Composer's effect  |  Why God Didn't Get Tenure |  Answers to Music History Tests Impossible Music Part 1  | Impossible Music Part 2
You Might be a Music Theory Geek if... | Quotes | Bassoon Humor and Tricks | Cartoons |

Composer's effect

There are several inspired takes on the "Mozart effect." The Mozart effect was a term coined for the raised intelligence or test taking ability of people after listening to music written by Mozart. Here are a few items gleaned from two web sites: (<> & <>):

Meyerbeer effect- Child says wildly popular things which no one can remember later.

Gesualdo effect- Child speaks cryptically and dresses in black.

Wagner effect- Child thinks he knows everything, manages to convince others who should know better.

Debussy effect- Child can't talk, but loves pictures.

Faure effect- Child's speech is too refined and elegant to be heard by coarse and insensitive persons.

Henry Cowell effect- child speaks in clusters of words.

Harry Partch effect- child makes up all his own words.

Ives effect: The child develops a remarkable ability to carry on several separate conversations at once.

Glass effect: The child tends to repeat himself over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Stravinsky effect :The child is prone to savage, guttural and profane outbursts that often lead to fighting and pandemonium in school.

 Brahms effect: The child is able to speak beautifully as long as her/his sentences contain a multiple of three words (3,6,9,12,etc).However,
sentences containing four or eight words are strangely uninspired.

 Cage effect: the child says nothing for four minutes and 33 seconds.

Why God Didn't Get Tenure

This is humor that will appeal particularly to university professors and those that understand the university tenure system.

  • He had only one major publication.
  • It was mostly in Hebrew and Greek.
  • Had no references.
  • It wasn't published in a referred journal.
  • Some even doubt he wrote it himself.
  • It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?
  • His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
  • The scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.
  • He never applied to the Ethics Board for permission to use human subjects.
  • When one experiment went awry he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.
  • When subjects didn't behave as predicted, he deleted them from the sample.
  • He rarely came to class, just told students to read the book.
  • Some say he had his son teach the class.
  • He expelled his first two students.
  • Although there were only ten requirements, most students failed his tests.
  • His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountaintop.
Answers to Music History Tests (Compliments of Vilem Sokol)
  • Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.
  • J. S. Bach died from 1750 to the present.
  • Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was rather large.
  • Henry Purcell is a well known composer few people have ever heard about.
  • My favorite composer is Opus.
  • A harp is a nude piano.
  • My very best liked piece is the Bronze lullaby.
You Might be a Music Theory Geek if...
  • your favorite pickup line is, "What's your favorite augmented sixth chord?"
  • you can look at a piece by Bach and say, "You know, I think he could have gotten a much better effect this way . . ."
  • you like to march around your room to the rhythms of Stravinsky's “Le Sacre du Printemps."
  • you love to quote Walter Piston.
  • you long for the good old days of movable G-clefs.
  • you like polytonal music because, hey, the more keys the merrier.
  • you dream in four parts.
  • you feel the need to end Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony with a picardy third.
  • you can improvise 16th century counterpoint with no trouble, but you
  • frequently forget how to tie your shoes.
  • you lament the decline of serialism.
  • you enjoy the twang of a tritone whenever you can.
  • you like to trick your friends and loved ones with deceptive cadences.
  • instead of counting sheep, you count sequences.
  • you only sing tunes that make good fugal subjects.
  • you find free counterpoint too liberal.
  • Moussorgsky's "Hopak" gives you nightmares.
  • you wonder what a "Danish Sixth" would sound like.
  • the Corelli Clash gives you goosebumps
  • you can hear an enharmonic modulation coming a mile away.
  • you have ever done a Schenkerian analysis on "Three Blind Mice."
  • you have ever tried to do a Schenkerian analysis on John Cage's 4'33."
  • you have hosted a "Gurrelieder" party.
  • you have ever pondered what an augmented seventh chord would sound like.
  • bass motion by ascending thirds or a sequential pattern with roots in ascending fifths immediately strikes you as "belabored."
  • you know what the ninth overtone of the harmonic series is off the top of your head.
  • you can name ten of Palestrina's contemporaries.
  • you can answer your phone with a tonal or a real answer.
  • you have ever heard a wrong note in a performance of a piece by Berio, Stockhausen, or Boulez.
  • you suspiciously check all the music you hear for dangling sevenths.
  • when you're feeling particularly prankish you transpose Mozart arias to locrian mode.
  • you keep a notebook of useful diminutions.
  • those "parasitic" dissonances make you queasy, especially when left unresolved.
  • you have composed variations on a theme by Anton Webern.
  • you know the difference between a Courante and a Corrente
  • you have trained your dog to jump through a flaming circle of fifths.
  • you have ever used the word "fortspinnung" in polite conversation.
  • you feel cheated by evaded cadences.
  • you have a poster of Allen Forte in your room.
  • you know who Allen Forte is.
  • every now and then you like to kick back and play something in hypophrygian mode.
  • you wonder why there aren't more types of seventh chords.
  • you wish you had twelve fingers.
  • you abbreviate your shopping list using figured bass.
  • you always make sure to invert your counterpoint, just in case.
  • you have ever told a joke that had this punch line: "Because it was POLYPHONIC!"
  • you consider all music written between 1750 and 1920 to be "rather elementary."
  • you memorize dates and times by what they would sound like in set theory.
  • you can not only identify any one of Bach's 371 Harmonized Chorales by ear.
  • but you also know on what page it appears in the Riemenschneider edition and how many suspensions it has in the first seven bars.
  • you got more than half the jokes in this list.
Quotes (selected from

