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Topic: Humorous Music  (Read 2056 times)

Offline Antnee

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Humorous Music
on: June 12, 2004, 05:06:42 PM
We've talked about sad, happy, tear jerking and evil sounding pieces but sometimes we need a break from that. What are some 'humurous' pieces that have been written for the piano? I know Haydn was humorous in his piano sonatas. What are some examples? I know Haydn couldn't be the only one so who else and what pieces??

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #1 on: June 12, 2004, 06:35:41 PM
Quote
We've talked about sad, happy, tear jerking and evil sounding pieces but sometimes we need a break from that. What are some 'humurous' pieces that have been written for the piano? I know Haydn was humorous in his piano sonatas. What are some examples? I know Haydn couldn't be the only one so who else and what pieces??

-Tony-


Most of Alkan's music sends me into the giggles when I hear it.

Actually lots of composers have their humerous moments - Beethoven Op 14#2 last movement, Op10#2 last movement. Some of Chopin's mazurkas.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline bernhard

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #2 on: June 13, 2004, 02:17:22 AM
Humour is always the result of the unexpected. Take for instance the guy who sleeps on a banana skin, or the cream pie thrown on Bill Gates face. It is funny because it is unexpected. It is also crude. Or consider the quote by Reger at the bottom of Hmoll posts. It relies on the sudden realisation of what the smallest room in the house actually is, and what Reger is actually going to do with the review. Now imagine that someone from a rural area in India (where they do not use toilet paper) reads this quote. They will not find anything funny in it. They do not have the cultural context to get the joke.

Humour in music is actually very sophisticated since it demands from the listener quite a lot of contextual knowledge. Haydn usually delights us in his humour only if we have fixed expectations about chord progressions (say), and can recognise the points where he goes in a tangent and flies away from convention. If the listener is unaware of what was “expected” in musical terms, then most likely he will miss the punch lines completely.

The really funny thing is to listen to some critics wax lyrical about musical qualities of certain pieces that are actually jokes. This would be the equivalent of praising the literary qualities of the text of a joke, without actually getting the joke at all.

Almost all composers have made musical jokes, from the very subtle ones that bring a smile to the lips to the equivalents of cream pies in the face. Some composers actually dedicated themselves almost exclusively to joke music. Erik Satie and John Cage come immediately to mind. Some other illustrious ones are: J.S. Bach (explicit jokes as in the “Coffee Cantata”, but also secret jokes encrypted in many of his pieces); Haydn most obviously, Mozart -. P.Q.D. Bach (“The Short tempered Clavier”), Debussy (“Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum”), Schumann (much encrypted humour); Saint Saens (portraying pianists as a kind of animal in his “Carnival of the animals). Milhaud (which started “wrong note” composing as a joke, and was taken seriously so that a whole lot of Solemn music was composed with the same principle).

The problem here is the same as with jokes: if you have to explain it, the humour is completely gone. So unless you are very familiar with, for instance Clementi’s sonatina op. 36 no. 1, you will not “get” how much Satie is making fun of it with his “Sonatina Bureaucratique”.

I also guess that humour in music will be ultimately related with how much of a prankster the composer is. There are a lot of composers who take themselves and their craft so seriously that no humour comes from them.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline rubleski

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #3 on: June 13, 2004, 03:07:49 AM
I think a lot of Debussy's music is humorous.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #4 on: June 13, 2004, 04:04:50 AM
I think Alkan's pieces are usually funny.  Here are some.

Saltarelle, Op. 23
Comme le Vent, Op. 39-1
Scherzo Diabolico, Op. 39-3
Allegro barbaro etude, Op. 35-5
Le Festin d'Esope, Op. 39-12

And how can I forget Mozart?  All of his piano works are jokes.
;D  I made my own joke.  Only funny to those who get it.

Offline donjuan

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #5 on: June 13, 2004, 04:26:06 AM
Debussey- Dr Gradus Ad Parnassum
Liszt- Grand Galop Chromatique
Various Beethoven Sonatas

Shagdac

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #6 on: June 13, 2004, 11:14:52 AM
How about alot of Gottchalk's pieces:

La jota aragonesa, Caprice espagnol, Op.14
Tremolo, Grande etude de concert
Grand Fantasie

....I find almost all of his humorous, very amusing.

S ;D

Offline DarkWind

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #7 on: June 13, 2004, 05:56:19 PM
Anything by Satie, of course. Looks at the titles! Dried up embryos, Flabby Preludes for a Dog, the list goes on! I especially love the Sonatine Bureacratique, very funny.

Offline joell12068

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #8 on: June 13, 2004, 09:25:48 PM
Speaking of Gottschalk, I'd like to add "La Gallina" (the Hen) and Rayons d'azur (polka) to the list.

Offline Steinway

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #9 on: June 14, 2004, 04:47:07 PM
Scott Joplin - The Entertainer

Offline benji

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #10 on: June 14, 2004, 07:36:58 PM
I laugh when I hear the energetic melody in Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. Not sure why...

Offline donjuan

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #11 on: June 14, 2004, 11:02:05 PM
because you heard it on bugs bunny?...

Offline benji

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #12 on: June 14, 2004, 11:48:36 PM
It was on Bugs Bunny?

Offline joell12068

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #13 on: June 14, 2004, 11:57:43 PM
It was also on Tom and Jerry !

Offline benji

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #14 on: June 15, 2004, 12:10:21 AM
Hmm.. Maybe I'm subconsciously remembering those cartoons...

Offline rhapsody

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #15 on: June 16, 2004, 01:18:55 PM
I'd say debussy golliwog cake walk and little negro. and schubert's moment musicaux no3 are very amusing.

It always amazed me on how many classical music that are used in various films, from majestic Orff Carmina Burana, to nerve biting beet's symphony5
, and liszt hungarian2 is one of them... they usually use it for chasing theme, cat and dog, cat and mouse. I actually saw a tom and jerry cartoon where tom performed the piece, but eventually being distracted by jerry and jerry receive the final applause. It was very funny ;D
Liszt, he looked like god and play like one

Offline Tash

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #16 on: June 16, 2004, 02:15:21 PM
yeah golliwog's cakewalk is pretty humerous. also i find poulence's piano music pretty humerous, like his waltz (i love that piece). oh and stravinsky's 'a soldier's tale'
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline Mello

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Re: Humorous Music
Reply #17 on: June 21, 2004, 05:15:06 AM
I've always found Chopin's Etude #5 opus 25 a bit on the funny side.

Not to mention most of ragtime.
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