These jokes are a continually-growing collection, and unfortunately, I can no longer remember which jokes I heard from whom. If you have ever told, emailed, or otherwise communicated to me a music joke, thank you. If you don't find something right away that insults you or your instrument, keep scrolling, this is an equal opportunity list.
Q: What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle?
A1: A fiddle is fun to listen to.
A2: Violins have strings. Fiddles have strangs.
Q: Why are viola jokes so short?
Q: What do you call someone who plays the viola?
A: A violator.
Q: How do you tell the difference between a violinist and a dog?
A: The dog knows when to stop scratching.
Q: What is the range of a violin?
A: About 20 yards if you can kick it hard enough.
Q: How many second violinists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They can't get up that high!
Q: String players' motto: "It's better to be sharp than out of tune."
Q: Why is a violinist like a SCUD missile?
A: Both are offensive and inaccurate.
Q: Why don't viola players suffer from piles (hemorrhoids)?
A: Because all the assholes are in the first violin section.
Q: What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?
A: No-one minds if you spill beer on a fiddle.
Q: Why do violinists put a cloth between their chin and their instrument?
A: Violins don't have spit valves.
Q: Why should you never try to drive a roof nail with a violin?
A: You might bend the nail.
A violinist says to his wife, "Oh, baby, I can play you just like my violin." His wife replies, "I'd rather have you play me like a harmonica!"
Jacques Thibault, the violinist, was once handed an autograph book by a fan while in the greenroom after a concert.
"There's not much room on this page," he said. "What shall I write?"
Another violinist, standing by, offered the following helpful hint: "Write your repertoire."
"Haven't I seen your face before?" a judge demanded, looking down at the defendant. "You have, Your Honor," the man answered hopefully.
"I gave your son violin lessons last winter." "Ah, yes," recalled the judge. "Twenty years!"
Three violin manufactures have all done business for years on the same block in the small town of Cremona, Italy. A
fter 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."
Once there was a violinist who got a gig to play a recital at a mental institution.
He played the recital brilliantly, and backstage after the concert, he got a visit from one of the institutionalized patients.
"Oh, the concert you played was just lovely. The Paganini caprice was stunning, the counterpoint in the Bach came out so clearly,
and the phrasing in your Debussy was just exquisite!", said the patient.
"Why, thank you," said the musician (thinking this person seemed pretty normal for a institutionalized person).
"Are you by chance a musician?" "Oh yes, I was concertmaster of an orchestra for many years,
I've played all of the major concertos: Tchaikowsky, Brahms, Mozart, all the major ones."
said the patient. "Wow, that's impressive," said the violinist. "Did you do recitals as well?"
"Oh yes, I've done all the major sonatas, Bach, Kreisler, Vieuxtemps, all of the major ones,"
said the patient. "Wow! Did you ever do chamber music?" asked the violinist.
"Oh yes. Duets, trios, quintets, sextets, all the major repertoire," said the patient.
Puzzled, the violinist asked "Did you ever play string quartets?"
All of the suddenly the patient went berserk and shouted "String quartets!... String quartets!... String quartets!... "
Q: What's the range of a viola?
A: Less than a violin. (see violin joke)
Q: Why are viola players the brunt of classical musician jokes?
A: Because they always play second fiddle!
There once was a lady named Lola
Who found a discarded viola
While she tried hard to play
all her notes went astray
so she sold it and bought a Victrola!
Q: How do you make a cello sound beautiful?
A: Sell it and buy a violin.
Q: What is the difference between a cello and a coffin.
A: The dead guy is inside the coffin.
Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 1. 5. 1. 5...
Q: How many string bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None; the piano player can do that with his left hand.
Q: How do you make a double bass sound in tune?
A: Chop it up and make it into a xylophone.
Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. You just get the keyboard player to do it with his left hand.
A double bass player arrived a few minutes late for the first rehearsal of the local choral society's annual performance of Handel's Messiah.
He picked up his instrument and bow, and turned his attention to the conductor. The conductor asked, "Would you like a moment to tune?"
The bass player replied with some surprise, "Why? Isn't it the same as last year?"
At a rehearsal, the conductor stops and shouts to the bass section: "You are out of tune. Check it, please!"
The first bassist pulls all his strings, says, "Our tuning is correct: all the strings are equally tight."
The first violist turns around and shouts, "You bloody idiot! It's not the tension. The pegs have to be parallel!"
Two bass players were engaged for a run of Carmen. After a couple of weeks,
they agreed each to take an afternoon off in turn to go and watch the matinee performance from the front of house.
Joe duly took his break; back in the pit that evening, Moe asked how it was. "Great," says Joe.
"You know that bit where the music goes `BOOM Boom Boom Boom'--well there are some guys up top singing a terrific song about a Toreador at the same time."
There was a certain bartender who was quite famous for being able to accurately guess people's IQs.
One night a man walked in and talked to him briefly and the bartender said, "Wow! You must have an IQ of about 140!
You should meet this guy over here." So they talked for a while about nuclear physics and existential philosophy and had a great time.
A second man walked in and soon the bartender has guessed about a 90 IQ for him.
So he sat him down in front of the big-screen TV and he watched football with the other guys and had a hell of a time.
Then a third man stumbled in and talked to the bartender for a while. The bartender said to himself, "Jeez! I think this guy's IQ must be about 29!"
