the performer that he has been playing too loudly.
i.. conductor: a musician who is adept at following many people at thesame time.
j.. clef: something to jump from before the viola solo.
k.. transposition: the act of moving the relative pitch of a piece of music that is too low for the basses to a
     point where it is too high for the sopranos.
l.. vibrato: used by singers to hide the fact that they are on the wrong pitch.
m.. half step: the pace used by a cellist when carrying hi instrument.
n.. coloratura soprano: a singer who has great trouble finding the proper note, but who has a wild time hunting for it.
o.. chromatic scale: an instrument for weighing that indicates half-pounds.
p.. bar line: a gathering of people, usually among which may be found a musician or two.
q.. ad libitum: a premiere.
r.. beat: what music students do to each other with their instruments. The down beat is performed on top of the
     head, while the up beat is struck under the chin.
s.. cadence: when everybody hopes you're going to stop, but you don't.
t.. diatonic: low-calorie Schweppes.
u.. lamentoso: with handkerchiefs.
v.. virtuoso: a musician with very high morals. (I know one)
w.. music: a complex organizations of sounds that is set down by thecomposer, incorrectly interpreted by the
     conductor, who is ignored by the musicians, the result of which is ignored by the audience.
x.. oboe: an ill wind that nobody blows good.
y.. tenor: two hours before a nooner.
z.. diminished fifth: an empty bottle of Jack Daniels.
aa.. perfect fifth: a full bottle of Jack Daniels.
ab.. ritard: there's one in every family.
ac.. relative major: an uncle in the Marine Corps.
ad.. relative minor: a girlfriend.
ae.. big band: when the bar pays enough to bring two banjo players.
af.. pianissimo: "refill this beer bottle".
ag.. repeat: what you do until they just expel you.
ah.. treble: women ain't nothin' but.
ai.. bass: the things you run around in softball.
aj.. portamento: a foreign country you've always wanted to see.
ak.. conductor: the man who punches your ticket to Birmingham.
al.. arpeggio: "Ain't he that storybook kid with the big nose that grows?"
am.. tempo: good choice for a used car.
an.. A 440: the highway that runs around Nashville.
ao.. transpositions:
  1.. men who wear dresses.
  2.. An advanced recorder technique where you change from alto to soprano fingering (or vice-versa)
       in the middle of a piece
ap.. cut time:
  1.. parole.
  2.. when everyone else is playing twice as fast as you are.
aq.. order of sharps: what a wimp gets at the bar.
ar.. passing tone: frequently heard near the baked beans at family barbecues.
as.. middle C: the only fruit drink you can afford when food stamps are low.
at.. perfect pitch: the smooth coating on a freshly paved road.
au.. tuba: a compound word: "Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!"
av.. cadenza:
  1.. that ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when company comes.
  2.. The heroine in Monteverdi's opera Frottola
aw.. whole note: what's due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year.
ax.. clef: what you try never to fall off of.
ay.. bass clef: where you wind up if you do fall off.
az.. altos: not to be confused with "Tom's toes," "Bubba's toes" or "Dori-toes".
ba.. minor third: your approximate age and grade at the completion of formal schooling.
bb.. melodic minor: loretta Lynn's singing dad.
bc.. 12-tone scale: the thing the State Police weigh your tractor trailer truck with.
bd.. quarter tone: what most standard pickups can haul.
be.. sonata: what you get from a bad cold or hay fever.
bf.. clarinet: name used on your second daughter if you've already used Betty Jo.
bg.. cello: the proper way to answer the phone.
bh.. bassoon:
  1.. typical response when asked what you hope to catch, and when.
  2.. a bedpost with a bad case of gas.
bi.. French horn: your wife says you smell like a cheap one when you come in at 4 a.m.
bj.. cymbal: what they use on deer-crossing signs so you know what to sight-in your pistol with.
bk.. bossa nova: the car your foreman drives.
bl.. time signature: what you need from your boss if you forget to clock in.
bm.. first inversion: grandpa's battle group at Normandy.
bn.. staccato: how you did all the ceilings in your mobile home.
bo.. major scale: what you say after chasing wild game up a mountain: "Damn! That was a major scale!"
bp.. aeolian mode: how you like Mama's cherry pie.
bq.. Bach chorale: the place behind the barn where you keep the horses.
br.. plague: a collective noun, as in "a plague of conductors."
bs.. audition: the act of putting oneself under extreme duress to satisfy the sadistic intentions of someone
      who has already made up his mind.
bt.. accidentals: wronng notes.
bu.. augmented fifth: a 36-ounce bottle.
bv.. broken consort: when someone in the ensemble has to leave to go to the bathroom.
bw.. cantus firmus: the part you get when you can play only four notes.
bx.. chansons de geste: dirty songs.
by.. clausula: Mrs. Santa Claus.
bz.. crotchet:
  1.. a tritone with a bent prong.
  2.. like knitting, but faster.
ca.. ducita: a lot of mallards.
cb.. embouchure the way you look when you've been playing the Krummhorn.
cc.. estampie: what they put on letters in Quebec.
cd.. garglefinklein: a tiny recorder played by neums.
ce.. hocket: the thing that fits into a crochet to produce a rackett.
cf.. interval: how long it takes to find the right note. There are three kinds:
  1.. Major interval: a long time.
  2.. Minor interval: a few bars.
  3.. Inverted interval: when you have to go back a bar and try again.
cg.. intonation: singing through one's nose. Considered highly desirable in the Middle Ages.
ch.. isorhythmic motet: when half of the ensemble got a different edition from the other half.
ci.. minnesinger: a boy soprano.
cj.. musica ficta: when you lose your place and have to bluff until you find it again.
ck.. neums: renaissance midgets.
cl.. neumatic melishma: a bronchial disorder caused by hockets.
cm.. ordo: the hero in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
cn.. rota: an early Italian method of teaching music without score or parts.
co.. trotto: an early Italian form of Montezuma's Revenge.
cp.. lauda: the difference between shawms and krummhorns.
cq.. sancta: Clausula's husband.
cr.. lasso: the 6th and 5th steps of a descending scale.
cs.. di lasso: popular with Italian cowboys.
ct.. quaver: beginning viol class.
cu.. rackett: capped reeds class
cv.. ritornello: a Verdi opera.
cw.. sine proprietate: cussing in church.
cx.. supertonic: Schweppes.
cy.. trope: a malevolent neum.
cz.. tutti: a lot of sackbuts.
da.. stops: something Bach didn't have on his organ.
db.. agnus dei: a famous female church composer.
dc.. metronome: a city-dwelling dwarf.
dd.. allegro: leg fertilizer.
de.. recitative: a disease that Monteverdi had.
df.. transsectional: an alto who moves to the soprano section.
Don't shoot me, I'm just the copyist.

