A Night at the Symphony
The Cleveland Symphony was performing Beethoven's
Ninth. In the piece, there's a long passage - about
20 minutes - during which the bass violinists have
nothing to do. Rather than sit around that whole
time looking stupid, some bassists decided to sneak
offstage and go to the tavern next door for a quick
After slamming several beers in quick succession (as
bass violinists are prone to do), one of them looked
at his watch. "Hey! We need to get back!"
"No need to panic," said a fellow bassist. "I
thought we might need some extra time, so I tied the
last few pages of the conductor's score together
with string. It'll take him a few minutes to get it
A few moments later they staggered back to the
concert hall and took their places in the orchestra.
About this time, a member of the audience noticed
the conductor seemed a bit edgy and said as much to
"Well, of course," said her companion. "Don't you
see? It's the bottom of the Ninth, the score is
tied, and the bassists are loaded."