Q: What's a string quartet?
A: A good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who
hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers.
Q: What's glissando?
A: A technique adopted by string players for difficult runs.
Q: What does "subito piano" mean:
A: It indicates an opportunity for some obscure orchestra player to become
Q: What does "senza sordino" mean:
A: It's a term used to remind the player that he forgot to put his mute on
a few measures back.
Q: What's a half step?
A: The pace used by a cellist when carrying his instrument.
Q: What happens if you sing country music backwards?
A: Your heart mends, you get out of jail, you get your job or your wife
or your truck back, and you stop having fun. Oh, did I mention
your dog comes back to life?
Q: How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One. She holds it and the world revolves around her.
Q: How many Deadheads does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: 12,001. 1 to screw it in, 2000 to record the event and take pictures of
it, and 10,000 to follow it around until it burns out.
Q: How many bass players does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. They let the keyboard player do it with his left hand.
Q: What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?
A: A drummer.
Q: How can you tell that there's a drummer at your front door?
A: The knocking keeps speeding up.
Q: How can you tell that there's a vocalist at your front door?
A: She doesn't know when to come in.
Q: What is the definition of a gentleman?
A: Someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't.
Q: How do you get two flute players to play the same note?
A: You shoot one of them.
Q: What is the definition of a minor second?
A: Two oboes playing in unison.
Q: What is the difference between a saxophone and a lawnmower?
Q: What do you call 1,000 soprano saxophonists at the bottom of the bay?
A: A good start.
Q: Why don't sax players like playing soprano?
A: There's no place to hide your drugs.
Q: What do you call an accordionist with a beeper?
A: An optimist.
Q: What's the least used sentence in the English language?
A: "Look at that mandolin player's Cadillac!"
Q: How do you make a trombone really sound like a French horn?
A: Stick your hand in the bell and miss at least half the notes.
Q: How do you make a French horn sound like a trombone?
A: Take your hand out of the bell and play out of tune.
Q: What is the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead
conductor in the road?
A: There are usually skid marks in front of the skunk.
Q: You are driving down the road and come across a conductor and a violist.
You cannot avoid hitting one of them. Which should it be?
A: Hit the violist first, then the conductor. After all, business before pleasure.
Q: What is the difference between an orchestra and a bull?
A: The bull has the horns in the front and the asshole in the back.
Q: What can you conclude when you see a violist drooling out of both
corners of his mouth?
A: The stage is level.
Q: What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline?
A: You take off your shoes to jump on a trampoline.
Q: Why do violists leave their cases on the dashboard of their cars?
A: So they can park in the handicapped spaces.
Q: What is the definition of perfect pitch?
A: Tossing a viola into the toilet without hitting the rim.
The Victor Borge Memorial Joke:
Q: What is the difference between a violin and a viola?
A: The violin burns faster.
Q: How do you get 5 oboists to play in tune?
A: Shoot 4 of them.
Q: What are burning oboes used for?
A: To set bassoons on fire.
Q: How do you make a guitarist play quieter?
A: Put a sheet of music paper in front of him.
Q: How do you make him stop playing altogether?
A: Put notes on it!
Q: There's a five-pound note on the floor in a room with a bad drummer, a
thrash guitarist, and a drummer who keeps good time. Who picks it up?
A: The bad drummer; the other drummer doesn't exist and the thrash
guitarist doesn't care about notes anyway.
"He'd be better off shoveling snow."
--Richard Strauss on Arnold Schoenberg.
When told that a soloist would need six fingers to perform his concerto,
Arnold Schoenberg replied, "I can wait."
"I would like to hear Elliot Carter's Fourth String Quartet, if only to
discover what a cranky prostate does to one's polyphony."
"Exit in case of Brahms."
--Philip Hale's proposed inscription over the doors of Boston
"Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa-Lobos?"
"His music used to be original. Now it's aboriginal."
--Sir Ernest Newman on Igor Stravinsky
"If he'd been making shell-cases during the war it might have been better for music."
--Maurice Ravel on Camille Saint-Saens
"He has an enormously wide repertory. He can conduct anything, provided
it's by Beethoven, Brahms or Wagner. He
tried Debussy's La Mer once. It came out as Das Merde."
--Anonymous Orchestra Member on George Szell
Someone commented to Rudolph Bing, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, that
George Szell is his own worst enemy.
"Not while I'm alive, he isn't!" said Bing.
"Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure
to thousands and all you can do is scratch it."
--Sir Thomas Beecham to a lady cellist.
"After I die, I shall return to earth as a gatekeeper of a bordello and I
won't let any of you enter."
--Arturo Toscanini to the NBC Orchestra
"We cannot expect you to be with us all the time, but perhaps you could be
good enough to keep in touch now and again."
--Sir Thomas Beecham to a musician during a rehearsal
"Jack Benny played Mendelssohn last night. Mendelssohn lost."
The great German conductor Hans von Buelow detested two members of an
orchestra, who were named Schultz and
Schmidt. Upon being told that Schmidt had died, von Buelow immediately
asked, "Und Schultz?"
"Her voice sounded like an eagle being goosed."
--Ralph Novak on Yoko Ono
"Parsifal - the kind of opera that starts at six o'clock and after it has
been going three hours, you look at your watch and it says 6:20."
"One can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I
certainly don't intend hearing it a second time."
"I liked the opera very much. Everything but the music."
--Benjamin Britten on Stravinsky's The Rakes's Progress
"Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on."
--Sir Thomas Beecham on an unidentified soprano in Die Walkyre
Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding, he sings.
If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum.