Viola jokes are jokes that are directed towards violas and viola players, thought to have originated in the 18th century. Violas at the time were mainly used for relatively easy parts and as accompaniment, rather than as solo instruments; violists were generally low-paid and of lower social standing.
A story from Italy in the early 1700s is thought to be the origin of many viola jokes:
The violinist Francesco Geminiani arrived in London in 1714, one of the many expatriate musicians who settled in England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries ... As a young man Geminiani was appointed head of the orchestra in Naples, where according to English music historian Charles Burney he was "so wild and unsteady a timist, that instead of regulating and conducting the band, he threw it into confusion", and was demoted to playing the viola.
Viola jokes take many different forms, some only understandable by musicians and those acquainted with musical terms, others requiring no specialist musical knowledge. Some jokes make fun of the viola itself while others make fun of violists, while some jokes are directed in the opposite direction: jokes about musicians who tell viola jokes.
Examples of viola jokes, past and modern include:
"How can you tell if a viola player is playing out of tune? The bow is moving."
"What's the difference between a viola player and a dog? A dog is able to stop scratching."
"What's the difference between a viola player and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four."
"What's the difference between a viola and a coffin? Coffins have dead people on the inside."
A few more:
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. - my fave
What's the difference between a violin and a viola?
The viola burns longer.
The viola holds more beer.
You can tune the violin.
We all know that a viola is better than a violin because it burns longer. But why does it burn longer?
It's usually still in the case
[Geoff Richardson who joined Spirogyra in 1972, but when the band broke up joined Caravan on viola.]
For Girls who Grow Plump in the Night....
in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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