He took him over to a man sitting at a little table back in the corner and said, "You might enjoy talking with this guy for a while."
After the bartender left, the man at the table said, "So do you play French bow or German bow?"
Seattle Symphony Bass Players do Beethoven's Ninth
Q: How long does a harp stay in tune?
A: About 20 minutes, or until someone opens a door.
Q: What's the definition of a quarter tone?
A: A harpist tuning unison strings.
Q: What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base?
A: A flat major.
Q: Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?
A: Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff.
Q: Why was the piano invented?
A: So the musician would have a place to put his beer.
Q: The audience at a piano recital were appalled when a telephone rang just off stage.
A: Without missing a note the soloist glanced toward the wings and called, "If that's my agent, tell him I'm working!"
They all laughed when I sat down at the piano. I forgot to bring the stool.
The organ is the instrument of worship for in its sounding we sense the Majesty of God and in its ending we know the Grace of God.
...top of page
Two musicians are walking down the street, and one says to the other, "Who was that piccolo I saw you with last night?"
The other replies, "That was no piccolo, that was my fife."
Q: What is a burning oboe good for?
A: Setting a bassoon on fire.
Q: What is the definition of a half step?
A: Two oboes playing in unison.
Q: What is the definition of a major second?
A: Two baroque oboes playing in unison.
Q: How do you get an oboist to play A flat?
A: Take the batteries out of his electric tuner.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get away from the bassoon recital.
Q: What's the difference between a SCUD missile and a bad oboist?
A: A bad oboist can kill you.
Q: What's the definition of "nerd?"
A: Someone who owns his own alto clarinet.
Q: What do you call a bass clarinetist with half a brain?
Q: Did you hear about the clarinetist who bragged that he could play 16th notes?
A: The rest of the orchestra didn't believe him so he proved it by playing one.
Q: How many alto sax players does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Five. One to change the bulb and four to contemplate how David Sanborn would have done it.
Q: What's the difference between a saxophone and a lawn mower?
Q: What's the difference between a baritone saxophone and a chain saw?
A: The exhaust.
The soprano, not being smart enough to use birth control, says to her saxophonist lover, "Honey, I think you better pull out now."
He replies, "Why? Am I sharp?"
Small wonder we have so much trouble with air pollution in the world when so much of it has passed through saxophones. >ba-dump<
Q: What do you call a building full of saxophonists?
Q: What is the difference between a saxophone and a urinal?
A: One of them is white.
Before his 2001 inauguration, George Bush was invited to a get acquainted tour of the White House.
After drinking several glasses of iced tea, he asked Bill Clinton if he could use his personal bathroom.
When he entered Clinton 's personal bathroom, he was astonished to see that President Clinton had a solid gold urinal.
That afternoon, George told his wife, Laura, about the urinal. 'Just think,' he said, 'when I am president, I could have a gold urinal too. But I wouldn't do something that self-indulgent!'
Later when Laura had lunch with Hillary at her tour of the White House, she told Hillary how impressed George had been at his discovery of the fact that, in the President's private bathroom, the President had a gold urinal.
That evening, when Bill and Hillary were getting ready for bed, Hillary smiled, and said to Bill . . . "I found out who pissed in your Saxophone."
...top of page
Q: How many trumpet players does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Five. One to handle the bulb and four to tell him how much better they could have done it.
Q: What's the difference between a Trumpet player and the rear end of a horse?
A: I don't know either.
Q: Why is the trumpet an instrument of worship?
A: Because a man blows in it, but God only knows what comes out.
Q: What's the difference between trumpet players and government bonds?
A: Government bonds eventually mature and earn money.
Q: How to trumpet players traditionally greet each other?
A: "Hi. I'm better than you."
Q: How do you know when a trumpet player is at your door?
A: The doorbell shrieks!
Q: Why can't a gorilla play trumpet?
A: He's too sensitive.
In an emergency a jazz trumpeter was hired to do some solos with a symphony orchestra.
Everything went fine through the first movement, when she had some really hair-raising solos,
but in the second movement she started going improvising madly when she wasn't supposed to play at all.
After the concert the conductor came round looking for an explanation. She said, "I looked in the score and it said `tacit'--so I took it!"
Q: Three trombone players in a car. Who's driving?
A: The police.
Q: What's the difference between a bass trombone and a chain saw?
Q: How can you make a french horn sound like a trombone?
Q: How do you know when a trombone player is at your door?
A: The doorbell drags.
Q: What is a gentleman?
A: Somebody who knows how to play the trombone, but doesn't.
Q: What do you call a trombonist with a beeper and a cellular telephone?
A: An optimist.
Q: What is the diffference between a dead trombone player lying in the road, and a dead squirrel lying in the road?
A1: The squirrel might have been on his way to a gig.
A2: Skid marks in front of the squirrel.
Q: How many trombonists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but he'll do it too loudly.
Q: How do you know when there's a trombonist at your door?
A: His hat says "Domino's Pizza"
Q: How do you improve the aerodynamics of a trombonist's car?
A: Take the Domino's Pizza sign off the roof.
Q: What kind of calendar does a trombonist use to keep track of his gigs?
Q: How can you tell which kid on a playground is the child of a trombonist?
A: He doesn't know how to use the slide, and he can't swing.
