Q: What is the definition of a Soviet String Quartet?
A: A Soviet Symphony Orchestra after a tour of the USA!
Q: What do you do with percussionists that lose one of their drumsticks?
A: Stick them up front of the group and tell them to wave their arms!
Q: How many conductors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Seven. [Indignant nose upturning] Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to understand.
Q: Why are conductors’ hearts popular for transplants?
A: They’ve had little use.
While at a concert being performed by a very bad orchestra, George Bernard Shaw was asked what he’d like them to play next. “Dominoes,” he replied.
Last summer, the local orchestra decided to play Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
However, it being quite hot, the players were working up quite a sweat, until a neighbor let them use the ventilators in her house.
However, the wind from these ventilators was causing the notes to blow all over the place, so they had to tie them down to the note holders.
The din from the ventilators was so bad that the bassists decided it didn’t matter if they downed a few drinks and got royally drunk.
Two of the bassists got so drunk that they pass out.
One of the violinists, in disgust, decided to go home but slipped and fell.
Thus, it was the bottom of the 9th, the bassists were loaded, the score was tied with two men out, and the fans were roaring wild when one of the players slid home.
From: Efficiency & Ticket, Ltd., Management Consultants
To: Chairman, The London Symphony Orchestra
Re: Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B minor.
After attending a rehearsal of this work we make the following observations and recommendations:
1. We note that the twelve first violins were playing identical notes, as were the second violins. Three violins in each section, suitably amplified, would seem to us to be adequate.
2. Much unnecessary labour is involved in the number of demisemiquavers in this work; we suggest that many of these could be rounded up to the nearest semiquaver thus saving practice time for the individual player and rehearsal time for the entire ensemble. The simplification would also permit more use of trainee and less-skilled players with only marginal loss of precision.
3. We could find no productivity value in string passages being repeated by the horns; all tutti repeats could also be eliminated without any reduction of efficiency.
4. In so labour-intensive an undertaking as a symphony, we regard the long oboe tacet passages to be extremely wasteful. What notes this instrument is called upon to play could, subject to a satisfactory demarcation conference with the Musician’s Union, be shared out equitably amongst the other instruments.
Conclusion: if the above recommendations are implemented the piece under condsideration could be played through in less than half an hour with concomitant savings in overtime, lighting and heating, wear and tear on the instruments and hall rental fees. Also, had the composer been aware of modern cost-effective procedures he might well have finished this work.
May I speak to the conductor
A musician calls the orchestra office, asks for the conductor, and is told that he is dead.
The musician calls back 25 times more and gets the same message from receptionist.
She asks why he keeps calling. He replies, “I just like to hear you say it.”