Musician Jokes

February 18, 2009 at 06:22 PM ·

Admit it: deep in your geeky musician soul you find these jokes hilarious.  And yet, we so often must refrain from sharing our twisted sense of humor.  I've found that all too often they fall sadly flat (pun! ha!) at parties.  Blank stares or a polite laugh are the most I ever hope for.

So please share your hidden gems.

I'll start with one of my favorites:


What's the difference between the first stand of violas and the second stand?  About two measures.

Replies (68)

February 18, 2009 at 07:49 PM ·

How many violinists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: Two - one to change the bulb, and the other to suggest an alternate fingering.

February 18, 2009 at 08:27 PM ·

I love lightbulb jokes!

How many 2nd violinists does it take to change a lightbulb? None. None of them can go that high.

How many Julliard students does it take...1,000. One to actually change it, and 999 to say "I can do it better".

Now here's a joke that I made up. I guarantee that if you went to Mannes you'll find it funny. But if you didn't, it will fall flatter than a violist's intonation:

How many Mannes students does it take...Only one. But that poor student has to twist it with one hand, click with the other, repeat the process 7 times in 7 different cleffs, and submit the whole process to a Schenkerian analysis.

How many Opera Divas does it take...Just one. But she does not actually screw in the lightbulb. She merely holds it in place while the whole world revolves around her!

Finally, stepping away from the light bulb - what's the difference between a bull and an orchestra? With a bull the horns are in front and the a-- is in the back. With an orchesra it's the other way around. Just kidding, Maestri! (sort of.)

February 19, 2009 at 12:20 AM ·

there once was a cellist from Nantucket...oops, can't say that one here

February 19, 2009 at 12:21 AM ·

:::groan:::  here comes all the viola jokes again...  I hope there is a new one :)

February 19, 2009 at 01:33 AM ·

So, to keep things nice & clean a violist-friendly joke: What's the first thing a violist spells out after a lobotomy surgery...? O soooooooooooooooole mio...

February 19, 2009 at 01:47 AM ·

A lightbulb + the entire trumpet section + the first violin section=

1 trumpet player to actually put the lightbulb in; the rest to tell them they can do it better; and the violinists to sit back, laugh and gather more trumpet jokes.

February 19, 2009 at 05:40 AM ·

The great Danish tenor Lauritz Melchior was in a production of the Ring cycle with a so-so Brunnhilde. While the mercifully unnamed soprano was struggling mightily during a rehearsal of the Immolation Scene in Gotterdammerung, Grane (the steed) defecated onstage. Melchior quipped to a guy next, "Everyone's a critic."

February 19, 2009 at 01:52 AM ·

Oh wow....I fail.

February 19, 2009 at 06:07 AM ·

Ya know, over the holidays, I took my 6 year old grandson to a holiday performance that was featuring a well-known local soprano (I'll leave names out). The conductor and the soloist knew each other pretty well, and since it was a local production, he actually let her share the podium (she was a bit shorter than average...)

About 1/2 way through, my grandson tugged on my coat and said
'Grandpa, why is that man hitting her with the stick?"
"He's not hitting her with the stick," I replied. "He is conducting the orchestra."
"Then why is she screaming?"

February 19, 2009 at 04:40 PM ·

How many violin teachers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: One - None of the others know how to do right.

How many New York violinists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: Shadddup!!!

How many Suzuki violin students does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: 25 (Actually, 75 if you count their parents)

How many violinists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: One, but you'll have trouble finding the one without elbow tendonitis.

How many percussionists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: I wouldn't let a percussionist get near a lightbulb.

February 19, 2009 at 05:45 PM ·

I told this one before but for those who didn't read it?

How long does a violinist survive with nothing in the woods?  A few hours only: is death, has no nails to protect himself againt wild beasts + tendonidis!  

I also found awsomly funny the medical condition also knowned as the "Rostropov Itch" (see the cello scrotum discussion. A false sickness invented by a doctor in UK)!



