No other instrument is subject to so many insults and jokes as the viola. And they are not only restricted to the instrument itself – burning, tuning, trampolining – but also against viola players themselves – stupidity, inability – and the repertoire. Many of them are very cruel, some are genuinely funny and we all know the classic and longest viola joke: Harold in Italy. Although we've rejected the cruelest, we’d like to apologise in advance to our wonderful French editor – and viola player – Tristan, who is doing a wonderful job curating this month.

However, we could find one useful thing to do with a viola:


1 How do you get a viola player to play a passage pianissimo tremolando? – Mark it "solo".


2 A viola player goes to a piano recital. After the performance he goes up to the pianist and says: "You know, I particularly liked that piece you played last, the one that started with a long trill." The pianist says: "Huh? I didn't play any pieces that started with trills." The viola player says: "You know...[he hums the opening bars of Für Elise.]


3 Why do you sometimes find viola players standing outside people's houses? – They can never find the right key and don't know when to come in.


4 What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline? – You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.


5 A viola player in an orchestra is crying and screaming at the oboe player sitting directly behind him. The conductor asks: "What are you so upset about?" – "The oboist reached over and turned one of the pegs on my viola and now it's all out of tune!" – "Don't you think you're overreacting?" The viola player replies: "I'm not overreacting! He won't tell me which one!"


6 A violinist notices at the end of each rehearsal break, one of the viola players would look at the inside flap of his jacket before he sits down to resume the rehearsal. This continues for several decades, and the violinist becomes quite curious about it. One day, during hot weather, the viola player takes off his jacket and goes off on break. The violinist waits until everyone is off the platform, looks around and sneaks over to the jacket. He pulls back the flap and sees a little note pinned on the inside: "Viola left hand, bow right."


7 How is lightning like a viola player's fingers? – Neither one strikes in the same place twice.


8 What's the definition of "perfect pitch?" – Throwing a viola into a dustbin without hitting the rim.


9 What's the difference between a violin and a viola? – The viola burns longer.


10 Why is viola called "Bratsche" in Germany? – Because that's the sound it makes when you sit down on it.


But remember that the reason viola jokes are short is so that violinists can understand them!