Musical Joke about Oboes

Piece of Folklore:

“How do you get two oboes to play in tune?… to kill one of them.”


I collected this piece of folklore from my informant in an interview while at the informant’s house. The informant, my brother, was told this joke by his high school band teacher. My informant went to high school in California. He said that he can’t remember if he or anyone else actually laughed at this joke, but they at least smiled. My informant also told me that one of the reasons the joke was funny (and why he remembers it) was because it wasn’t what was expected to come out of a Christian high school teacher’s mouth.


This joke would most likely be unique to music folk groups especially ones that specialize in classical music where oboes are more common. Oboes are notoriously hard instruments to play in tune especially for beginners, so this joke which may seem vulgar or extreme to people outside of a music folk group could probably get a laugh from people who understand, and who possibly have heard, what oboes sound like out of tune.


For another version of this joke see