February 19, 2009 at 05:56 PM ·

Oh, yeah!!! What about "Chicoughski"? (That's the cough you get from skiing in Chicago)

February 19, 2009 at 05:58 PM ·

It's the story of a judge who pass (in an audition) a bunch of susuki students applying for an orchestra behind a black screen and with no talking allowed to prevent any form of discrimination.  15 minutes later, the juged is quite boared because he wants to here another candidate...  20 minutes after, it's still the same appliant.  One hour after, the judge is so sick of hearing the same one that he breaks the silent rule and screems: NEXT, YOUR TURN IS OVER!  And the susuki student behind the screen srceems back: Ms the judge haven't you notice that already 50 students have passed? 

lol I know this one is about a stupid stereotype!  I don't think it!



February 19, 2009 at 06:22 PM ·

What did the terminator say to Mozart? "I'll be Bach!"

>:^(  "YuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuK! Bad One!!!!! Smells like the horse **** in the previous joke!"

February 20, 2009 at 02:12 AM ·

Royce, your joke is great!


February 20, 2009 at 05:52 AM ·

Do you know the difference between a guitarist and a government bond?


Eventually, the bond will mature and earn money.



February 20, 2009 at 07:15 AM ·

What do you call a good violinist, an average violinist, a failed violinist, and someone who hates violinists who all get together to complain about composers?


A string quartet!

February 20, 2009 at 07:41 AM ·

 Why are viola jokes so short? 

So violinists can understand them.

February 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM ·

You show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you a flat minor.

February 20, 2009 at 10:03 AM ·

How do you get the viola section to play up bow spiccato?  Write "solo" over a whole note.

February 20, 2009 at 03:34 PM ·

Anne Marie- Meci Buccu !!! {:^) (Forgive me if that is spelled wrong.... Thank You! )

Elaine- Way Too Funny!!!! }>^D

February 20, 2009 at 03:37 PM ·

Here's one I've posted before;

Why was J.S. Bach's instruments Baroque?

The Luthier couldn't fix them....

February 20, 2009 at 03:38 PM ·

What does a Luthier call a string player..... Job Security.

February 20, 2009 at 06:47 PM ·


Bienvenue Royce.

The next joke is better when you hear it than when you read it so read it out loud. 

A  young and depressed Russian man with a suitcase enters in a bar and asks the waiter to have  a hole bottle of vodka.  The waiter says, of course but forgive my curiousity, what are you carrying in your suitcase???  The man says, oh let me drink a little bit to be less depressed and I will show what's in my suitcase to you...  A few vodka glasses after, the man opens his suitcase and a tiny 12 inches pianist comes out, installs himself on front of a tiny piano and start playing marvels.  Such marvels that Richter looks like a beggar besides him...  The waiter is astonished by such raw talent and asks to the man where he found such a jewel of a player? The man answers that a genius appeared to him a few days ago and told him that he could give him one thing that he desired very much so he ended up with this f_ _ _  pianist.  The waiter said but why are you so depressed he is by far the most extraordinairy pianist that have ever existed on earth. The man answered this to the waiter shouting: STUPID YOU, DO YOU REALLY THINK i ASK THE GENIUS FOR A 12 INCHES PIANIST?

Here is another one following the same style but yes I admit that I find it really funny. 

A soldier went at Vietnam war and was shot with a AK 47 where I think...   He had many many bullets that made his thing looked like a gruyère cheese when the bullets were removed. The surgen said that he would have permanent wholes at this place.  The discouraged soldier was revolted and went to see the best doctors in the world to ask for advice for these holes he had on the...  No one could find a solution. One day, though, he received a letter telling him that a doctor wanted to see him.  He went to see this doctor immidiately.  The doctor said, I thought day and night and I think I have the solution for your distrubing holes...  You should go to a music school.  The shouldier shouted:  ARE YOU LAUGHING OF ME, A MUSIC SCHOOL? The doctor says no, the clarinet teacher will teach you how to cover the holes with your fingers when you go to the washroom to not pee on yourself anymore!

Sorry 18+ jokes (just kidding)



February 20, 2009 at 08:24 PM ·

Once upon a time I was practising violin in the middle of a field when,all of a sudden,I am surrounded by 50 male deer and 50 female pigs

or---     ONE HUNDRED    SOWSANDBUCKS.............


