Tag Archives: oboe

Orchestra Joke: Oboes

Q: How do you get two oboes to play in tune?

A: Shoot one.

My informant told me that this joke is so widespread that she’s heard it multiple times, and she thinks she first learned it in elementary school in a children’s orchestra she was in. Oboes are notoriously difficult to play in tune, so the implication in this joke is that it is impossible for two oboes to play in the same key. As an oboe performance major, my informant says that this stereotype has some truth to it–it can take a few tries to play notes correctly.

This joke is an example of blason populaire. It would need to be explained to someone who isn’t part of an orchestra, since the joke relies on the stereotype that oboes never play in tune.