Musical Terms Commonly Misunderstood by Country-Western Musicians, With Their Translated "Country" Definitions

12 Tone Scale: The thing the State Police weigh your tractor trailer truck with
A 440: The highway that runs around Nashville
Aeolian Mode: How you like Mama's cherry pie
Altos: Not to be confused with "Tom's toes," "Bubba's toes" or "Dori-toes"
Arpeggio: "Ain't he that storybook kid with the big nose that grows?"
Bach Chorale: The place behind the barn where you keep the horses
Bass: The things you run around in softball
Bassoon: Typical response when asked what you hope to catch.
Big Band: When the bar pays enough to bring two banjo players
Bossa Nova: The car your foreman drives
Cadenza: That ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when company comes
Cello: The proper way to answer the phone
Clarinet: Name for your second daughter if you've already used Betty Jo
Clef: What you try never to fall off of
Bass Clef: Where you wind up if you do fall off
Conductor: The man who punches your ticket to Birmingham
Cut Time: Parole
Cymbal: What they use on deer-crossing signs so you know what to sight-in your pistol with
Diminished Fifth: An empty bottle of Jack Daniels
First Inversion: Grandpa's battle group at Normandy
French Horn: Your wife says you smell like a cheap one when you come in at 4 a.m.
Major Scale: What you say after chasing wild game up a mountain: "Damn! That was a major scale!"
Melodic Minor: Loretta Lynn's singing dad
Minor Third: Your approximate age and grade at the completion of formal schooling
Order of Sharps: What a wimp gets at the bar
Passing Tone: Frequently heard near the baked beans at family barbecues
Perfect Fifth: A full bottle of Jack Daniels
Perfect Pitch: The smooth coating on a freshly paved road
Pianissimo: "Refill this beer bottle"
Portamento: A foreign country you've always wanted to see
Quarter Tone: What most standard pickups can haul
Relative Major: An uncle in the Marine Corps
Relative Minor: A girlfriend
Repeat: What you do until they just expel you
Ritard: There's one in every family
Sonata: What you get from a bad cold or hay fever
Staccato: How you did all the ceilings in your mobile home
Tempo: Good choice for a used car
Time Signature: What you need from your boss if you forget to clock in
Transpositions: Men who wear dresses
Treble: Women ain't nothin' but
Tuba: A compound word: "Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!"
Whole Note: What's due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year

Back to the Musical Moments or Vocabulary Lessons sections, or the Humor Index