Musical Discord

Musical Discord
By Madeleine Begun Kane

“Your playing is way out of tune,”
The conductor informed the bassoon.
“All your high notes are sharp,
And I don’t mean to carp,
But you sound like a horny baboon”.

The bassoonist replied, “Sir, your ear
Gets progressively worse ev’ry year,
And your cues are all wrong,
So we just play along
And pretend your baton waving’s clear.”

(Orchestrated in response to these playsharp, and simile challenges.)

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17 Responses to “Musical Discord”

  1. Bassoon’s don’t go out of tune quite like a violin or other stringed instrument, but I guess it’s possible to sound like a horny baboon (though I can’t claim to have heard one). Do you play the bassoon?

  2. madkane says:

    Bonnie, I worked as an symphony orchestra oboist for many years and have a brother who played the bassoon. Trust me — a bassoon can play very out of tune. Ever hear one with a screwed up reed? :)

    In any event I was trying to depict in humorous, exaggerated fashion the conflicts between egomaniacal (and often incompetent) conductors and the musicians forced to play under them.

  3. I got the best reeds available when I played the bassoon, and I’m sure my experience in high school, college, and Chattanooga Youth Symphony doesn’t match your experience. I just don’t remember hearing one as out of tune as that. I should have said I really LIKE your “Musical Discord” and the blow (pun intended) you delivered to the conductor. I chose NOT to audition for the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, when invited (twice), because I had had the misfortune of playing under their conductor, who also conducted the Youth Symphony. He managed to make the experience less enjoyable than it could have been … and should have been. Keep up the good work, my friend!

  4. madkane says:

    Thanks, Bonnie. Be glad that you experienced that bad conductor before making a commitment to the orchestra. :) Cuz as you clearly know, playing under a bad or obnoxious conductor is hellish.

    By the way, I attempted to play my brother’s bassoon once, but was too small to play it. I’m only five foot and have small hands.

    By the way, you might also enjoy this wind instrument related limerick:
    Give Me An “A”.

  5. This is fun! Have you read about the robot conductor that performed with a major orchestra recently?

  6. Linda Jacobs says:

    I’ve never played an instrument but this would apply to smome teachers I’ve known! Cute! It made me chuckle.

  7. Jill says:

    I’m still laughing at the horny babboon!
    Very flowy and funny!
    Welcome to the Poetry train!

  8. White Rose says:

    What fun! It had me giggling!

  9. Cassandra says:

    Wonderful, fun poem!

  10. jan says:

    you are quite amazing!

  11. julia says:

    Your story flows so perfectly within its form. So natural. Love it!

  12. AnthonyNorth says:

    I don’t think you can play a bassoon without looking like a baboon.

  13. Christina says:

    I have definate heard some bassoons that sound like baboons… or was it the bassoonist acted like a baboon! Very nicely done. Beware conductors everywhere!


  14. Altonian says:

    I love the two limericks – very funny!
    You are all a bit hard on the poor old conductor. Someone has to coordinate everyone into a cohesive whole, with a common interpretation. Left each to his own devices, an uncontrolled orchestra could make Rachmaninov sound like Robert Graettinger. Incidentally, I like Graettinger (City of Glass – fantastic) but he intended to be discordant at times!

  15. madkane says:

    Thanks very much, Altonian! :)

    I agree that an orchestra needs to be controlled. I only wish more conductors did a good job of it.