13 highly annoying things only classical musicians do

28 April 2021, 17:54 | Updated: 28 April 2021, 18:20

By Kyle Macdonald

A compendium of the most annoying habits in the classical music world. Musos, music geeks, nerds and aficionados… you’ve got a lot to answer for.

  1. Constantly saying singers on TV are flat

    Own up, we’ve all said it, or thought it, yet remained glued to our screens.

    via GIPHY
  2. Reading along with the score at concerts

    What are you going to do if the tuba makes a mistake or the triangle misses an entry? Get them to do it again? Would you take your annotated copy of Shakespeare's Othello along to The Globe?! Stop this madness now!

    I note that you didn’t quite go back to the original allegro tempo at section 13
    I note that you didn’t quite go back to the original allegro tempo at section 13. Picture: Getty
  3. Niche abbreviation

    ‘Tchaik’, ‘Rach’ and ‘Shos’ are the musician equivalents of office jargon. Given how much we love complete performances of 50-minute symphonies, why don’t we have the time for those neglected additional syllables?

    Rach. Picture: Friends
  4. Classical music cliques

    Classical music friendship groups are formed quickly, are impenetrable, have more in-jokes than Haydn has symphonies, and last longer than Wagner’s Ring Cycle. And what about it?

    via GIPHY
  5. Endless ranking of symphonies in order

    How utterly infuriating must this be to anyone outside of our very specific symphonic bubble. Mahler is obviously 3-2-8-4-6-5-1-7-9 tho.

    Beethoven's greatest?
    Beethoven's greatest? Picture: Reddit / kiethmusic542
  6. Excessively emotional facial expressions

    We get it. A lot of the time, this is totally justified. We’re just a little concerned that the wind is going to change and you’ll be stuck like that. 

    Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Phil in Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand
    Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Phil in Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand. Picture: Getty
  7. Tapping cross-rhythms at random

    This is a percussionist speciality. Specific to them is the need to incessantly tap things in their vicinity in complex rhythmic patterns completely incomprehensible to the layman.

    via GIPHY
  8. Persistant harmonisation

    Office happy birthday singsongs are never the same with a musician. Because, as far as we’re concerned, that final line needs harmony and additional theatrics – and we’re there to oblige.

  9. Handspan obsession

    Musicians don’t care about height, wealth, social status or bodily health. The only thing that really matters is whether you can span a tenth on a piano or reach a C9/E on a guitar. Hand size matters and, boy, we have memes to prove it.

    A pianist on the keys
    A pianist on the keys. Picture: Facebook / The Music Nerd
  10. Relentless criticism of fake musicianship

    Whether it’s stock photos or miming an instrument in films, we have the very annoying habit of feeling we need to point out everything that is wrong. We explode with a limitless litany of observations an actor's posture, embouchure, bow hold and/or fingering. We’re sure everyone else in the room always appreciates this important and consequential attention to detail.

    Violinist? ...with a frustrating bow hold
    Violinist? ...with a frustrating bow hold. Picture: Getty
  11. Our extreme dynamic ranges

    We’re used to environments that are either very loud, or very quiet. Accordingly, in social situations we’re either roaring like Wagnerian trombones, or staying completely silent “to save my voice for tomorrow’s recital”.

    via GIPHY
  12. Air-conducting

    With ear-buds in, or just to the music in our heads, we’ve all done it. And to that person who doesn’t have that exact Bruckner cadence in mind at that very moment, it must be very annoying indeed.

    via GIPHY
  13. All the sounds we make off-stage

    For people who pride themselves on bringing beautiful sounds into the world, our poor neighbours and housemates get frequently exposed to the most annoying audio thanks to us. From the endlessly repeated arpeggios of our practise, to us blasting the same symphonic exposition over and over. Thank you for your understanding, and we’re sorry.

    via GIPHY