"The Arbiter of Taste in Art and Literature"
There was a young critic named Laurence
If it wasn't for the incessant tuning of the lutes and viols, the Renaissance would have ended 30 years sooner.
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."
Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his subjects by playing the fiddle to them.
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.
David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.
When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
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.
Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.
There once was a lady named Hatch
Wagner's music has beautiful moments but some bad quarters of an hour.
Richard Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Vivaldi didn't write 500 concertos, he wrote 1 concerto 500 times.
There was a composer named Liszt
Harpists seem to spend half their life tuning, the other half playing out of tune.
On the beautiful slopes of Lugano
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has a long section where the basses don't have a thing to do. Not a single note for page after page. During one performance, it was decided that after playing their parts in the opening of the symphony, the bass players were to quietly lay down their instruments and leave the stage rather than sit on their stools looking and feeling dumb for twenty minutes. Once they got backstage, someone suggested that they trot across the street for a drink. When they got there, a European nobleman recognized that they were musicians, and bought them several rounds. Two of the bassists passed out, and the rest of the section, not to mention the nobleman, were rather drunk. Finally, one of them looked at his watch and exclaimed, "Look at the time! We'll be late!" The remaining bassists tried in vain to wake up their section mates, but finally those who were still conscious had to give up and run across the street to the Opera House. While they were on their way in, the bassist who suggested this excursion in the first place said, "I think we'll still have enough time--I anticipated that something like this could happen, so I tied a string around the last pages of the score. When the conductor gets there, he's going to have to slow the tempo way down while he waves his baton with one hand and fumbles with the string with the other." Sure enough, when they got back to the stage they hadn't missed their entrance, but one look at their conductor told them they were still in serious trouble - It was the bottom of the Ninth, the score was tied, the basses were loaded with two men out, and the Count was full.
The thrifty Scots don't waste much. For example, when they slaughter a pig, they even save the squeals to put in their bagpipes.
From The Bluffers Guide to Music by Peter Gammond, Crown Publishers, 1971
Accidental: A wrong note played on purpose.
Antiphonal: What happens when half the choir has the wrong music.
Atonal: Music written when a composer forgets, or couldn't care less, what key the piece is supposed to be in.
Chamber music: Music written for a small number of listeners.
Continuo: The tinkling noise, usually made on a harpsichord, which prevents baroque music from sounding too clinical.
Dynamics: Playing too soft or too loud.
Impressionism: Music that sounds as if it is being played in a thick fog.
Madrigal: Medieval barbershop songs.
Pentatonic: Music that can be played on bagpipes.
Recitative: When a singer forgets the tune.
If you need a really great gift for a music teacher, consider earplugs.
Teacher to student: I can play the white keys, or I can play the black keys, but you sing in the cracks.
from Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter, Vintage Books, 1980
Achilles and the Tortoise happen upon each other in the park one day while strolling.
Tortoise: Good day, Mr. A.
(Suddenly, the Crab, appearing from out of nowhere, wanders up excitedly, pointing to a rather
prominent black eye.)
Tortoise: That's my good friend. He often plays the fool. But I myself wouldn't touch a ten-foot Pole
with a guitar!
Can't carry a tune in a bucket? Need a synthetic instrument to listen to with a tin ear? Looking for a new way to discourage telemarketers? See if you can identify these touchtone telephone songs as you play them. You'll need a plug-in for .wav files (and a really good imagination).
WARNING! We're not responsible for long distance charges if you accidentally dial Vladivostok (or anyplace else) while trying this with a real phone. Make sure you're connected to a very tolerant friend - or an ex-spouse.