If politicians were musicians

October 19, 2016 at 02:59 AM · What part would they play in an orchestra, and why?

Just for fun...

Replies (67)

October 19, 2016 at 04:14 AM · Easy,Trump would buy us all the Stradivarius and stuff... He would also build us an auditorium and we could play great again. Hilary would play the triangle, of course.

October 19, 2016 at 04:26 AM · More likely Trump would buy the orchestra, declare bankruptcy, fire the musicians, tear up their pension plans and sell the auditorium to build a casino.

October 19, 2016 at 08:28 AM · Yes, Lyndon is right!

October 19, 2016 at 08:35 AM · What????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

October 19, 2016 at 08:55 AM · And then tell the world that he'd dated half of the female members ...

October 19, 2016 at 08:59 AM · Of course some politicians are or were musicians - Bill Clinton on his saxophone was a very memorable part of a prior election campaign, and Tony Blair was in a rock band.

October 19, 2016 at 09:04 AM · Jello Biafra, the lead singer for the Dead Kennedys ran for Mayor of San Francisco on several occasions, I believe.

October 19, 2016 at 09:56 AM · "What????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????"

Yes, Lyndon, I do give credit when its due.

Stefan - unfortunately Tony Bliar was a dreadful musician - and a worse politician - and many people think he should be in the Hague on war crimes charges. I had better not say more.

October 19, 2016 at 12:09 PM · Thomas Jefferson was a dedicated amateur violinist. I have a book just about that aspect of him. He had a Tourte bow which ended up at Wurlitzers and a he was supposed to have had a Strad which somehow got lost. Can you imagine how much that Strad would go for if it were found and its provenance proven beyond a doubt?

Truman and Nixon were amateur pianists.

I can see Trump playing a really loud Trump-et. And Hillary Clinton, a really strident oboe with a very bad reed.

Rudy Guliani, so far as I know, does not play any instrument but he is a big Opera fan.

Musselini played the violin. Then there was Nero...

October 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM · Political/musical slogans for today's world:

- "Make Beethoven Great Again"

- "Tax the violinists who play in the top 1% of the E-String"

- "Paganini was outside the establishment"

- "Prevent all of our violinist jobs from going to the Gotham City Philharmonic"

- "No Suzuki lessons for children! (young kids shouldn't be riding motorcycles)"

- "Make shifting from 1st to 3rd position illegal! (it constitutes discrimination against 2nd position)"

- "Remove the bridge and build a wall."

- "Bach Sonatas and Partitas are unfair to accompanists"

- "Abolish fingerboarding"

- "Prevent illegal string crossing"

October 19, 2016 at 02:11 PM · Why don't we all play Clinton sax? Not to mention that junior Trudeau is already a musician, a great white-noise singer.

October 19, 2016 at 02:59 PM · A former British PM, Ted Heath, was a musician (organist, pianist, conductor), and returned to music when his political days were over.

A couple of generations previously, the composer and concert pianist Paderewski became PM of Poland.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is a pianist, particularly enjoying playing the music of Mozart.

October 19, 2016 at 06:28 PM · There would be no music anymore.

October 19, 2016 at 07:34 PM · Guess who would be put on viola!

October 19, 2016 at 08:10 PM · Hahaha! Or guess who would refuse to play 2nd violin!

October 19, 2016 at 08:30 PM · Let's turn it around: If musicians were politicians?

In fact, some of them already are, supporting quite dubious agendas on all sides of political spectrum.

Just the other day, I discovered to my great surprise that Wolfgang Eduard Schneiderhan (who together with Geza Anda and Pierre Fournier recorded my favorite take of Triple concerto by Beethoven) was a member of the N@z! party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Schneiderhan_(violinist) )

Oddly enough, his old sins did not cost him his job in post-war Europe.

October 19, 2016 at 09:25 PM · Rebecca, I appreciate the lightheartedness (is that the right word?) with which you started this thread. However, one of the reasons I enjoy this site is because it is a break from all the political craziness. I did not expect to see such comments here, and I disagree with the above comments on Trump but that is a separate issue. Can we all please remember that this site is for talk about violin, not politics? I'm sure there are many members on here that support both candidates and wouldn't want to see criticism of their candidate on a website that is supposed to be about violin, not future presidents. It's a controversial issue. I've refrained from hinting at my political views and I hope others do the same. Please, let's keep this about jokes and not candidates.