February 20, 2009 at 11:23 PM ·

 Do you know the difference between a fiddler and a three legged dog? 
The three legged dog knows when to stop dancing.

February 21, 2009 at 08:11 AM ·

I'm disappointed in you guys....  only 2 viola jokes so far .....  you can do better than this :)

February 21, 2009 at 09:40 AM ·

I do believe you and I are the only violist on this thread, Mendy.

You may have to pick up some of the slack soon =)

February 21, 2009 at 02:37 PM ·

Violist jokes, so far I posted the only luthier joke and it flies like a lead balloon. Gave it my best!

Anne-Marie..... When Buri reads your, "18 inch Pianist" joke, look out!

February 21, 2009 at 02:50 PM ·

What does a violist use for birth control?

Her personality


How many C&W bass players does it take to screw in a light bult?


February 21, 2009 at 02:54 PM ·

What is an orchestra composed of? Those who play the viola, and the rest wish they could also.

There! A Viola Joke!

February 21, 2009 at 03:45 PM ·

What do you call someone with no sense of timing or rhythm that hangs out with musicians?

A Drummer.

February 21, 2009 at 06:27 PM ·

I really will need to put some viola-joke repellant on my Chopin-Liszt..... 

February 21, 2009 at 06:54 PM ·

Disclaimer: I am a violist myself, but I find viola jokes extremely hilarious!

Disclaimer #2: This is not a made up joke, it actually happened to me.

So, back when I was starting to fall in love with the viola (yes, this can actually happen...) I went to google to do a search, hoping to find some material to inspire me.

I typed in "Virtuoso Violist"

What do I get back??

"No matches found. Did you mean 'Virtuoso Violinist'?"


February 21, 2009 at 08:16 PM ·

 That is the best one of all, Manuel.

February 21, 2009 at 09:56 PM ·

Royce if Buri doesn't read it, someone can email it to him!  Laughing is contagious!


February 21, 2009 at 10:20 PM ·

Thanks Sharelle, always a pleasure :D

February 21, 2009 at 10:23 PM ·

Collecting money at a band rehearsal:


"Can you spare $10 to help bury a deceased saxophone player?"

"Here's $20, bury two!"


February 22, 2009 at 01:09 AM ·

How many Spanish musicians does it take to change a light bulb?

Anne-Marie - good joke, but how does double-tonguing fit into that scenario?

February 22, 2009 at 01:54 AM ·

I don't know, my uncle who told this joke told that it was at its funniest when read in english???


February 22, 2009 at 07:33 AM ·

I've got nothing original but this site has a lot of good ones:

Here are some examples:

How do you keep your violin from getting stolen? 
Put it in a viola case. 

What do a violin and a lawsuit have in common?  
Everyone is happy when the case is closed. 

Did you hear about the violinist who bragged that he could play 32nd notes?  
The rest of the orchestra didn't believe him, so he proved it by playing one.

String players' motto: "It's better to be sharp than out of tune."

Why is a violinist's fingers like lightening?
They never strike the same place twice!

What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle? The more I don't practice my violin, the more it sounds like a fiddle

What do you call one pretty good violinist, one better-than-average violinist, one failed violinist, and someone who hates violinists who are all together in the same room?  A string quartet.

... and I don't ask me why the font gets smaller and smaller.


February 22, 2009 at 02:45 PM ·

Anne-Marie, tu me fais rire!  Peut-etre mieux de ne pas expliquer. Avec meilleux voeux, J.

February 22, 2009 at 03:06 PM ·

Jim, je fais grâce des explications à tous bien entendu!  Vous saurez quoi dire à un party de Noël de musiciens!  lol


Yixi, the jokes are so funny!

February 23, 2009 at 07:53 PM ·

Yesterday I received an email from a friend and he told me that he had attended a concert in possibly the “worst concert hall in the whole world”. The venue he told me was Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw.


Puzzled, I emailed him back and asked why he formed such an opinion. 


