Yesterday marked the first day that I was able to play anything on my viola for a period of time measurable in minutes rather than seconds. It was both a relief and a stark reminder of how far I have to go. There will be questions of how my instrument is set up to deal with, both in terms of the chin rest and the shoulder pad. I may have to go higher with the chin rest, and lower with the shoulder pad, to relieve pressure on the clavicle, but I may adjust – the left clavicle is a bit higher than it used to be, and that will take some adjusting to. Overall, it is good progress, which I will be steadily building on. I remarked to my wife after I was done that it felt like playing an entire Mahler symphony, not a simple three-octave scale! I am truly missing being at work with all of my colleagues, and also want to get out on my bike again before the weather really turns to the rainy season. These are two powerful motivators, as is my diminishing sick leave balance!
I’m a big fan of viola jokes. I don’t find them in the least bit offensive. Why? They’re mostly made up by violists, for one. They’re also based in a rather checkered early history of the instrument and its proponents. They have a basic sense of truth to them, and they’re also not at all mean-spirited. What I do find offensive are people who are very offended in a ‘holier-than-thou’ way by viola jokes. Please grow a sense of humor! Or not, you can do as you like.
Anyway, I digress. We just got done with two performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, and whichever wag was on the front stand of the orchestra that used the rental parts before we got them had a healthy sense of violist humor:
It’s a visual joke akin to the famous viola joke when the violist asks the pianist how she learned to trill so quickly. The pianist replies that she didn’t understand what the violist is talking about. The violist sings the opening to Für Elise. *rim shot*
Viola shaming. When will the madness end? #endviolajokes