Q: What is the dynamic range of the bass trombone?
A: On or off.
It is difficult to trust anyone whose instrument changes shape as he plays it!
It's 99% of the trombonists that give the rest a bad name!
Q: How can you make a trombone sound like a french horn?
A: Stick your hand in the bell and play a lot of wrong notes.
Q: What is the difference between a french horn section and a '57 Chevy?
A: You can tune a '57 Chevy.
Q: What's the difference between a French Horn and a lawn mower?
A: You can tune the lawn mower.
Q: What do you get when you cross a French Horn player and a goalpost?
A: A goalpost that can't march.
Q: How many French horn players does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but he'll spend two hours checking the bulb for alignment and leaks.
Q: Why is the French horn a divine instrument?
A: Because a man blows in it, but only God knows what comes out of it.
Q: How do horn players traditionally greet each other?
A girl went out on a date with a trumpet player, and when she came back her roommate asked,
"Well, how was it? Did his embouchure make him a great kisser?" "Nah," the first girl replied.
"That dry, tight, tiny little pucker; it was no fun at all."
The next night she went out with a tuba player, and when she came back her roommate asked,
"Well, how was his kissing?" "Ugh!" the first girl exclaimed.
"Those huge, rubbery, blubbery, slobbering slabs of meat; oh, it was just gross!"
The next night she went out with a French horn player, and when she came back her roommate asked, "Well, how was his kissing?"
"Well," the first girl replied, "his kissing was just so-so; but I loved the way he held me!"
I ran into a convenience store for some coffee one night after a tuba quartet concert.
When I got back to the car, my worst fears were realized.
Someone had left me another tuba in the front seat.
Q: What's the range of a tuba?
A: Twenty yards if you've got a good arm!
Q: How many tuba players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three! One to hold the bulb and two to drink 'till the room spins.
Q: What's a tuba for? 1 1/2" by 3 1/2" unless you request "full cut."
Note: in the USA, a 2 x 4 is a two-inch by four-inch piece of wood, which actually measures 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.
Q: How do you fix a broken tuba?
A: With a tuba glue.
Q: These two tuba players walk past a bar...
A: Well, it could happen!
...top of page
Q: What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?
A: A drummer.
Q: What did the drummer get on his IQ test?
Q: How do you know when a drummer is knocking at your door?
A: The knock always slows down.
Q: How do you get a drummer to play an accelerando?
A: Ask him to play in 4/4 at a steady 120 bpm.
Q: Why do bands have bass players?
A: To translate for the drummer.
Q: How do you know when the drum stage is level?
A: The drool runs equally out the sides of the drummer's mouth.
Did you hear about the time the bass player locked his keys in the car? It took two hours to get the drummer out.
Q: How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Q: Why is it good that drummers have a half-ounce more brains than horses?
A: So they don't disgrace themselves in parades.
Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
A: With a drum machine you only have to punch the information in once.
Heard backstage: "Will the musicians and the drummer please come to the stage!"
In New York City, an out of work jazz drummer named Ed was thinking of throwing himself off a bridge. But then he ran into a former booking agent who told him about the fantastic opportunities for drummers in Iraq. The agent said "If you can find your way over there, just take my card and look up the bandleader named Faisal--he's the large guy with the beard wearing gold pajamas and shoes that curl up at the toes." Ed hit up everyone he knew and borrowed enough to buy transport to Iraq. It took several days to arrange for passport, visas, transportation into Iraq and the shipping of his equipment, but he was finally on his way. Ed arrived in Baghdad and immediately started searching for Faisal. He found guys in pajamas of every color but gold. Finally, in a small coffeehouse, he saw a huge man with a beard--wearing gold pajamas and shoes that curled up at the toes! Ed approached him and asked if he was Faisal. He was. Ed gave him the agent's card and Faisal's face brightened into a huge smile. "You're just in time--I need you for a gig tonight. Meet me at the market near the mosque at 7:30 with your equipment." "But," gasped Ed, "what about a rehearsal?" "No time--don't worry." And with that, Faisal disappeared. Ed arrived in the market at 7:00 to set up his gear. He introduced himself to the other musicians, who were all playing instruments he had never seen in his life. At 7:30 sharp, Faisal appeared and hopped on the bandstand, his gold pajamas glittering in the twilight. Without a word to the musicians, he lifted his arm for the downbeat. "Wait." shouted Ed. "What are we playing?" Faisal shot him a look of frustration and shouted back, "Fake it! Just give me heavy afterbeats on 7 and 13."
A drummer, sick of all the drummer jokes, decides to change his instrument. After some thought, he decides on the accordion. So he goes to the music store and says to the owner, "I'd like to look at the accordions, please." The owner gestures to a shelf in the corner and says "All our accordions are over there." After browsing, the drummer says, "I think I'd like the big red one in the corner." The store owner looks at him and says, "You're a drummer, aren't you?" The drummer, crestfallen, says, "How did you know?" The store owner says, "That `big red accordion' is the radiator."
A drummer and bass player are out in the woods hunting when the bassist falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are rolled back in his head. The drummer whips out his cell phone and calls 911. He gasps to the operator, "My friend just keeled over. I think he's is dead! What can I do?" The operator, in a calm soothing voice says, "Just take it easy. I can help. First, lets make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The drummer's voice comes back on the line. He says, "OK, now what?"