He answered: “Where ever you buy your ticket you will probably wind up sitting behind a pole.”

February 23, 2009 at 10:45 PM ·

Ted, that's similar to the story below from BBC News:

Or the fact that half the streets in Rome seem to be called "Senso Unico"

February 24, 2009 at 02:03 AM ·

What is the longest viola joke?  Harold in Italy.

Why shouldn't you drive over a cliff in your car with five violas in it?  You could fit in at least three more.

What do you have when you have a bunch of violas up to their necks in sand?  Not enough sand.

What is perfect pitch?  When you toss a trumpet into a dumpster and it lands on top of the viola.

What's the latest crime wave in the city?  Drive-by viola recitals.

Why do violists put their cases on the dashboard?  So they can park in the handicapped spots.

How many cellists does it take to change a light bulb?  I...iii IV ii V V I.

How do you know when the stage is level?  The drummer is drooling from both sides.

How do you know when there's a drummer at your door?  The knock speeds up.

What's the difference between a musician and a large pizza?  The pizza can feed a family of four.

How many brass players does it take to change a light bulb?  20: one to hold the bulb and 19 to drink 'til the room spins.

So this tuba player walks past a bar...well, it could happen!

Why are trumpets like pirates?  They're both murder on the high Cs. 

From the BBC viola entrance exam:

  • Scarlatti wrote 500 harpsichord sonatas for what instrument?
  • Explain counterpoint, or write your name on the reverse of the page.
  • Tchaikovsky wrote six symphonies, including Symphony No. 5.  Name the others.
  • Rearrange the following words to make the title of a Puccini opera: Boheme, La.

February 24, 2009 at 03:31 PM ·

Why did Buri not move to Russia?

4 hours is too long to wait to get a roll of toilet paper after eatting his prunes!

February 24, 2009 at 09:07 PM ·

Royce, they have that stuff in Japan in 2009! lol


February 25, 2009 at 04:00 PM ·

Madame- Would you re-read the question??????????

February 25, 2009 at 04:58 PM ·

>I went to google to do a search, hoping to find some material to inspire me. I typed in "Virtuoso Violist" What do I get back?? "No matches found. Did you mean 'Virtuoso Violinist'?"

Manuel, this is SO funny (especially since it was a true story and that you're telling it as a violist).

And Elaine, I'd never seen your joke before (Q: "Do you know the difference between a guitarist and a government bond?" A:"Eventually, the bond will mature and earn money.") Hilarious!

Such entertainment for an otherwise bleak morning!



February 25, 2009 at 05:34 PM ·

This is not a joke as such, it actually happened.

A violinist and cellist were giving a duo recital recently. Afterwards an old lady went up to them and asked, "are there still violas around, or have they been phased out?".

February 25, 2009 at 07:11 PM ·

Music history question: How many symphonies did Beethoven write?

Answer: Three, the Third, the Fifth, and the Ninth!

February 25, 2009 at 08:24 PM ·

How do you get a musician off your doorstep?

Pay for the pizza.


What does a musician say when he is at work?

Would you like fries with that?


What does a philosopher-musician do?

He has deep thoughts about being unemployed.

February 26, 2009 at 03:32 AM ·

I think I told this Sir Thomas Beecham story before. Here it is again for you kids.

Getting more than a bit frustrated with his ridiculous star soprano at an opera rehearsal, Sir Thomas came up to her from the rear and cupped her gigantic breasts in both hands, saying wistfully,

"Ah, God... If only these were brains!"




February 26, 2009 at 02:43 PM ·

What's the defintion of a minor 2nd?

2 violists playing in unison.


How do you get a violist to do use vibrato? 

Mark his part 'solo'.

February 26, 2009 at 02:57 PM ·

(This joke was on a popsicle stick - my five year old thinks it's hilarious)

Why was Mozart unable to find his teacher?

His teacher was Haydn!

February 26, 2009 at 10:50 PM ·

Or you could write a trill over the note, Dottie?

I went out today and got the CD of Glenn Gould playing John Cage's "4' 33".  It's brilliant - but one little niggle, the humming is a bit offputting ...

