You Have To Be Measured To Get It

| GA, USA | Learning | July 16, 2017

(A tradition of my school’s marching band is to tell jokes before each football game. Sections often poke fun at each other, playing off of stereotypes of each instrument. Please note that a mellophone is essentially a marching French horn, and a euphonium is a low brass instrument. I play euphonium.)

Mellophone Player: “What do you call a euphonist not in a military band? Unemployed.”

(Most of the band laughs.)

Euphonium Section Leader: *to us* “Get me a horn joke. Now.”

(One of our section’s sophomores pulls out his phone and looks up a joke for our section leader as another band member tells their own joke. When he finds one, he hands his phone to our section leader.)

Euphonium Section Leader: “What’s the difference between the director and a horn player? Two measures.”

Entire Band: “OHHHHH!”

Mellophone Section Leader: *sincere* “Yeah, that’s fair! That’s fair!”

(This sparked a joke war between the two sections that lasted the entire marching season.)

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  • Powers

    First one’s pretty fair too.

  • Kitty

    These jokes don’t make sense unless you play these instruments, I guess.

    • Cerys Robinson

      I’m assuming it’s a reference to horn players not being able to keep time, in which case it’s pretty straightforward. If I’m wrong in my assumption, then yeah – a bit of an inside joke.

      • Kamikaze Blitz

        The horn players keep their own pace; because they are mellow.

      • Kalu-chan

        Ah, so “measures” also apply to e.g. time? Then it makes sense. No clue about music and English isn’t my native language ^^”

        • I am Jenn

          A measure is one of the smallest divisions of a piece of music. In marches, it’s usually 4 beats. So the joke is that the horn players are usually about 8 beats off from the director.

          • Kalu-chan

            Thanks πŸ™‚

    • In other words, a strong knowledge of marching bands is instrumental to one’s enjoyment of this story?

      • Incognitoburrito

        Not quite. Just a general understanding of written music. My marching band knowledge is limited to “band + marching”, but then again I also play cello and may be underestimating the amount of necessary music knowledge.

        • Tim Van Acolyen

          I think he was just making a pun… “Instumental”

      • Hedronal

        I must upvote this, and at the same time: Boooo

  • Matt Westwood

    Last week I was discussing the application we’ve been designing at work. “I say, Tony,” I said, “you know the javascript in this module is throwing an error?”

    “Oh okay,” he replied, “I’ll look into it.

    The next day he came back to me and said, “This looks like it’s in Pete’s area. I’ve passed it over to him, because he knows how that bit works better than I do.”

    And the next day, Pete came back to me and told me, “I’ve cured that javascript error. It couldn’t find the [redacted] function, because the wrong version of the [redacted] file was being invoked. Should be okay now.”

    And indeed, when I checked out the latest version of the code, it all worked without throwing that pesky error message.

    Gosh, we know how to have fun!

    • Don Burke

      …needless to say, all the customers in line applauded…

      • Matt Westwood

        … and Pete married me and Tony.

    • Cerys Robinson

      Open curly bracket or GTFO.

      • Matt Westwood



  • faifai

    Wouldn’t euphonium & mellophone both be in the same family? Seems to me like you guys should team up against the drumline.

    • Souless night

      I guess it’s just a euphonism

    • Gnomer Denois

      Drum line don’t care because we look cool.

      This did bring back memories from when I was a freshman though, during summer band practice for our fall marching season which was going to be “A Russian Portrait”. The director stopped everyone “Drums, you’re rushing!” and the section leader called back “I thought this was a Russian show!”.

      • I am Jenn

        “Six months ago, I couldn’t spell drummer. Now I are one.” Stupid saying on a button seen at a field show competition 20 years ago, still stuck in my head to this day….

      • Souless night

        Look cool, until a base drum falls and then they’re a turtle on its back.

        • Gnomer Denois

          I never fell with my bass drum. But marching sideways carrying a giant weight strapped over your torso is a really good thigh work out.

    • Novelista

      Kingdom: instruments
      Phylum: brass
      Class is where they would differentiate, as euphonium is considered low brass and horn is considered standard.

      (If someone can break instruments further into order, family, genus and species, you get five billion points from me–that’s the best I can do, though. LOL)

      • STay

        I can get a little farther by revising the start.

        Kingdom- instrument
        Phylum- wind
        Order- brass
        Family- specific
        Some instruments I could go farther by making more broad groups but not off the top of my head.

        Percussion (phylum) would break down into pitched/not (order) and then the species.

        Stringed (phylum) is a bit harder – maybe go by playing position?

        • What I get for commenting before reading further down.

      • Surely phylum would be wind, class would be brass, and order would be low vs. standard.

        • Novelista

          Alas, my head wasn’t on straight.

  • Holly

    Oh, god. And I thought I was the most boring person on earth. I am not, apparently.

    • AsaeAmpan

      You are, you most certantly are, mostly because you are incapable of understanding boring and entertaining are 100% dependent on the person you ask. IMO this story is interesting (was in orchestra) and your comment is so damn dull I had to entertain myself by typing this up after seeing it.

