Musician Idioms

clarencechua Article

Hi Music People,

Just read a cool article on Premier Guitar on Music Idioms by John Bohlinger. It’s good to know all of this just in case one day someone calls you a ‘Rolex’. Not a good thing, trust me. Although I don’t think I’ve used any of these before I’ve definitely used other idioms but for some reason I can’t recall a single one of them. Oh well.. I will add it in if I remember any. So here you go….

A Russian dragon: A player whose tempo tends to both rush and drag.

A reverse moose: A cool band with a very unpleasant front-person. (Explanation: On a regular moose, the horns are in front and the ass is in back. In some bands, it’s the reverse.)

A Rolex: A showy drummer incapable of keeping accurate time.

A third for a word: An unethical bit of douche-baggery where producers or artists say they want to rewrite your song before recording it. They then make an unnecessary, minor change and claim a large chunk of the writing and publishing shares for themselves. For example: “Robert, your lyrics are good, but not quite there. Let’s change it to ‘She’s leasing a stairway to heaven.’ That’s waaaaaaay better.”

Billy goat: A singer who often employs a very wide, fast, unpleasant vibrato.

Crossfade dissonance: A disagreeable harmonic discord caused by a musician combining improvisation with cannabis and alcohol.

Clams: Mistakes made during a performance.

One-man clam bake: A performance in which a single band member makes many mistakes.

Friday-night Red Lobster clam special: An entire evening’s performance replete with mistakes played by multiple band members.

Earn while you learn: An unrehearsed, paid gig that forces musicians to discern changes and arrangements in real time as they play.

Facebook foe/Twitter twat: A person who uses social media to post disparaging comments about your band.

Mixing by 2×4: When a front-of-house engineer simultaneously pushes all the faders all the way up, usually near the end of the show.

On/off dynamics: A musician who plays exclusively at full volume (often drummers and/or bassists).

Playing by Braille: 1.Performing on adark stage where you cannot see your charts and/or instrument. 2. Performing on a drunken stage.

Pitch approximator: A non-fretted instrument: a pedal steel, violin, or Dobro. Used in a sentence: “For the love of cheese, please turn off the pitch approximator in my mix. I’m trying to sing here!

Wire and fire: When you have very little time for a soundcheck—only enough to plug everything in and then dial up the most basic mix before the show.

Plug and play: When you have no soundcheck, just a line check to make sure you’re getting signal to the front-of-house.

Plug and pray/throw and go: Throw your gear up on the deck while the crowd watches, plug in your guitar, and pray everything works.

Strong and wrong: When a player does not know how a song goes but jumps in boldly hoping this confidence will fool the audience.

Skeleton key: A pet riff or lick that a musician uses too often. Used in a sentence: “Sitting through John’s performance was particularly painful tonight. He used that skeleton key riff in every one of his underwhelming solos.”

Ab minor: What you get when you drop a piano down a mineshaft.

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