February 27, 2009 at 04:21 AM ·

I went out today and got the CD of Glenn Gould playing John Cage's "4' 33".

The Heifetz version comes in at 3'28".

February 27, 2009 at 06:29 PM ·

Anna Vrankar wrote:

"(This joke was on a popsicle stick - my five year old thinks it's hilarious)

Why was Mozart unable to find his teacher?

His teacher was Haydn!"

That's from an old Marx Brothers movie! Chico or one of them was hiding inside a piano. When asked what he was doing there, (you know the rest).


February 28, 2009 at 07:00 AM ·

Remember that one about musicians' brains?

February 28, 2009 at 03:46 PM ·

Bart, where's the joke?

maybe in this summary sentence?    

" It is our hope that the material presented in this paper provides some evidence for

the plastic nature of the human brain."

With greetings from my plastic brain, Haj

February 28, 2009 at 08:51 PM ·

Haj, thank you.

I hoped someone would say that,

so that I could say:

I was afraid someone would say that,

and that would be the joke.

Please don't be offended!

My brother, who is a musician, told me another joke about musicians' brains. A man goes to the doctor with a terrible complaint. The doctor tells him that he must eat a gram of human brain per day. On the patient's startled questions, he is directed to a little shop that can provide what he needs. In the shop, the attendant sums up the various choices: labourers' brains, $500 per gram; lawyers' brains, $2000 per gram; doctors' brains, $9000 per gram, and finally, musicians' brains, $10000 per gram. "Why are musicians' brains so expensive?" "Have you any idea how difficult it is to collect even one gram of musicians' brains?"

The article referred to above shows how silly the joke is, so again, don't be offended, please!


February 28, 2009 at 11:20 PM ·

What is the difference between a violist and a doctor?

A doctor must rehearse first, then he "practice" for the rest of his life.

A violist must practice before every rehearsal.

Why a violist and a violinist can never be roommates?

They are too close for comfort.

They have nothing in common to share, e.g., they can't share one room to make noise; they can't share a music stand because they read different cleffs.

March 1, 2009 at 05:48 AM ·

The newest one...

Audition to Moscow Conservatory.  The really good violinist is taking music theory exam. But he absolutely doesn't know anything. The examiner knows that this abiturient should be accepted anyway, so he asks the last question with hope that this one will be answered correctly:

Examiner,  "What is subdominant in F Major?"  

Abiturient, "But... FMajor IS subdominant!"

March 1, 2009 at 05:39 PM ·

What is a viola da gamba? It's your granpa's viola.

March 3, 2009 at 05:36 AM ·

How can you tell when there's a banjo player at the door?  He knocks too loudly and he doesn't know when to come in.

There is, truthfully, a Far Side cartoon which is a square cut in half along the diagonal.  In one half, an angel says, "Welcome to heaven.  Here's your harp."  In the other half, the Devil says, "Welcome to h-ll.  Here's your accordion."

What's the definition of an upper class man?  Someone who has an accordion but doesn't play it.

Three men were talking to St. Peter at the gate to Heaven.  Each wanted to be admitted.  The first said, "I make $150,000 a year making people healthy. " The second said, "I make $250,000 a year helping people get justice."  The third said, "I make $40,000 a year helping people by nurturing their spirits."  Saint Peter said to the third man, "What instrument do you play?"


March 9, 2009 at 03:51 AM ·

Musical joke

Not sure if this one is already on your list, I've just joined the site. My daughter came home from music camp with these:.

Q. What separates viola players from the apes?  A. The second violins!

And...A kid comes home from 1st bass lesson. Dad asks "what did you learn?" Kid says "How to play open E string". After next lesson, same question. Kid says "I learnt how to play another open string". After the third week, anotehr open string. After the fourth week Dad says "What did you learn this week?". Kid says "Nothing - I was in a gig". 

April 13, 2009 at 08:09 PM ·

Just to let you know before I post this - I am an adult beginner violinist and violist.  Ok here goes:

Q:  A violist and a conductor are crossing the street.  Which one do you run over first?

A:  The conductor.  Business before pleasure.


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