Q: What is the difference between a bodhran player and a terrorist?
A: Terrorists have sympathisers.
Q: How do you know when there is a bodhran player at your front door?
A: The knocking gets faster and faster and faster.
Q: What do bodhran players use for birth control?
A: Their personalities.
Q: What's the best thing to play a bodhran with?
A: A razor blade.
...top of page
Q: What's the difference between a soprano and a terrorist?
A: You can negotiate with a terrorist.
Q: What's the difference between a soprano and a pirhana?
Q: What's the difference between a soprano and a pit bull?
A5: You can train a pit bull (sort-of).
Q: How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
Q: What's the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and the average All-Pro offensive lineman?
A: Stage makeup.
Q: What's the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and a Wagnerian Tenor?
A: About 10 pounds.
Q: How is a soubrette different from a sewer rat?
A: Some people actually like sewer rats.
Q: What is the difference between a soubrette and a cobra?
A: One is deadly poisonous, and the other is a reptile.
Q: How do you tell if a Wagnerian soprano is dead?
A: The horses seem very relieved.
Q: What's the first thing a soprano does in the morning?
A: Puts on her clothes and goes home.
Q: What's the next thing a soprano does in the morning?
A: Looks for her instrument.
Q: What's the difference between a soprano and a Porsche?
A: Most musicians have never been in a Porsche.
Q: What's the definition of an alto?
A: A soprano who can sightread.
Q: How do you put a sparkle in a soprano's eye?
A: Shine a flashlight in her ear.
A pianist and singer are rehearsing "Autumn Leaves" for a concert and the pianist says:
"OK. We will start in G minor and then on the third bar, modulate to B major and go into 5/4. When you get to the bridge, modulate back down to F# minor and alternate a 4/4 bar with a 7/4 bar. On the last A section go into double time and slowly modulate back to G minor."
The singer says: "Wow, I don't think I can remember all of that."
The pianist says: "Well, that's what you did last time."
Q: How many altos does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Q: What do you see if you look up a soprano's skirt?
A: A tenor.
Q: How do you tell if a tenor is dead?
A: The wine bottle is still full and the comics haven't been touched.
Q: Where is a tenor's resonance?
A: Where his brain should be.
Q: What's the definition of a male quartet?
A: Three men and a tenor.
Did you hear about the tenor who announced that in the following season he would only sing three title roles: Othello, Samson, and Forza del Destino? (true story)
If you took all the tenors in the world and laid them end to end, it would be a good idea.
Q: How do you tell if a bass is dead?
Q: Why do we have bass players?
A: To translate for the drummers.
In the last act of Don Giovanni, there is always a statue which is replaced at some point by a real singer,
a bass (the Commendatore).
Q: How can you tell when the switch has occurred?
A: The "statue" starts looking a bit stiff.
Q: How many basses does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. They're so macho they prefer to walk in the dark and bang their shins.
Q: How does a young man become a member of a high school chorus?
A: On the first day of school he turns into the wrong classroom.
Q: What is the difference between a world war and a high school choral performance?
A: The performance causes more suffering.
Q: Why do high school choruses travel so often?
A: Keeps assassins guessing.
Q: What's the definition of an optimist?
A: A choral director with a mortgage.
Q: What is the difference between a high school choral director and a chimpanzee?
A: It's scientifically proven that chimpanzees are able to communicate with humans.
When asked by the Pope (I forget which one) what the Catholic Church could do for music,
Igor Stravinsky is reputed to have answered without hesitation: "Give us back castrati!"
...top of page
Q: What's the difference between a banjo and a chain saw?
A: The chain saw has greater dynamic range.
Q: Why do some people take an instant aversion to banjo players?
A: It saves time in the long run.
How many banjo players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Five. One to change the bulb. Four to complain that it's electric.
What's the least-used sentence in the English language?
"Isn't that the banjo player's Porsche?"
What do you say to a banjo player in a three-piece suit?
"Will the defendant please rise?"
There's nothing I like better than the sound of a banjo, unless of course, it's the sound of a chicken caught in a vacuum cleaner.
Female five string banjoist shouting at her boyfriend in a crowded shopping mall: "Don't forget, sweetheart, I need a new G string."
Q: Do you know the definition for perfect pitch?
A: When you throw the banjo into the dumpsite and it lands right on the accordion.
A five piece banjo ensemble was booked to play a New Year's Eve party. The hosts and guest were so pleased with them that they
immediately asked if they could go ahead and book them for next year. The leader replied "Sure, can we just leave our instruments here?"
Q: What do you call the gorgeous, sexy woman on a banjo player's arm?
A: A tatoo.
Q: What is the difference between a banjo and an old car?
A: You can tune an old car.
Q: What has 16 legs and 3 teeth?
A: The front row at a banjo concert.
Q: How long does it take to tune a guitar?
A: Nobody's bothered to find out.
Q: How do you get two guitar players to play perfect counterpoint?
A: Put the same chart in front of them.
Q: What does it mean when a guitar player is drooling out both sides of his mouth?
A: The stage is level.
Q: How many guitar players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Twelve. One to change the bulb and eleven to say they could do it better.
Q: How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A: Give him some sheet music.
