Not sure whether this qualifies for the “Oy” tag, since I’ve seen it in person. A lot.

Cidu Bill on Apr 22nd 2017


Filed in Bill Bickel, Mustard and Boloney, comic strips, comics, humor, oy | 30 responses so far

30 Responses to “Not sure whether this qualifies for the “Oy” tag, since I’ve seen it in person. A lot.”

  1. Jeff Lichtman Apr 22nd 2017 at 12:08 pm 1

    The instrument seems to be a cross between a cello and a viola da gamba. It has too many strings to be a cello, but a viola da gamba has frets and c-holes (rather than f-holes).

  2. Mitch4 Apr 22nd 2017 at 03:01 pm 2

    I haven’t seen them on street performer signs, but you’re right that mottos like “Go for Baroque” are not uncommon in ticketing and fundraising contexts.

  3. James Pollock Apr 22nd 2017 at 03:23 pm 3

    “a viola da gamba has frets and c-holes (rather than f-holes).”

    That sounds dirty.

  4. Minor Annoyance Apr 22nd 2017 at 04:03 pm 4

    “Hey, bartender. Is this surface mahogany?”
    “No. Baroque.”

    There IS a new baroque joke … almost.

  5. Mr. Grumpy Apr 22nd 2017 at 07:48 pm 5

    @Minor Annoyance deserves a med

  6. Mr. Grumpy Apr 22nd 2017 at 07:49 pm 6

    I meant medal, but maybe med works too.

  7. Mark in Boston Apr 22nd 2017 at 09:20 pm 7

    At least she’s holding the bow more or less correctly for authentic viola da gamba technique.

    And those are s-holes, not f-holes. F-holes have the little crossbar thing that makes the difference between an old-fashioned long s and an f. Violins and cellos always seem to have that little thing on the f-holes, but I’ve seen gambas with c-holes, f-holes and s-holes.

  8. ja Apr 23rd 2017 at 12:06 am 8

    @Mark in Boston
    Only if you consider playing left- handed to be correct

  9. Kilby Apr 23rd 2017 at 01:12 am 9

    I know that a cello has four strings, but I’m not sure what instrument is supposed to have six and a half strings.

  10. Soup Dragon Apr 23rd 2017 at 03:48 am 10

    I don’t get the “baroque” gags. Is it a pun on “broke” or something like that? Does that even work?

    But if so, what is MA #4’s joke?

  11. Mitch4 Apr 23rd 2017 at 08:00 am 11

    Soup Dragon #10, I can answer only one of your two questions.

    Yes, all the ‘Baroque’ gags and comments (perhaps excepting M.A.#4) have been based on the sound-resemblance to ‘broke’.

    No, I can’t explain #4. In fact I’m experiencing some deja by, seemingly based off some other recent occasion when I did not understand some joke using ‘mahogany’.

  12. James Pollock Apr 23rd 2017 at 08:43 am 12

    Allow me to explain the joke in #4 by paraphrasing.

    The customer asks if the bar counter is made of mahogany.

    The bartender replies that it is made of oak.

  13. ja Apr 23rd 2017 at 05:36 pm 13

    @Kilby, “I’m not sure what instrument is supposed to have six and a half strings”

    Since viols de gamba come in both 6- and 7-string variants, six and a half represents the average. This desire to depict the average viol is also indicated in the choice of maple for the fingerboard and ebony for the tailpiece… (Now why the maple fingerboard disappears into the body of the viol is beyond me.)

    Or perhaps this represents a viol de gamba of the transition period in the mid-late 1600s when S holes were in vogue and the addition of the seventh string had not quite caught on yet…

  14. Kilby Apr 24th 2017 at 03:36 am 14

    @ ja (13) - I think your satire may be giving a lazy cartoonist and his ill-informed colorist a little more credit than the deserve.

  15. ja Apr 24th 2017 at 10:05 am 15


    No doubt.

    Yet I can’t help but be impressed at how simultaneously good and bad this depiction of a viola de gamba is…

    I’m used to bad guitars in cartoons. I can let the four string depictions slide as a simplification (not unlike cartoon characters having three fingers and a thumb rather than four), but I’ve seen plenty of weird guitars with combinations of guitar-like features that make little sense, where it is pretty clear that the cartoonist never referenced an actual guitar (or photograph thereof) in drawing their cartoon version.

    But guitars are everywhere, and even people who aren’t interested in music know what a guitar is. How many people recognize a viola de gamba when they see one? It’s a perfect choice for the joke, though. A lute would be a bit too evocative of the Renaissance, and while a harpsichord is perhaps more uniquely limited to the baroque era, it could be too easily confused with a piano.

    So this viol is a great choice, but how in the heck did the artist come up with this rendition? There are so many excellent details (that peghead screams “baroque” too me, as does the maple/boxwood fingerboard) and yet we have a disappearing fingerboard, a string that ends at the bridge, the mismatched tailpiece (and pegs), and– most puzzling of all– the fact that this woman is playing left handed. And how in the heck is that thing going to fit in that case?

  16. Olivier Apr 24th 2017 at 10:28 am 16

    “the fact that this woman is playing left handed”: maybe the artist traced over a picture ?

  17. Kilby Apr 24th 2017 at 11:03 am 17

    @ ja - The details you provided @15 led me to look up a few photographs, which revealed another oddity: the scrollwork on the pegbox at the top appears to be drawn from the side, instead of the straight ahead orientation that it should have had. It’s sort of like the faces sometimes drawn by preschoolers, with two eyes and a mouth, but with the nose on one side (in profile).