October 20, 2016 at 01:47 AM · Trevor mentioned Heath and Paderewski, but there was also Henry VIII (almost up there with his contemporaries Tallis and Taverner) and Frederick the Great (a musician, but, according to one of his court musicians, not really a music lover - "If you are under the impression that the King loves music you are wrong; he only loves the flute–and more than that the only flute he loves is his own")

October 20, 2016 at 08:22 AM · I don't think Heath could have ever been called a musician ...

October 20, 2016 at 10:56 AM · Based on intelligence, Trump would clearly play the viola, but I wouldn't ask him to spell it.

On second thoughts, the "quality" of sound of bagpipes played indoors, sums up his bluster.

Cheers Carlo

October 20, 2016 at 11:07 AM · That's slightly unfair on Heath. He won an Organ Scholarship at Oxford - which in my day at least demanded a near professional playing ability (typically Associate if not Fellow of the Royal College of Organists). He didn't study music there though, he did Philosophy Politics and Economics like a lot of British prime ministers, but apparently seriously considered a career in music.

But it is difficult to count him as anything less than a good amateur musician. He conducted choirs right through his life, though surely the opportunity to conduct professional orchestras only came through political celebrity. Apparently when as a prominent politician he paid visits to different towns and cities in the UK he would research in advance any local churches with interesting organs and make arrangements to play them in any spare time between engagements. In retirement he wrote a popular book promoting music appreciation and actively supported charities encouraging participation in music.

Whatever one thinks of his political record, he didn't have the philistine tendencies of so many recent British politicians. When he was ousted as Prime Minister the image that captured the moment on the front page of many newspapers was of his Steinway grand piano being taken out of 10 Downing Street into a furniture van.

October 20, 2016 at 11:32 AM · Actually, I'm with Helen and have tried to tread lightly.

October 20, 2016 at 12:42 PM · It was remiss of me not to mention Frederick II (The Great), seeing that we played through one of his delightful little sinfonias a few weeks ago in an informal chamber ensemble I belong to. The CPE Bach Chamber Orchestra has recorded them (see Naxos Music Library).

I know a cellist who owns a cello with Frederick II's coat of arms on its back. Perhaps it was made for someone in the Court orchestra, if not actually for the King himself.

Taking a more bathetic standpoint, when Tony Blair became British PM my abiding memory is of a newspaper photo of him taking a guitar into Number 10. Whether the Rodrigo concerto ever got played on it is mere idle speculation.

October 20, 2016 at 12:58 PM · Thank you Carlo! But maybe Helen is right. Let's just say that as a violist myself, I prefer to choose my friends..

October 20, 2016 at 04:01 PM · My gosh, can't we take a joke? Or do we prefer the world to be made or eggshells?

October 21, 2016 at 01:59 PM · Well this interesting thread seems to have died. So much for free speech ...

October 21, 2016 at 02:30 PM · Yes, English Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath was a musician. He liked conducting, and his social position allowed him access to the finest orchestras, which he would conduct.

His 1976 book, MUSIC A Joy for Life, contains a chapter on the art of conducting and those of you with access to this tome might be amused by the illustrations of "Conducting Movements" on pages 154-5; for example, number 8, illustrates "Precision from the woodwind".

October 21, 2016 at 02:50 PM · Politicians ARE musicians: 1) They want you to give them your undivided attention, 2) They want you to listen to to everything they present to you, 3) They won't shut up, and 4) They want your applause.

Cheers, Sandy

October 21, 2016 at 05:05 PM · "Politicians ARE musicians ...".

Prima donnas, perhaps. Prima donnas are SINGERS; and singers are reputed to have resonant cavities where their brains ought to be. Makes sense.

UK Members of Parliament are of particular interest to violinist.com because many of them have been found guilty of FIDDLING their expenses. Politicians in the USA are pure as the driven snow, I'm sure.