Q: What do a vacuum cleaner and an electric guitar have in common.
A; Both suck when you plug them in.
QL How do you make a bass player turn down the volume?
A: Put a chart in front of him.
Q: How many lead guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None--they just steal somebody else's light.
Q: What do you call two guitarists playing in unison?
Q: What did the guitarist do when his teacher told him to turn his amplifier on?
A: He caressed it softly and told it that he loved it.
Q: What's the best thing to play on a guitar?
Q: What does Eric Clapton have in common with coffee?
A: They both stink without cream.
Q: How many bass players does it take to change a lightbulb?
Q: In the 22th century, how many guitar players will you need to replace a light source? Five.
A: One to actually do it, and four to reminisce about how much better the old tubes were.
Did you hear about the electric bass player who was so bad that even the lead singer noticed?
Q: What do you call an accordion player who just broke up with his girlfriend?
A: Homeless (also works for guitar players and other miscreants)
Q: If you drop an accordion, a set of bagpipes and a viola off a 20-story building, which one lands first?
A: Who cares?
Q: What's the difference between an Uzi and an accordion?
A: The Uzi stops after 20 rounds.
Q: What do you call ten accordions at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start.
Q: What's a bassoon good for?
A: Kindling for an accordion fire.
Q: What's a accordion good for?
A: Learning how to fold a map.
Q: Why is an accordion better than a set of bag pipes?
A: The accordion burns longer.
Q: What do you call a group of topless female accordian players?
A: Ladies in Pain
Q: How do you get an accordion player out of a tree?
A: Cut the rope!
Accordions don't play Lady of Spain; people do! (from Those Darn Accordions; an accordion band from San Francisco)
Minimum safe distances between street musicians and the public:
Q: How long does it take to tune a chang?
A: Nobody knows.
Q: Why is it so difficult to tune a chang?
A: So that violist can feel superior about something.
Q: How many chang players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: All of them. One to twist the bulb for several hours, and the other one to decide that it's as good as it's going to get, and that they might as well flip the switch.
Q: What's the difference between a folk musician (of course, you can insert the genre of your choice) and a large pizza?
A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.
Q: What's the difference between an Appalachian dulcimer and a hammered dulcimer?
A: A hammered dulcimer burns hotter; an Appalachian dulcimer burns longer.
Q: How many country & western singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to change the bulb and two to sing about the old one.
Q: Why does a country and western drummer have floor tom?
A1: He needs somewhere to park his drink and ashtray.
A2: Drink, ashtray, and racing form.
Q: In jazz, what purpose does the bass drum play?
A: It supports the ride cymbal.
Q: How do you know there's a singer at your door?
A: They can't find the key, they keep knocking, but they can't come in.
Q: What happens if you play a blues record backwards?
A: Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.
Q: What do you get when you play New Age music backwards?
A: New Age music.
Q: What happens if you play Blues Music backwards?
A: Your wife comes back and treats you okay, and you don't wake up in the morning.
Q: What does it say on a blues singer's tombstone?
A: "I didn't wake up this morning..."
Q: "Hey, buddy, how late do the filkers play?"
A: "Oh, about half a beat behind..."
Q: What's the difference between a puppy and a singer-songwriter?
A: Eventually the puppy stops whining.
Q: How many sound men does it take to change a light bulb?
Q: Why do sound men only count to
A: Because on THREE you lift. (It takes at least FOUR people who can count to THREE to lift a Yamaha PM4000)
Q: What's the difference between a sound guy and a lighting guy?
A: The sound guy can run lights...
Q: What is the difference between a toilet and a monitor mix engineer?
A: The toilet only deals with one asshole at a time.
Q: How many Deadheads does it take to change a lightbulb? 12,001.
A: One to change it, 2,000 to record the event and take pictures of it, and 10,000 to follow it around until it burns out.
Q: How many punk-rock musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two: One to screw in the bulb and the other to smash the old one on his forehead.
Q: Know how to make a million dollars singing jazz?
A: Start with two million.
Q: How many jazz musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. Jazz musicians can't afford light bulbs.
A2: "Don't worry about the changes. We'll fake it!"
Q: How do you turn a duck into a soul artist?
A: Put it in the oven until its Bill Withers.
Michael Caine goes up to Milton Berle during a party and asks, "What kind of cigar are you smoking there?"
"It's a Lawrence Welk." says Milton. "What's a Lawrence Welk?" Michael asks.
Milton says "It's a piece of crap with a band wrapped around it."
Angus was asked why there were drones on the bagpipe when they make such a distressing sound.
He answered, "Without the drones, I might as well be playing the piano."
Did you know that you can't hear the lute if there is a set of bagpipes in the room ... even if they aren't being played!
Q: What is the definition of a gentleman?
A: A man who plays the bagpipes and chooses not to.
One liners from musicians in the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra:
All of a sudden Karen Carpenter walks into the studio and sits down at the drums.
"OK guys, Close To You, two bars."
The guy thinks it over for a moment, and says, "sure... what have I got to lose?"
St. Peter: "See you later."
So the guy goes over to the big door and presses the button. The door opens, he walks in, and descends. At the bottom, the Devil greets him, and surprised to see him, says, "well, we weren't expecting YOU but why don't I show you around some?
