Date: Sat, 21 Jan 95 13:31:46 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Viola Jokes
[Here are a few jokes about violas. Connoisseurs of banjo jokes will recognize
many old friends here, as will devotees of chick singer jokes, accordion jokes,
bass jokes, and many flavors of PI (politically incorrect) humor... -psl]
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nick Scholtz)
Forwarded-by: David Packer <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: Caroline Sherman <csherman@husc>
This file is maintained by firstname.lastname@example.org, and was last modified Tue Dec 20
These jokes are a continually-growing collection, and unfortunately, I can
no longer remember which jokes I heard from whom. If you have ever told,
emailed, or otherwise communicated to me a music joke, thank you.
John A. Wenzel Department of Mathematics, Albion College, Albion, MI 49224
Voice: 517.629.0363, Fax: 517.629.0509, Electronic mail: JWenzel@albion.edu
How is lightning like a violist's fingers?
Neither one strikes in the same place twice.
How do you keep your violin from getting stolen?
Put it in a viola case.
What's the difference between a violin and a viola?
The viola burns longer.
How do you get a viola section to play spiccato?
Write a whole note with ``solo'' above it.
How do you get a violist to play a passage pianissimo tremolando?
Mark it ``solo.''
What's the difference between a viola and a coffin?
The coffin has the dead person on the inside.
What do you do with a dead violist?
Move him back a desk.
What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline?
You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.
What's the difference between a viola and an onion?
You might cry when you cut up an onion.
What's the definition of a minor second?
Two violists playing in unison.
What's the definiton of ``perfect pitch?''
Throwing a viola into a dumpster without hitting the rim.
Why do violists stand for long periods outside their own houses?
They can't find the key and they don't know when to come in.
What's the difference between a seamstress and a violist?
The seamstress tucks up the frills.
Why do so many people take an instant dislike to the viola?
It saves time.
How can you tell when a violist is playing out of tune?
The bow is moving.
Why is playing the viola like peeing in your pants?
They both give you a nice warm feeling without making any sound.
Why do violists leave their instruments on the dashboards of their cars?
So they can park in ``handicapped'' parking places.
Why don't violists play hide and seek?
Because no one will look for them.
Why shouldn't violists take up mountaineering?
Because if they get lost, it takes ages before they're missed.
What's the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a crushed viola
in the road?
Skid marks before the skunk.
How do you get a violin to sound like a viola?
Sit in the back and don't play.
If you throw a violist and a soprano off a cliff, which one would hit the
ground first? (two answers)
(1) The violist. The soprano would have to stop halfway down to ask directions.
(2) Who cares?
A conductor and a violist are standing in the middle of the road. which one
do you run over first, and why?
The conductor. Business before pleasure.
Why is a violist like a terrorist?
They both screw up Boeings.
What's the most popular recording of the William Walton viola concerto?
Music Minus One
A violist and a 'cellist were standing on a sinking ship. ``Help!'' cried
the 'cellist, ``I can't swim!''
``Don't worry,'' said the violist, ``just fake it.''
A violist in an orchestra was crying pathetically. The conductor asked,
``What are you so upset about?'' The violist replied ''The oboist turned one
of the pegs on my viola and now it's out of tune!'' ``That's too bad, but
don't you think you should retune it?'' The violist replied ``Yes, but he
won't tell me which one!''
A man went into a novelty shop and saw an item that caught his fancy almost
immediately. It was a stuffed rat. The man couldn't take his eyes off it,
and finally asked how much it cost. The answer was ``$79.95, but if you buy
it, you can't return it for any reason.'' The man thought this was a bit
odd, but he was really taken by the stuffed rat so he bought it.
As he headed down the street with the stuffed rat, several live rats
started following him. He thought this was really odd, but he kept walking.
Within a few blocks, he had a huge pack of rats behind him. When he got to
the river, he threw the stuffed rat into the river, and all the live rats
jumped into the river and drowned.
The man returned to the shop. As soon as he walked in, the owner said ``I
told you you couldn't return the stuffed rat!'' The man said ``I don't
want to return it! I was wondering if you had any stuffed violists.''
An American orchestra had just arrived in Europe for a two-week tour. One
hour before the first concert, the conductor became very ill and was unable
to conduct, and the orchestra suddenly had to find a substitute. The
orchestra manager asked everyone in the orchestra whether they could step
in and conduct, and the only person who was willing was the last chair
The manager was very nervous about this. ``We can't audition you,'' he said.
``No problem,'' replied the violist.
``There's no time to rehearse. You'll have to do the concert cold.''
``I know. It'll be all right.''
The violist conducted the concert and it was a smashing success. Since the
conductor remained ill for the duration of the tour, the violist conducted
all of the concerts, getting rave reviews and standing ovations at each
At the next rehearsal, the conductor had recovered, and the violist took
his place at the back of the viola section. As he sat down, his stand
partner asked him ``Where've you been for the last two weeks?''
A violist came home and found his house burned to the ground. When he asked
what happened, the police told him ``Well, apparently the conductor came to
your house, and ...''
The violist's eyes lit up and he interrupted excitedly, ``The conductor?
Came to my house?''
Once there was a violist playing in the Winnipeg Symphony. He wasn't that
wonderful a player, so he sat at the back of the section. One day he was
cleaning out his attic and discovered an old lamp. He gave it a rub and out
popped a genie.
``For letting me out of my lamp I'll grant you three wishes!'' he said.