October 21, 2016 at 07:40 PM · Just wanted to say, I am really enjoying this thread- the serious and not so serious responses. Thank you!

October 22, 2016 at 12:37 AM · John Taverner, Anne Boleyn, John Dowland, and Le Chevalier de St George were on the border of politics, but not politicians. Ethel Smyth was a political activist. Melina Mercouri was, however, a full-blown politician (It wouldn't surprise me if Vanessa Mae were to try her hand at politics, but it hasn't happened yet - It might depend, I suppose, on what her Thai language skills are like).

I heard Sir George Young (A UK Conservative politician, Housing Minister at the time) win a phone-in quiz competition on Classic FM as "George In The Car" (I think he was banned from driving at the time, so his participation probably didn't threaten other road users - I myself WAS driving at the time), so he might have some musical ability

But the two definite musician-politicians we haven't mentioned yet are two Hebrew kings, David and his son, Solomon.

October 25, 2016 at 08:32 PM · How about Bono? There's a musician who fancies himself a politician.

October 25, 2016 at 09:50 PM · Shostakovich sort of had to be one in order to survive.

October 26, 2016 at 06:36 AM · If you connect politicians and musicians it reflects very badly on musicians, since politicians generally are the lowest form of life known to mankind. Liars, cheats, and a lot more.

So you can deduce from this that I have absolutely no respect for 99.9% of the political world, and here in the UK their reputation is rock bottom. They promise everything and give nothing, and are a waste of space. We could do a lot worse than hang the lot of them.

October 28, 2016 at 01:53 AM · Let's see whether Gretchen Carlson ventures into politics now that she's no longer getting harassed at Fox News. Remember ... she's the only classical violinist named Miss America. At the contest she played the Zig.

And if Trump and Clinton were violinists, we know what they'd be arguing about at the debate: Shoulder rests, rosin, and gear pegs.

October 28, 2016 at 05:41 PM · If Mao Tse-tung was a singer, all the little birdies would have been quiet and the `cultural revolution` might never had happened ;)

October 28, 2016 at 05:48 PM · They would be playing their fiddle while the world burns

October 29, 2016 at 01:21 PM · The Beethoven Violin Concerto is rigged.

And when is he going to release his 30,000 secret unpublished manuscripts.

And his deafness makes him unfit to be a composer.

And none of his compositions were written in America.

The IMU (International Musicians' Union) is launching an investigation of all this.

So is the ICU (International Composer's Union).

October 31, 2016 at 06:45 PM · I am surprised no one mentioned Adolf Hitler (did anyone? I didn't read every one of the posts) I heard he was a opera fanatic.

October 31, 2016 at 07:19 PM · No, he was just a fanatic. And wanted world domination at any cost. A bit like some politicians around today.

November 3, 2016 at 05:22 PM · Khachaturian was a bit of one, I believe.

November 4, 2016 at 12:52 PM · I did not know this before: Verdi was a politician indeed, but for a cause rather than for government, and withdrew from politics once the cause had triumphed.

November 4, 2016 at 02:33 PM · Well in the freelance world you're always campaigning for yourself but unlike career politicians you have to deliver on your promises or you won't get re-elected. I work with some great contractors these days but in the past I've had to deal with a few dictators and tyrants. -M

November 4, 2016 at 02:47 PM · Verdi was acronymous. "V.E.R.D.I., acronym of Vittorio Emanuele, Re D’Italia, Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1820–1878), the Italian unification movement, named after the composer Giuseppe Verdi (ardent supporter of the movement)."

R.O.K.O.S could be Rights Of Kings Over Serfs ?

November 7, 2016 at 10:50 AM · If I could be sure you were a serf ...

B.E.C.K. could be "By Each Choke, Kick!" (Gallows Humour)?

November 7, 2016 at 04:46 PM · What sort of politician am I ? B.E.C.K is "Break Every Critic's Kneecaps". "Criminal's" could be substituted for "Critic's". Same difference.

November 8, 2016 at 02:29 AM · First time anyone has criminalized a horse! (Clue: Think Beecham)

November 8, 2016 at 07:49 AM · OK, "Break Every CONDUCTOR'S Kneecaps" and Peter Charles might be pleased when he returns from walking his dog on the (Edward) Heath. Ah, the politics of the oppressed !