Off they go; the Devil shows him the different scenes, and the guy is really pretty stunned. They walk down a dark alley and all of a sudden the guy hears a jazz band. He gets really excited, and nearly drags the Devil to the source of the tunes. It's a night club called "The Club in Hell", really dark and really smoky, and there's a band up there on stage and they're just wailing. There was Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Ella, Bill Evans on the piano, Buddy Rich, and Ray Brown on bass. They were playing up a storm... The guy looks at the Devil and says, "Wow, man, that's really something. Do they play every night?"
The devil replies, "Yeah man, they're always playing here. There's one detail though... ain't no solos."
And the cabbie replies in his rich native patois, "Drums always play... Drums never stop... Very very bad if drums stop." and that was it.
Everywhere he goes, he asks the question, and always gets the same answer (in the rich native patois).
Two months later, he's finished his travels, and the mystery of the drums remains. Finally in the cab going to the airport, he asks, "Please, Please explain the drums to me."
And again the cabbie replies (in his rich native patois), "Drums always play... Drums never stop... Very very bad if drums stop." But the tourist knows this, and exasperated, he asks again, "But WHY is it so bad when the drums stop."
To which the cabbie replies (in basso profundo),
"B A S S S O L O!"
...top of page
Q: A conductor and a violist are standing in the middle of the road. Which one do you run over first, and why?
A: The conductor. Business before pleasure.
Q: Why are conductor's hearts so coveted for transplants?
A: They've had so little use.
Q: What's the difference between a conductor and a sack of fertilizer?
A: The sack.
Q: What do you have when a group of conductors are up to their necks in wet concrete?
A: Not enough concrete.
Q: Did you hear about the planeload of conductors en route to the European Festival?
A: The good news: it crashed. The bad news: there were three empty seats on board.
Q: What's the difference between a symphony conductor and Dr Scholl's footpads?
Q: Dr Scholl's footpads buck up the feet.
Q: What's the difference between a pig and a symphony orchestra conductor?
A: There are some things a pig just isn't willing to do.
Q: What is the ideal weight for a conductor?
A: About 2 1/2 lbs. including the urn.
Q: Why is a conductor like a condom?
A: It's safer with one, but more fun without.
Q: What's the difference between God and a conductor?
A: God knows He's not a conductor.
Q: What's the definition of an assistant conductor?
A: A mouse trying to become a rat.
Q: What's the difference between alto clef and Greek?
A: Some conductors actually read Greek.
Q: What do do with a horn player that can't play?
A: Give him two sticks, put him in the back, and call him a percussionist.
Q: What do you do if he can't do that?
A: Take away one of the sticks, put him up front, and call him a conductor.
Q: What's the difference between an opera conductor and a baby?
A: A baby sucks its fingers.
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 from the receptionist.
At last she asks him why he keeps calling. "I just like to hear you say it."
"Excellent! We have a vacancy in our celestial symphony orchestra for a trombonist.
Why don't you turn up at the next rehearsal."
So, when the time for the next rehearsal arrived our friend turned up with his heavenly trombone [sic].
As he took his seat God moved, in a mysterious way, to the podium and tapped his batton to bring the players to attention.
Our friend turned to the angelic second trombonist (!) and whispered,
"So, what's God like as a conductor?"
"Oh, he's O.K. most of the time, but occasionally he thinks he's von Karajan."
The assistant manager came out to say that the crowd was getting restless and about to demand their money back. The desperate manager looked around and spied a cat, a dog, and a horse standing in the street. "Oh, what the heck," he exclaimed, "let's ask them--what do we have to lose?"
So the manager and assistant manager went up to the cat, and the manager asked "Mr. Cat, do you know how to conduct?" The cat meowed "I don't know, I'll try," but though it tried really hard, it just couldn't stand upright on its hind legs. The manager sighed and thanked the cat, and then moved on to the dog. "Mr. Dog," he asked, "do you think you can conduct?" The dog woofed "Let me see," but although it was able to stand up on its hind legs and wave its front paws around, it just couldn't keep upright long enough to last through an entire movement. "Well, nice try," the manager told the dog, and with a sigh of resignation turned to the horse. "Mr. Horse," he asked, "how about you--can you conduct?" The horse looked at him for a second and then without a word turned around, presented its hind end, and started swishing its tail in perfect four-four time. "That's it!" the manager exclaimed, "the concert can go on!"
However, right then the horse dropped a load of plop onto the street. The assistant manager was horrified, and he told the manager "We can't have this horse conduct! What would the orchestra think?" The manager looked first at the horse's rear end and then at the plop lying in the street and replied "trust me--from this angle, the orchestra won't even know they have a new conductor!"
Maestro (to Horns): "Give us the F in tune!"
Violist (to Maestro): "Please can we have the F-in' tune too?"
Donn Laurence Mills is the NSOA contributing editor. He holds music degrees from Northwestern University and Eastman School of Music. A conductor and music educator, he is also the American educational director for the Yamaha Foundation of Tokyo.
See also Mitropoulos on conducting...
A four piece band (drums, guitar, bass, vocals) was playing in a club. The crowd was full of especially
good looking women, and throughout the evening, the band members were thinking:
Singer - Woah, that blond looks great! I'll get her number after the gig!
Guitarist - Wow! That brunette is F I N E! I'll be seeing her later...
