Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Musician Jokes

Some jokes that are getting me through a big struggle with an awkward quartet assignment. Maybe these are just funny because I'm tired...

        A community orchestra was plagued by attendance problems. Several musicians were absent at each rehearsal. As a matter of fact, every player in the orchestra had missed several rehearsals, except for one very faithful oboe player. Finally, as the dress rehearsal drew to a close, the conductor took a moment to thank the oboist for her faithful attendance. She, of course, humbly responded "It's the least I could do, since I won't be at the performance."

       There were two people walking down the street. One was a musician. The other didn't have any money either.
What would a musician do if he won a million dollars?
Continue to play gigs until the money ran out.
"Richard Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
-- Mark Twain 
"A drummer is a musician's best friend."
from a Martin Mull album. 
Three violin manufactures have all done business for years on the same block in the small town of Cremona, Italy. After years of a peaceful co-existence, the Amati shop decided to put a sign in the window saying: "We make the best violins in Italy." The Guarneri shop soon followed suit, and put a sign in their window proclaiming: "We make the best violins in the world." Finally, the Stradivarius family put a sign out at their shop saying: "We make the best violins on the block." 
Why did the Philharmonic disband?
Excessive sax and violins. 


  • string quartet: a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers.
  • detaché: an indication that the trombones are to play with their slides removed.
  • glissando: a technique adopted by string players for difficult runs.
  • subito piano: indicates an opportunity for some obscure orchestra player to become a soloist.
  • risoluto: indicates to orchestras that they are to stubbornly maintain the correct tempo no matter what the conductor tries to do.
  • senza sordino: a term used to remind the player that he forgot to put his mute on a few measures back.
  • crescendo: a reminder to the performer that he has been playing too loudly.
  • conductor: a musician who is adept at following many people at the same time.
  • clef: something to jump from before the viola solo.
  • 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.
  • vibrato: used by singers to hide the fact that they are on the wrong pitch.
  • coloratura soprano: a singer who has great trouble finding the proper note, but who has a wild time hunting for it.
  • bar line: a gathering of people, usually among which may be found a musician or two.
  • cadence: when everybody hopes you're going to stop, but you don't.
  • lamentoso: with handkerchiefs.
  • big band: when the bar pays enough to bring two banjo players.
  • 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
  • cut time:
    1. parole.
    2. when everyone else is playing twice as fast as you are.
  • altos: not to be confused with "Tom's toes," "Bubba's toes" or "Dori-toes".
  • clarinet: name used on your second daughter if you've already used Betty Jo.
  • cello: the proper way to answer the phone.
  • audition: the act of putting oneself under extreme duress to satisfy the sadistic intentions of someone who has already made up his mind.
  • accidentals: wrong notes.
  • cantus firmus: the part you get when you can play only four notes.
  • chansons de geste: dirty songs.
  • crotchet:
    1. a tritone with a bent prong.
    2. like knitting, but faster.
  • garglefinklein: a tiny recorder played by neums.
  • 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.
  • isorhythmic motet: when half of the ensemble got a different edition from the other half.
  • musica ficta: when you lose your place and have to bluff until you find it again.
  • neums: renaissance midgets.
  • rota: an early Italian method of teaching music without score or parts.
  • trotto: an early Italian form of Montezuma's Revenge.
  • lauda: the difference between shawms and krummhorns.
  • quaver: beginning viol class.
  • ritornello: a Verdi opera.
  • tutti: a lot of sackbuts.
  • stops: something Bach didn't have on his organ.
  • recitative: a disease that Monteverdi had.

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