Give Me An “A!” (Limerick)

Give Me An “A!”
By Madeleine Begun Kane

When symphony instruments tune,
They’re not matching the flute or bassoon;
It’s the first oboe’s “A”
That the strings must obey.
If they don’t, be prepared for High Noon.

On a more serious … uh … note, here’s some info that might make this limerick a bit more meaningful to some of you: Symphony orchestras tune to the first oboist, who generally gives his fellow musicians an A-440. Many string players prefer a slightly sharper pitch, an A-442 or A-444, believing that it gives their sound a more desirable brightness. This can lead to lots of bickering.

You can find more of my music related humor here.

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8 Responses to “Give Me An “A!” (Limerick)”

  1. John Salmon says:

    The really good orchestras just let the principal trumpet set the pitch. That’s the instrument the masses want to hear anyway. Chicks dig brass.

  2. madkane says:

    Yeah, but double reed players … uh … never mind.

  3. Michelle says:

    Learn something new every day . . . had no idea.

  4. Nelumbo says:

    Huh, I often think the oboe sounds a bit flat, but I didn’t know it was common for us pesky string players to think that…

  5. madkane says:

    LOL, Nelumbo. YOu’re in very sharp company.

  6. Shephard says:

    That’s sincerely interesting, but more so, very well-written! I truly adore good rhyme. I’ll have to share some of my rhymes with you some time.

    And on another “note”….
    Some of my favorite pieces for Oboe (which I love) are in The Mikado. :)

  7. madkane says:

    Thanks Shephard! I look forward to it!

    I agree about The Mikado. Many years ago I played in the Village Light Opera’s orchestra and had a great time playing Gilbert & Sullivan!

  8. sister AE says:

    You are right! I do like this one. When I hear a tuning pitch in my head, however, I hear a B-flat because I never played with an orchestra, only for wind bands. But we still set the pitch.