So, I've written a few substantive posts recently about Bach, Stravinsky, and Mendelssohn - but it's not all serious business here at MMmusing, not in a world where violists are still at large. I've always had a weakness for viola jokes, so when I saw a video link on Facebook about synchronizing metronomes, I reflexively commented about the need for some kind of violist synchronization system. Then, when I was driving home from work last night, the following started to take shape in my imagination, including a basic plan for how to create it as quickly as possible.
It's not as well-executed as I'd like, but it's a silly enough exercise that I promised myself not to get too carried away with it. What actually interested me the most was the task of creating a bad viola ensemble that slowly morphed into a decent-sounding group. That's more of a challenge than you might think (not just for viola-based reasons, either), and the fact that my computer was born in 2004 isn't helping matters (renders video really slowly). So, I'm not totally content with the audio portion (and there are a few video glitches as well), but it's just a joke after all. For the record, I've played around with synthesizing bad violin playing here and I played around with morphing chaos into sonic order here. Oh, and I wrote about a fantastically subtle little viola joke, hidden away in an opera libretto, here.
I've thrown out tons of viola jokes on Twitter over the years (just load this really large page and search "viola"), and sometimes people seem taken aback at their meanness, but I don't really have anything against the instrument or the poor souls who try to make something of it. And I really wouldn't want to live in a world without Brandenburg #6 or Sinfonia concertante or those wonderfully scrubby chords (4:40) in the Brahms C Minor Piano Quartet or the opening of the Agnus Dei in Faure's Requiem. So, I'm grateful for all the gifts the viola bestows on us - from the sublime to the ridiculous.