Musical Terms Commonly Misunderstood by Country & Western Musicians

12 Tone Scale
The thing the State Police weigh your tractor trailer truck with
A 440
The highway that runs around Nashville
Aeolian Mode
How you like Mama’s cherry pie
Altos
Not to be confused with “Tom’s toes,” “Bubba’s toes” or “Dori-toes”
Arpeggio
“Ain’t he that storybook kid with the big nose that grows?”
Bach Chorale
The place behind the barn where you keep the horses
Bass
The things you run around in softball
Bassoon
Typical response when asked what you hope to catch, and when
Big Band
When the bar pays enough to bring two banjo players
Bossa Nova
The car your foreman drives
Cadenza
That ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when company comes
Cello
The proper way to answer the phone
Clarinet
Name for your second daughter if you’ve already used Betty Jo
Clef
What you try never to fall off of
Bass Clef
Where you wind up if you do fall off
Conductor
The man who punches your ticket to Birmingham
Cut Time
Parole
Cymbal
What they use on deer-crossing signs so you know what to sight-in your pistol with
Diminished Fifth
An empty bottle of Jack Daniels
First Inversion
Grandpa’s battle group at Normandy
French Horn
Your wife says you smell like a cheap one when you come in at 4 a.m.
Major Scale
What you say after chasing wild game up a mountain: “Damn! That was a major scale!”
Melodic Minor
Loretta Lynn’s singing dad
Minor Third
Your approximate age and grade at the completion of formal schooling
Order of Sharps
What a wimp gets at the bar
Passing Tone
Frequently heard near the baked beans at family barbecues
Perfect Fifth
A full bottle of Jack Daniels
Perfect Pitch
The smooth coating on a freshly paved road
Pianissimo
“Refill this beer bottle”
Portamento
A foreign country you’ve always wanted to see
Quarter Tone
What most standard pickups can haul
Relative Major
An uncle in the Marine Corps
Relative Minor
A girlfriend
Repeat
What you do until they just expel you
Ritard
There’s one in every family
Sonata
What you get from a bad cold or hay fever
Staccato
How you did all the ceilings in your mobile home
Tempo
Good choice for a used car
Time Signature
What you need from your boss if you forget to clock in
Transpositions
Men who wear dresses
Treble
Women ain’t nothin’ but
Tuba
A compound word: “Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!”
Whole Note
What’s due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year
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