Drummer - That redhead is hot! We're going to have fun later...
Bassist- A-A-A-A D-D-D-D E-E-E-E...
See also Beethoven's Ninth.
What's the first thing a musician says at work?
"Would you like fries with that?"
What do you call a musician without a significant other?
Why do musicians have to be awake by six o'clock?
Because most shops close by six thirty.
What would a musician do if he won a million dollars?
Continue to play gigs until the money ran out.
What's the difference between a conductor and a stagecoach driver?
The stagecoach driver only has to look at four horses' asses.
The stages of a musician's life:
What's the difference between a seamstress and a soprano? The seamstress tucks and frills.
What's the difference between a seamstress and a french horn player? The seamstress says "Tuck the frills."
"Richard Wagner's music is better than it sounds." -- Mark Twain
"A critic is like a eunich: he knows exactly how it ought to be done."
"A drummer is a musician's best friend." from a Martin Mull album.
"The present day composer refuses to die." -- Edgar Varese
"Beethoven had an ear for music." -- anonymous
"The clarinet is a musical instrument the only thing worse than which is two." -- The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce
Did you hear that Mr. Solfege had a dog? His name was Feedo.
What do you get when you put a diminished chord together with an augmented chord? A demented chord.
How many producers does it take to change a light bulb? ...hmm...I don't know...what do you think?
I listened to Busoni, absorbed his knowledge, and ended up a re-creator instead of a creator. I deteriorated into a conductor! -- Dimitri Mitropoulos
A first violinist, a second violinist, a virtuoso violist, and a bass player are at the four corners of a football field. At the signal, someone drops a 100 dollar bill in the middle of the field and they run to grab it. Who gets it? The second violinist, because:
An E-flat, G-flat, and a B-flat walk into a bar...
The Bartender says, "I'm sorry, but we don't serve minors.
C, E-flat, and G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished, and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me; I'll just be a second." Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, "Get out! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."
E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development." Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest.
C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.
|string quartet||a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers.|
|detach||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.|
|preparatory beat||a threat made to singers, i.e., sing, or else....|
|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.|
|assistant conductor||a mouse trying to become a rat.|
|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.|
|half step||the pace used by a cellist when carrying hi instrument.|
|coloratura soprano||a singer who has great trouble finding the proper note, but who has a wild time hunting for it.|
|chromatic scale||an instrument for weighing that indicates half-pounds.|
|bar line||a gathering of people, usually among which may be found a musician or two.|
|ad libitum||a premiere.|
|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.|
|cadence||when everybody hopes you're going to stop, but you don't.|
|virtuoso||a musician with very high morals. (I know one)|
|music||a complex organizations of sounds that is set down by the composer, incorrectly interpreted by the conductor, who is ignored by the musicians, the result of which is ignored by the audience.|
|oboe||an ill wind that nobody blows good.|
|tenor||two hours before a nooner.|
|diminished fifth||an empty bottle of Jack Daniels.|
|perfect fifth||a full bottle of Jack Daniels.|
1. when you throw the banjo into the dumpster and it lands right on the accordion.
2. when you throw the banjo into the well and miss all the accordions at the bottom.
|ritard||there's one in every family.|
|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.|
|bass||the things you run around in softball.|
|portamento||a foreign country you've always wanted to see.|
|conductor||the man who punches your ticket to Birmingham.|
|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.|
|order of sharps||what a wimp gets at the bar.|
|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.|
a compound word
"Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!"
|whole note||what's due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year.|
|clef||what you try never to fall off of. * bass clef.col where you wind up if you do fall off.|
|altos||not to be confused with "Tom's toes," "Bubba's toes" or "Dori-toes".|
|minor third||your approximate age and grade at the completion of formal schooling.|
|melodic minor||loretta Lynn's singing dad.|
|12-tone scale||the thing the State Police weigh your tractor trailer truck with.|
1. what most standard pickups can haul.
2. two oboes playing in unison
|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.|
|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 with.|
|bossa nova||the car your foreman drives.|
|time signature||what you need from your boss if you forget to clock in.|
|first inversion||grandpa's battle group at Normandy.|
|staccato||how you did all the ceilings in your mobile home.|
|major scale||what you say after chasing wild game up a mountain.col "Damn! That was a major scale!"|
|aeolian mode||how you like Mama's cherry pie.|
|bach chorale||the place behind the barn where you keep the horses.|
|plague||a collective noun, as in "a plague of conductors."|
|audition||the act of putting oneself under extreme duress to satisfy the sadistic intentions of someone who has already made up his mind.|
|augmented fifth||a 36-ounce bottle.|
|broken consort||when someone in the ensemble has to leave to go to the bathroom.|
|cantus firmus||the part you get when you can play only four notes.|
|chansons de geste||dirty songs.|
|clausula||Mrs. Santa Claus.|
|ducita||a lot of mallards.|
|embouchure||the way you look when you've been playing the Krummhorn.|
|estampie||what they put on letters in Quebec.|
|garglefinklein||a tiny recorder played by neums.|
|hocket||the thing that fits into a crochet to produce a rackett.|
|interval||how long it takes to find the right note. There are three kinds
|intonation||singing through one's nose. Considered highly desirable in the Middle Ages.|
|isorhythmic motet||when half of the ensemble got a different edition from the other half.|
|minnesinger||a boy soprano.|
|musica ficta||when you lose your place and have to bluff until you find it again.|
|neumatic melishma||a bronchial disorder caused by hockets.|
|ordo||the hero in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.|
|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.|
|lasso||the 6th and 5th steps of a descending scale.|
|di lasso||popular with Italian cowboys.|
|quaver||beginning viol class.|
|rackett||capped reeds class|
|ritornello||a Verdi opera.|
|sine proprietate||cussing in church.|
|trope||a malevolent neum.|
|tutti||a lot of sackbuts.|
|stops||something Bach didn't have on his organ.|
|agnus dei||a famous female church composer.|
|metronome||a city-dwelling dwarf.|
|recitative||a disease that Monteverdi had.|
|transsectional||an alto who moves to the soprano section.|
After all... It was the bottom of the Ninth, the basses were loaded, the score was tied, there were two men out, and the Count was full.
