Musician Jokes‎ > ‎



  • 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.
  • 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: 1) a musician who is adept at following many people at the same time. or 2) the guy who punches your ticket to Philly.
  • 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 his 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.
  • 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.
  • diatonic: low-calorie Schweppes.
  • lamentoso: with handkerchiefs.
  • virtuoso: a musician with very high morals. (I know one)
  • music: a complex organization 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.
  • ritard: there's one in every family.
  • relative major: an uncle in the Marine Corps.
  • relative minor: the guitarist's 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.
  • 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:
    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.
  • 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: 1) the smooth coating on a freshly paved road. or 2) Throwing a piccolo in the toilet without hitting the rim.
  • tuba: a compound word: "Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!"
  • cadenza:
    1. that ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when company comes.
    2. The heroine in Monteverdi's opera Frottola
  • 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: 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.
  • 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:
    1. typical response when asked what you hope to catch, and when.
    2. a bedpost with a bad case of gas.
  • 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: "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • crotchet:
    1. a tritone with a bent prong.
    2. like knitting, but faster.
  • 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:
    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.
  • 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.
  • neums: renaissance midgets.
  • 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.
  • sancta: Clausula's husband.
  • lasso: the 6th and 5th steps of a descending scale.
  • di lasso: popular with Italian cowboys.
  • quaver: beginning viola class.
  • rackett: capped reeds class
  • ritornello: a Verdi opera.
  • sine proprietate: cussing in church.
  • supertonic: Schweppes.
  • 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.
  • allegro: leg fertilizer.
  • recitative: a disease that Monteverdi had.
  • transsectional: an alto who moves to the soprano section.

More Musical Terms - -

Concert - A place where people go to cough and sneeze.

Embouchure - The way you look when you've been playing the Krummhorn.

Espressivo - Close eyes and play with a wide vibrato.

 Flute - A sophisticated pea shooter with a range of up to 500 yards, blown transversely to confuse the enemy.

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.

Piano Subito - Indicates an opportunity for some obscure orchestra player to become a soloist.

Sensible - This term is occasionally seen in Italian opera scores, but it obviously is a misnomer.

Sequence - Small, faceted ornaments sewn to a performer's costume which sparkle in the lights.

Sharp - An adjective used to describe another musician whose opinions are in harmony with your own.

Syncopation - A condition brought on by lack of roughage in one's diet.

Tonic - Medicinal liquid to be consumed before, during, or after a performance.

Transposition - Men who wear dresses.

Metronome - a city-dwelling dwarf.

Minnesinger - a boy soprano.

Neumatic Melisma - a bronchial disorder caused by hockets.

Neums - renaissance midgets.

Ordo - the hero in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Recitative - a disease that Monteverdi had.

Supertonic - Schweppes.

Trotto - an early Italian form of Montezuma's Revenge.

Obligato  - being forced to practice

Metronome - short, city musician who can fit into a Honda Civic

Lento - the days leading up to Easto

Largo - beer brewed in Germany for the Florida Keys

Piu Animato - clean out the cat's litter box

Con Spirito - drunk again

Colla Voce - this shirt is so tight I can't sing

Improvisation - what you do when the music falls down

Prelude - warm-up before the clever stuff

Flats - English apartments

Chords - things organists play with one finger

Discords - thing that organists play with two fingers

Suspended Chords - useful for lynching the vocalist

Time Signatures - things for drummers to ignore

Melody - an ancient, now almost extinct, art in songwriting

Klavierstuck - A term used by German furniture movers attempting to get a piano through a narrow doorway.

Music Stand - An intricate device used to hold music. Comes in two sizes - too high or too low - always broken.

Tonic - A medicinal drink consumed in great quantity before a performance, and in greater quantity afterwards.

Dominant - What parents must be if they expect their children to practice.

Concert Hall - A place where large audiences gather, for the sole purpose of removing paper wrappings from candy and gum.

Sotto Voce - singing while drunk

- playing high enough on an oboe to make the eyes bulge.

Cadenza - slapping noise on office furniture

Fandango - grabbing the pull chain on the ceiling fan

Prima Volta - jump start with a battery

Refrain - proper technique for playing bagpipes

Smorzando - with melted chocolate and marshmallow