Musical Fictoids

One month ago, The Washington Post Style Invitational challenged us to create “fictoids — totally bogus trivia — about music and the music world.” Having worked as an oboist for many years, I couldn’t possibly resist such a contest. So I’m posting all my entries, one of which earned an Honorable Mention.

I’m curious as to which of mine is your favorite. And of course feel free to make up your own musical trivia in my comment section, and to guess which of my musical fictoids won that Honorable Mention. (I reveal my winning fictoid at the end of this post — upside down to make it harder to cheat. :)

Here are my entries:

  • Greedy J.S. Bach descendants tried to patent his Two and Three-Part Inventions.
  • Antonio Vivaldi once sued himself for plagiarism … and won.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” (from his Symphony No. 9) was originally entitled “Oy, Oy, Oy.”
  • The world premiere of Verdi’s “Aida” ended in tragedy when the lead soprano accidentally crushed an elephant to death.
  • Female harp players are so loathsome, that shrewish women are now referred to as harpies.
  • For several years during George W. Bush’s presidency, the Dallas Symphony’s concert programs id’ed its brass section as trumpets, trombones, tubas, and Texas shorthorns.
  • Composers George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach were all so impoverished, they died of starvation. Hence, the name “Baroque composers.”
  • Famed French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal never appeared on stage without a chilled glass of champagne. That’s why flautists are now known as flutists.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven didn’t actually go deaf; he just pretended to be deaf because his wife and mother-in-law were so annoying.
  • In a 1980 New York Philharmonic April Fools’ Day performance of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, flutist Julius Baker and harpist Ursula Holliger played each other’s instruments. The New York Times proclaimed theirs the best ever performance of the work.
  • The Eastman School of Music was known as the Polaroid School of Music, until Kodak’s George Eastman won it in poker game.

And my Honorable Mention-winning entry is:

˙ɥʇɐǝp oʇ ʇuɐɥdǝןǝ uɐ pǝɥsnɹɔ ʎןןɐʇuǝpıɔɔɐ ouɐɹdos pɐǝן ǝɥʇ uǝɥʍ ʎpǝƃɐɹʇ uı pǝpuǝ ”ɐpıɐ“ s’ıpɹǝʌ ɟo ǝɹǝıɯǝɹd pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ

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5 Responses to “Musical Fictoids”

  1. Susan Settje says:

    David Lee Roth was discovered while singing in the shower at a YMCA. A music producer was in the building picking up his kids from swimming lessons.

    John Williams is most famous for two notes, those heard at the penultimate moments in Jaws. He did not come up with those notes, in fact he stole them from his grandmother’s doorbell. As a shy young man he was always nervous when that doorbell rang and those two notes haunted him for years.

  2. Stan Kegel says:

    My favorite:

    Composers George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach were all so impoverished, they died of starvation. Hence, the name “Baroque composers.”

  3. madkane says:

    Thanks Stan and Susan!

  4. JulesPaige says:

    Oy, I have several that I liked, including your winner.
    My brain is fried from not only my dailies but by participating in additional April is Poetry Month prompts.

    I did think it was interesting that (for a prompt) I actually found a site of Lenard Nimoy’s poetry. Though the last entry was in 2012…and it seems he was a tad full of himself… I think I also read that he has perfect pitch. On the clip I watched over ten maybe longer years ago he even was able to tell that two piano keys had been depressed at the same time. So maybe he has the right to be a tad full of himself?

  5. madkane says:

    That’s interesting about Nimoy! Thanks!