Reprinted without permission from Edmonton Centre newsletter, Canada, and Canadian RCCO newsletter. Apologies to the fine bass players in the SSO.
Tonight's page turner, Ruth Spelke, studied under Ivan Schmertnick at the Boris Nitsky School of Page Turning in Philadelphia. She has been turning pages here and abroad for many years for some of the world's leading pianists. In 1988, Ms. Spelke won the Wilson Page Turning Scholarship, which sent her to Israel to study page turning from left to right. She is winner of the 1984 Rimsky Korsakov Flight of the Bumblebee Prestissimo Medal, having turned 47 pages in an unprecedented 32 seconds. She was also a 1983 silver medalist at the Klutz Musical Page Pickup Competition: contestants retrieve and rearrange a musical score dropped from a Yamaha. Ms. Spelke excelled in "grace, swiftness, and especially poise." For techniques, Ms. Spelke performs both the finger-licking and the bent-page corner methods. She works from a standard left bench position, and is the originator of the dipped-elbow page snatch, a style used to avoid obscuring the pianist's view of the music. She is page turner in residence in Fairfield Iowa, where she occupies the coveted Alfred Hitchcock Chair at the Fairfield Page Turning Institute. Ms. Spelke is married, and has a nice house on a lake.
|conductor||Leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Is more powerful than a locomotive. Is faster than a speeding bullet. Walks on water. Gives policy to God.|
|concertmaster||Leaps short buildings in a single bound. Is more powerful than a switch engine. Is just as fast as a speeding bullet. Walks on water if sea is calm. Talks with God.|
|oboist||Leaps short buildings with a running start and favorable winds. Is almost as powerful as a switch engine. Is almost as fast as a speeding bullet. Walks on water in an indoor swimming pool. Talks with God if special request is approved. trumpet player Barely clears a quonset hut. Loses tug-of-war with locomotive. Can fire a speeding bullet. Swims well. Is occasionally addressed by God.|
|bassoonist||Makes marks high on wall when trying to clear short buildings. Is run over by locomotive. Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury. Dog-paddles. Talks to animals.|
|second violinist||Runs into buildings. Recognizes locomotives two times out of three. Is not issued any ammunition. Can stay afloat with a life jacket. Talks to walls, argues with self.|
|manager||Falls over doorstep when trying to enter buildings. Says "Look at the choo-choo." Wets self with water pistol. Plays in mud puddles. Loses arguments with self.|
|horn player||Lifts buildings and walks under them. Kicks locomotives off the tracks. Catches speeding bullets in teeth and eats them. Freezes water with a single glance. Is God.|
2. Jethro has been playing the double bass in a symphony orchestra for 12 years, three months and seven days. Each day, his inclination to practice decreases by the equation: (total days in the orchestra) x 0.0076. Assuming he stopped practising altogether four years, six months and three days ago, how long will it be before he is completely unable to play the double bass?
3. Wilma plays in the second violin section, but specializes in making disparaging remarks about conductors and other musicians. The probability of her making a negative comment about any given musician is 4 chances in 7, and for conductors is 16 chances out of 17. If there are 103 musicians in the orchestra and the orchestra sees 26 different conductors each year, how many negative remarks does Wilma make in a two-year period? How does this change if five of the musicians are also conductors? What if six of the conductors are also musicians?
4. Horace is the General Manager of an important symphony orchestra. He tries to hear at least four concerts a year. Assuming that at each concert the orchestra plays a minimum of three pieces per concert, what are the chances that Horace can avoid hearing a single work by Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms in the next ten years?
5. Betty plays in the viola section. Despite her best efforts she is unable to play with the rest of the orchestra and, on average, plays 0.3528 seconds behind the rest of the viola section, which is already 0.16485 seconds behind the rest of the orchestra. If the orchestra is moving into a new concert hall with a reverberation time of 2.7 seconds, will she be able to continue playing this way undetected? 6. Ralph loves to drink coffee. Each week he drinks three more cups of coffee than Harold, who drinks exactly one third the amount that the entire brass section consumes in beer. How much longer is Ralph going to live?
7. Rosemary is unable to play in keys with more than three sharps or flats without making an inordinate number of mistakes. Because her colleagues in the cello section are also struggling in these passages she has so far been able to escape detection. What is the total number of hours they would all have to practice to play the complete works of Richard Strauss?
After attending a rehearsal of this work we make the following observations and recommendations:
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