The violist thought for a moment and replied, ``Make me a far better
musician than I am now.''
The genie told him that this would be done. He was to go to sleep, and in
the morning he would be a much better musician. The next day he woke up to
find himself the principal violist of the Symphony. Well, this was just
great, he thought! But he knew he could do better. He rubbed the lamp
again, and out popped the genie.
``You have two more wishes!'' he said.
``I want you to make me a better musician than I am even now!''
Once again, the genie told him to go to bed, and when he woke up it would
be so. When the violist awoke, he found he was now the principal violist of
the Berlin Philharmonic. Well, the violist thought this was pretty grand,
but knew he could do better yet. He rubbed on the lamp again, and once more
out came the genie.
``This is your last wish.'' the genie said.
``I want you to make me yet a better musician still!''
Yet again, he was told to go to sleep. The next morning, he woke up to find
himself back in Winnipeg, sitting in the last desk of the second violin
A violist was hiking in the mountains, and he came upon a shepherd who was
tending a large herd of sheep that were grazing in the alpine meadow. The
violist took a fancy to the sheep, and asked the shepherd: ``If I can guess
how many sheep you have, can I have one?''
The shepherd thought this was an odd request, but thought that there was
little chance that the man would guess the exact number of sheep, so he
The violist guessed ``You have 287 sheep,'' to the shepherd's astonishment,
since this was exactly how many sheep he had.
The violist got all excited and asked ``Can I pick out my sheep now?'' and
the shepherd grudgingly gave his permission. The violist selected his
sheep, bent over, and swung the sheep over his shoulders, to carry home
The shepherd then got an idea and asked ``If I guess what your occupation
is, can I have my sheep back?'' The violist was a bit surprised by this,
but figured that it was unlikely that the shepherd would be able to guess
his occupation, and went along with the deal. The shepherd then guessed
``You're a violist, aren't you?''
The violist was very surprised and asked, ``How did you know?''
The shepherd responded, ``Put the dog down and we'll talk about it.''
A man (call him Horace) went on a safari in darkest Africa with a bunch of
other people and some native guides. They traveled on foot, going deep into
the jungle where they could hear the screeching of birds and howling of
wild cats and other fierce wild animals.
After a few days of travel, Horace came to notice that there was a constant
drumming noise in the background. He asked the leader of the guides what
the drumming was. He got no answer, just a stony silence. The drumming
continued all day and all night for the next several days. In fact, as they
traveled deeper into the jungle the drumming got even louder. Horace tried
again to find out what the drumming meant by asking the other native
guides, but he still got no answer.
Finally one morning, after days of marching to this drumming (which by now
was sounding quite ominous), the drums suddenly stopped. The native guides
screamed and ran into the jungle to hide in the undergrowth. The leader
remained behind with his charges, but he was trembling with fear. Horace
asked ``What is wrong? Why have the drums stopped?''
The native guide replied ``Very bad.''
``What?'' asked Horace, who was expecting the worst.
The guide answered ``When drum stops, very bad--next comes viola solo!''
[Quite a stretch, eh? -psl]
Entry Exam For The BBC Symapthy Orchestra--Viola Players
The pass mark is 10% but be careful--over 45% and you are overqualified.
1. Who wrote the following:
a) Beethoven's Symphony No. 6
b) Faure's Requiem
c) Wagner's Ring Cycle
2. Tschaikovsky wrote 6 symphonies including Symphony no. 4.
Name the other five.
3. Explain ``counterpoint'' or write your name on the reverse of the paper.
4. Which of the following would you tuck under you chin?
a) a timpani
b) an organ
c) a 'cello
d) a viola
5. Can you explain ``sonata form''? (Answer yes or no.)
6. Which of the following literary works was made the subject of a Verdi opera?
a) First among Equals -- Jeffrey Archer
b) Macbeth -- William Shakespeare
c) Noddy and Big Ears -- Enid Blyton
7. Domenico Scarlatti wrote 555 harpsichord sonatas for which instrument?
8. Arrange the following movements in order of speed, starting with the
c) Very Quickly
d) At a Moderate Pace
9. Where would you normally expect to find the conductor during a performance?
10. Which of the following wrote incidental music to A Midsummer Night's
a) Des O'Connor
b) Mickey Mouse
c) Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
d) Terry Wogan
11. Which of the following is the odd one out?
a) Sir Colin Davis
b) Andrew Davis
c) Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
d) Desmond Lynham
12. Arrange the following words into the name of a well known Puccini opera.
13. Within five minutes, how long is Chopin's Minute Waltz ?
14. From which of the following countries did Richard Strauss come?
b) Sri Lanka
15. For what town were Haydn's ``Paris'' Symphonies written?
16. Which is the odd one out?
a) Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet -- Tchaikovsky
b) Romeo and Juliet -- Berlioz
c) Romeo and Juliet Ballet -- Prokofiev
d) Ten Green Bottles -- anon.
17. From which song do the following lines come?
``God save our gracious Queen, Long live our noble Queen.''
18. Spell the following musical terms.
19. Tosca is a character found in which Puccini opera?
20. Arrange the following letters to form the abbreviation for a well known
British broadcasting corporation.
C, B, B.
If you don't see your favorite viola joke here, check the list of jokes
about other instruments. If you don't see your joke there either, please
email it to email@example.com. Unless I already have a similar joke on the page,
I'll add it. (All jokes appear in the form in which I first heard them.)
© 1995 Peter Langston