    • Trihan

      Even if this were the most boring story ever written, you’re now the one posting a comment on it.

      • Hedronal

        I gotta say this: BURN πŸ˜›

  • Kamikaze Blitz

    Em ah hern pleyer, Ah cahn’t keep time. Durrrrr

  • Hedronal

    From my memory:
    1. How can you tell if a drummer is knocking on your door?
    Does the knock keep speeding up and getting louder?
    2. How can you tell if a drummer is knocking on your door?
    Did you order a pizza?
    3. What’s the difference between a saxophone and a lawn mower?

    • Alex Horton

      How can you tell that the stage is level?
      The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth.
      How do you get two flutes to play in tune?
      Shoot one of them.
      What’s the difference between a trombonist and a large pizza?
      A large pizza can feed a family of four.

      I miss being in band.

    • adamsbja

      I was in orchestra not marching band but…
      What’s the hardest part of playing a viola?
      The bit at the end where they add a second note.

      • What’s the difference between a violin and a viola?

        None whatsoever, the violin just looks smaller because violinists have bigger heads

      • ViolaNut


    • MouseyBrown

      What did the drummer get on his IQ test?
      Why do people play trombone?
      Because they can’t move their fingers and read music at the same time.
      How do you keep a violin from getting stolen?
      Put it in a viola case.
      How do you get a trumpet to sound like a French horn?
      Put your hand in the bell and play a lot of wrong notes.
      What’s the difference between a clarinet and a mouse?
      You can’t hear a mouse squeak over the whole band.
      What’s a flaming oboe good for?
      Lighting a bassoon on fire.

      • Darth Pseudonym

        HA! I like that last one.

      • Sionyx

        And mice don’t blush NEARLY as much when they squeak in the middle of a concert. – A Clarinetist

        • MouseyBrown

          Yyyep… That was always horrifying, even just during rehearsals.

          • Morgan

            The terror of squeaking in concert is something only clarinetists understand.

          • MouseyBrown

            Oh, I dunno. Bassoonists can honk pretty loudly.

          • Morgan

            We only recently got a Basson player in our band and he’s pretty good so I don’t know if ill ever hear him squeak. πŸ™‚

      • cursormortis

        How do you get a French horn to sound like a trombone?
        Remove your hand from the bell and lose all sense of class

        What’s the difference between a French horn and a ’57 Chevy?
        You can tune the Chevy

        What’s good range for a piccolo?
        20 yards. 25 with a backwind.

        What’s perfect pitch for a flute?
        When you toss it in the toilet without hitting the rim.

        How many 2nd trumpets does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
        None, they can’t reach that high.

        • MouseyBrown

          I snorted at the last one.

    • Jim Mason

      Hey, as a saxophone player… … … That’s fair.

      • Hedronal

        As a trombone player… the ones about those are fairer than I’d like to admit, and I’m definitely laughing at them.

    • Ian Rennie

      why are there so many drummer jokes?
      Bass players have to laugh at SOMEONE…

    • How do you get a drummer off your porch? Pay him for the pizza.

      What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? Homeless.

    • Oldmanmike

      What do you do with a musician who can’t read music? Give him 2 sticks and make him a drummer.

      What to you do with a drummer who can’t keep time? Take one of his sticks and make him a conductor.

      How many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? 10, 1 to change it and 9 to say how they could have done it better.

      How many vocalists does it take to change a light bulb? 1, and they just hold the bulb up while the whole world revolves around them.

      • Hedronal

        That last one is seriously nice, so clever.

    • divgradcurl

      What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?
      A drummer.

  • Novelista

    WOOHOOHOO! (That’s the exclamation that general pops out when characters are having a burn fest on television.)

    I played French horn in sixth grade and euphonium 7-12. While I vaguely get the horn joke, I still think this was a very good story.

  • Rob Tonka
  • Ian Rennie

    “Dear diary, today people told not very good and very context dependent jokes”

    • Dsru Bin

      Not just context-dependent, instrument-independent:

      β€œWhat’s the difference between the director and a violin player? Two measures.”

      β€œWhat’s the difference between the director and a xylophone player? Two measures.”

  • jUStMe


  • arglebargle

    How do you get a french horn to sound like a trombone? Take your hand out and play out of tune.
    How do you get a trombone to sound like a french horn? Put your hand in the bell and play wrong notes.
    What’s the difference between a bull and an orchestra? On a bull, the horns are in front and the a****** is in the back.
    What’s the difference between alto clef and ancient Greek? Some conductors can read ancient Greek.
    What’s a string quartet? A good violinist, a bad violinist, a failed violinist and someone who hates violinists.
    What’s the difference between bagpipes and an onion? Nobody cries when you cut up a bagpipe.
    How do you get a guitarist to play quieter? Put music in front of him.
    How do you get a guitarist to stop playing entirely? Put notes on the music.

    • Hedronal

      Oh dear LORD those last three! Also the third one.

  • Ron Tipton


    • Dsru Bin

      The joke was that the mellophone player was two measures off of the directory (that is to say, out of sync with the rest of the orchestra).

  • Misoaaki

    Ayy, another euph player!