How many forum posters does it take to change a light bulb?
from Ertugrul iNANC
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004

How many forum posters does it take to change a light bulb?
a.. 1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed
b.. 16 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently
c.. 6 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs
d.. 27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs
e.. 50 to flame the spell checkers
f.. 48 to correct spelling/grammar flames
g.. 7 to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb"
h.. ...another 6 to condemn those 6 as anal-retentive
i.. 2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp"
j.. 15 know-it-alls who claim they were in the industry, and that "light bulb" is perfectly correct
k.. 154 to email the participant's ISPs complaining that they are in violation of their "acceptable use policy"
l.. 118 to post that this forum is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb forum
m.. 203 to demand that cross posting to hardware forum, off-topic forum, and lightbulb forum about changing light bulbs be stopped
n.. 111 to defend the posting to this forum saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this forum
o.. 306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty
p.. 1 to ask if when buying a new bulb they should go for a screw or bayonet type
q.. 98 to argue that their version of screw in or bayonet is better than the other and always will
r.. 27 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs
s.. 14 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL's
t.. 3 to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group
u.. 33 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"
v.. 12 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy
w.. 19 to quote the "Me too's" to say "Me three"
x.. 4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ
y.. 44 to ask what is a "FAQ"
z.. 4 to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"
aa.. 143 to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs"
ab.. 1 forum lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now and start it all over again...

Borrow a Trombone? - Lawrie Pardy

Date: Tue, 7th Mar 2011 

Bob: "When did you get that trombone?"
Keith: "I borrowed it from my neighbours son just recently."
Bob: "I didn't know you could play the trombone."
Keith: "I can't. And now, neither can he."

Pocketknife? - Bill Ashworth

Date: Tue, 7th Mar 2011 

Reminds me of the tale of the man who gave his neighbor's kid a pocket knife for Christmas, and then asked him if he'd ever wondered what was inside his new drum....

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