Music Humor

All the musicians out there will appreciate this joke that was sent our way.

In order to keep you abreast of the ever-developing world of musical terminology, we provide herewith the latest additions to the esteemed Harvard Dictionary of Music:

ALLREGRETTO When you’re 16 measures into the piece and realize you took too fast a tempo

ANGUS DEI To play with a divinely beefy tone

A PATELLA Accompanied by knee-slapping

APPOLOGGIATURA A composition that you regret playing

APPROXIMATURA A series of notes not intended by the composer, yet played with an “I meant to do that” attitude

APPROXIMENTO A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch

CACOPHANY [aka CACOUGHONY] A composition incorporating many people with chest colds

CORAL SYMPHONY A large, multi-movement work from Beethoven’s Caribbean Period

DILL PICCOLINI An exceedingly small wind instrument that plays only sour notes

FERMANTRA A note held over and over and over and over and . . .

FERMOOTA A note of dubious value held for indefinite length

FIDDLER CRABS Grumpy string players

FLUTE FLIES Those tiny mosquitoes that bother musicians on outdoor gigs

FRUGALHORN A sensible and inexpensive brass instrument

GAUL BLATTER A French horn player

GREGORIAN CHAMP The title bestowed upon the monk who can hold a note the longest

GROUND HOG Someone who takes control of the repeated bass line and won’t let anyone else play it


SCHMALZANDO A sudden burst of music from the Guy Lombardo band

THE RIGHT OF STRINGS Manifesto of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Violists

SPRITZICATO An indication to string instruments to produce a bright and bubbly sound

TEMPO TANTRUM What an elementary school orchestra is having when it’s not following the conductor

TROUBLE CLEF Any clef one can’t read: e.g., alto clef for pianists

VESUVIOSO An indication to build up to a fiery conclusion

VIBRATTO Child prodigy son of the concertmaster