"There are more bad musicians than there is bad music."
--Isaac Stern

After playing the violin for the cellist Gregor Piatgorsky, Albert Einstein asked, "Did I play well?" "You played relatively well," replied Piatgorsky.

"Harpists spend ninety percent of their lives tuning their harps and ten percent playing out of tune."
--Igor Stravinsky

"Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of a bag of nails, with here and there also a dropped hammer."
--John Ruskin

"Art is long and life is short; here is evidently the explanation of a Brahms symphony."
--Edward Lorne

"I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws."
--Charles Baudelaire

"If the reader were so rash as to purchase any of Bela Bartok's compositions, he would find that they each and all consist of unmeaning bunches of notes, apparently representing the composer promenading the keyboard in his boots. Some can be played better with the elbows, others with the flat of the hand. None require fingers to perform or ears to listen too."
--Frederick Corder

"In the first movement alone, I took note of six pregnancies and at least four miscarriages."
--Sir Thomas Beecham on Bruckner's Seventh Symphony

"What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."
--Sir Thomas Beecham on Beethoven's Seventh Symphony

Sir Thomas Beecham was once asked if he had played any Stockhausen. "No," he replied, "but I have trodden in some."

"Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on his backside."
--Ludwig van Beethoven

"Anton Bruckner wrote the same symphony nine times, trying to get it just right. He failed."
--Edward Abbey

"Schoenberg is too melodious for me, too sweet."
--Bertolt Brecht

"He'd be better off shoveling snow."
--Richard Strauss on Arnold Schoenberg.

When told that a soloist would need six fingers to perform his concerto, Arnold Schoenberg replied, "I can wait."

"Exit in case of Brahms."
--Philip Hale's proposed inscription over the doors of Boston Symphony Hall

"Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa-Lobos?"
--Igor Stravinsky

"His music used to be original. Now it's aboriginal."
--Sir Ernest Newman on Igor Stravinsky

"If he'd been making shell-cases during the war it might have been better for music."
--Maurice Ravel on Camille Saint-Saens

Someone commented to Rudolph Bing, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, that "George Szell is his own worst enemy." "Not while I'm alive, he isn't!" said Bing.

"We cannot expect you to be with us all the time, but perhaps you could be good enough to keep in touch now and again."
--Sir Thomas Beecham to a musician during a rehearsal

"Jack Benny played Mendelssohn last night. Mendelssohn lost."

The great German conductor Hans von Bülow detested two members of an orchestra, who were named Schultz and Schmidt. Upon being told the Schmidt had died, von Bülow immediately asked, "Und Schultz?"

"Her voice sounded like an eagle being goosed."
--Ralph Novak on Yoko Ono

"Parsifal - the kind of opera that starts at six o'clock and after it has been going three hours, you look at your watch and it says 6:20."
--David Randolph

"One can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time."

"I liked the opera very much. Everything but the music."
--Benjamin Britten on Stravinsky's The Rakes's Progress

"Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on."
--Sir Thomas Beecham on an unidentified soprano in Die Walküre

Links to Cartoons

Fugue in B-flat minor for solo bassoon (cartoon)

Bassoon Pictures, Cartoons and Odds & Ends The Double Reed, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring 1989 )

Growth of the Perfect Oboe Reed Martha L. Pineno The Double Reed, Vol. 6, No. 4