  18. ja Apr 24th 2017 at 11:15 am 18

    I assumed the decoration on the pegbox is not a scroll, but rather a carved head or some other decoration (common on baroque instruments). Like this:

  19. Mark in Boston Apr 24th 2017 at 08:51 pm 19

    We may not all know what a gamba looks like, but I bet every one of us could correctly draw a bicycle from memory.

    Could we?

    An artist asked people to draw bicycles, and then built bicycles based on the drawings:

  20. Wendy Apr 24th 2017 at 10:48 pm 20

    That’s a cool link Mark.

    I just assumed that the artist was trying to draw a cello, but was confused about how many strings one has, and so tried to give it 6 like a guitar. And no, it wouldn’t fit in that case.

    But as for the joke, I think it’s cute, because it’s new to me and I like puns. But I can see where someone living in NYC might run into this a lot and so not find it funny.

  21. Boise Ed Apr 25th 2017 at 03:25 pm 21

    Good eye, Kilby [9]. Maybe it’s an Eschercello.

    Ja [15]: “I can let the four string depictions slide …” No, it’s trombones that have slides. But yes, I understand; I have a hard time letting some of the atrocious saxophone depictions go by.

    MiB [19]: Way cool!

  22. James Pollock Apr 25th 2017 at 03:49 pm 22

    “No, it’s trombones that have slides.”

    Well, SOMEBODY’S never heard of a slide guitar…

  23. Mark in Boston Apr 25th 2017 at 08:27 pm 23

    … or a slide whistle, or a double-reed slide music stand.

  24. ja Apr 25th 2017 at 11:38 pm 24

    re: slide guitar

    Yep, there are slide guitarists. They are why old glass Coricidin (a cold medicine) bottles sell for $18 or more on ebay…

    And speaking of slides, trombones, and (@Mark in Boston) double reeds, let us not forget the tromboon.

  25. Meryl A Apr 26th 2017 at 12:29 am 25

    Maybe she is left handed? I think Paul McCartney played his bass guitar left handed. Harpo played his harp on the wrong shoulder.

  26. ja Apr 26th 2017 at 09:36 am 26

    @Meryl A

    Paul McCartney plays bass (and guitar) left handed on left-handed instruments. Except when he plays Bill Black’s (Elvis Presley’s bass player’s) upright bass, in which case he plays left-handed on an right-handed instrument:
    (I would imagine that Sir Paul would be more comfortable playing an upright strung left-handed, but I’m sure he doesn’t want to mess up Bill Black’s bass.)

    Jimi Hendrix played left-handed, most famously on a right-handed Stratocaster, strung backwards and played upsided-down. He preferred the tone of the backwards strat over an actual left-handed instrument. Elliot Eastman (the Cars) is another noted lefty player.

    Plenty of naturally left-handed guitarists (I would think a considerable majority) play right handed. You need to use both hands anyway, and right-handed guitars are much more readily available. Some notable examples include Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits fame), Duane Allman, Steve Morse, Robert Fripp, Steve Cropper (and Duck Dunn, his bass playing buddy), Lefty Frizzell, Michael Hedges…

    Once you venture into the world of classical music, there is an even greater tendency to conform to standard right-handed instruments. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a classical guitarist playing left-handed. Among string players, I have at least heard of left-handed violinists, but they are very rare, and usually the result of some sort of injury/birth defect of the left hand that compromises fingering notes more than it does creating a secure bow hold. Note that a true left-handed fiddle or acoustic guitar is built to be left-handed. The designs are not symmetric internally (even if they may look so externally), and the bracing (and sound post in the case of a violin) need to be reversed. Externally, there need to be changes to the bridge and nut.

    Which leads us back to our left-handed violist. 7-string viols have the extra string on the BASS side of the instrument. Therefore, if she is playing left-handed, she is doing so on a right-handed instrument (or possibly a right-handed instrument strung left-handed). Given that the whole reason that there is renewed interest in instruments like the viola de gamba that there has been a movement within the classical music toward “authentic” performances of baroque (and other older syles of) music on period instruments (or reconstructions thereof), it strikes me as unlikely that one of these “authentic” baroque players would choose to play a viol in a historically questionable way.

    So we are faced with this tragic coda: our heroine, after years of dedication to playing authentic baroque music on the viola de gamba, has been struck by some sort of injury/ailment that has rendered one of the fingers of her left hand unresponsive. Left with no other choice, she has opted to play her right-handed viol left-handed. Shunned by the “authentic” crowd, she is left to busk on the streets, and forced to sell her frets AND the final several inches of her fingerboard.

  27. Mark in Boston Apr 29th 2017 at 08:36 pm 27

    Blüthner, a high-end piano manufacturer in Europe, makes a left-handed piano which is essentially a mirror image of a normal piano.

  28. James Pollock Apr 29th 2017 at 08:47 pm 28

    “Blüthner, a high-end piano manufacturer in Europe, makes a left-handed piano which is essentially a mirror image of a normal piano”

    Well, that’s got to be easier than playing upside-down.

  29. mitch4 Apr 29th 2017 at 11:22 pm 29

    Let me ask a naive question:

    Why is it usual to assign the dominant hand to do the bowing or strumming or picking…? Wouldn’t it be the fingering that requires more dexterity? (Semi-pun is semi-intended.)

  30. Dave in Boston Apr 30th 2017 at 04:17 am 30

    It’s because the bowing requires more fine control.

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