November 9, 2016 at 07:50 AM · To return to the subject, it would appear that the TRUMP-et might now be the most likely answer to the OP's question.

November 9, 2016 at 03:57 PM · Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a political theorist. Does that make him a politician?

November 9, 2016 at 04:35 PM · Trumpets! We'll make orchestras great again! Hahaha

By the way, to those playing in orchestras:

-What would be the percentage of Trump supporters vs Clinton supporters in your orchestra?

November 9, 2016 at 05:15 PM · I haven't carried out a poll (for what that's worth!) in my orchestras in Bristol, England, but I suspect the likely response from a few would be "who"? Most would be more savvy, some at least knowing that Clinton's grandfather came from Bristol and that Trump is of mixed Scottish/German stock - I think I've got that right. A former Mayor of Bristol, with similar powers to the Mayor of a US city, a supporter of the arts, and who is now a private citizen has hoisted a US flag half-mast outside his house, a vexillary comment he wouldn't have been able to do while in office.

But remember this, about 16 years ago Trump's win was predicted by the Simpsons:


November 9, 2016 at 05:19 PM ·

The Leftist are smashing their Violas today.

Freedom for banjoist everywhere !!!!

November 9, 2016 at 06:08 PM · "-What would be the percentage of Trump supporters vs Clinton supporters in your orchestra?"

Well, I can't give a definitive answer, but folk might like to be reminded that there's such a thing as a CLINTON SYSTEM CLARINET, devised and used by the English clarinettist George Clinton, (1850-1913) so Clinton supporters could well be present when the conductor walks onto the rostrum ....

November 12, 2016 at 02:05 AM · Just realized: BOTH are types of card (I pass shops named Clinton Cards sometimes).

November 16, 2016 at 09:33 PM · Sander Marcus, you are on SUCH a roll! Cracking up over these, especially:

- "Make Beethoven Great Again"

- "Tax the violinists who play in the top 1% of the E-String"

- "Make shifting from 1st to 3rd position illegal! (it constitutes discrimination against 2nd position)"

- "Remove the bridge and build a wall."

- "Prevent illegal string crossing"

November 16, 2016 at 10:03 PM · (Muted Laughter)

If the Cato family had generated a musician, his first name would have had to be Pizzi.

April 15, 2017 at 05:57 AM · See, for Hillary Clinton, we'd need a specific part for "mirror breaking" since she breaks her mirror every time she looks in it. For Trump, "make the TRUMP-ets great again, make them strong again, etc." Trump, however just needs a part where he keeps saying "China!" And then we're all telling him, "no no, you come in on beat two, damn it! Also, you're campaigning it in the wrong key, this is China in c# minor, you're doing it in f minor! Get it right!" Hillary: "no no no! You broke the mirror a measure early, get it on time you old hag!" Then that rehearsal ends with, "well, now we know why you both ran for president, you both have no hope in the musical world." Then give it right back to Trump (and Hillary) by saying his famous line, "you're fired."

April 15, 2017 at 05:59 AM · Flutes, definatly flutes

April 15, 2017 at 06:06 AM · Maybe I'll write a concerto for Trump and Hillary duet, and each movement features them soloing on highlights from each of the three debates. For example, in movement two, it would have in there somewhere,

HILLARY: I'm glad someone with Donald Trump's temperament is not president of the United States...

TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.

April 15, 2017 at 06:06 AM · Double post.

April 15, 2017 at 06:07 AM · Triple post.

April 15, 2017 at 06:07 AM · Quadruple post.

April 16, 2017 at 03:24 PM · No days I'm just hoping there's truth in Pablo Casals quote "perhaps it is music that will save the world"...

April 16, 2017 at 03:58 PM · They'd play the horn of course, we all know this is what they do best... I mean blow their horn :-)

April 18, 2017 at 10:23 PM · Just remembered, Taufa?ahau Tupou IV, King of Tonga was an organist.

April 19, 2017 at 06:08 PM · Trump is a musician. He plays accordion. Search up Trump Accordion to Life

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