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  • Chris Anderson

Using Humour In Music

Music doesn’t always have to be serious. It doesn’t just have to make us want to dance or sing along. Sometimes, music can be incredibly funny. In this blog I explore some of the ways humour is used in music. Hopefully this will exercise your chuckle muscles.

Funny Lyrics:

  • Crafting humorous lyrics involves wordplay, puns, and unexpected twists. Witty word choices and clever rhymes can make listeners smile or chuckle.

  • Humorous storytelling can be about everyday situations, comical characters, or exaggerated scenarios.

  • Satirical or sarcastic lyrics can add a touch of irony and social commentary to the humour.

Musical Parodies:

  • Parodies involve taking a well-known song and reworking the lyrics to create a humorous version. The new lyrics often poke fun at the original song's subject matter or the artist.

  • Musical style parodies involve imitating a particular music genre or artist's signature style while adding humorous content.

  • Here’s Weird Al Yankovich with a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, called “Eat It”.

Musical Jokes:

  • Musical jokes can be built into the composition, such as unexpected pauses, sudden key changes, or musical motifs with comedic connotations.

  • Using familiar melodies and cleverly altering them for comedic effect, like playing a well-known tune in a different musical genre.

  • Mozart wrote a piece which has the subtitle “A Musical Joke”. Musical scholars will appreciate most of the humour in this, but there is also stuff in there to make the layman chuckle.

Musical Sound Effects:

  • Adding funny sound effects to music can create a playful atmosphere. These can be produced using traditional instruments or unconventional objects, producing humorous noises.

  • Spike Jones was a past master at using sound effects.

Comedic Performances:

  • The performers can engage in exaggerated and comedic stage presence, facial expressions, or physical movements that complement the humorous content.

  • Interaction with the audience can involve playful banter, call-and-response elements, or participation in funny routines.

  • Here’s Les Dawson singing “Feelings”, and Victor Borge (one of my favourites) with one of his classic routines.

Musical Imitations:

  • Musicians can imitate sounds from everyday life, like animal noises, traffic sounds, or kitchen sounds, using instruments or vocal techniques.

  • The humorous aspect comes from recognising these familiar sounds in an unexpected musical context.

Funny Song Titles:

  • The title of a song can set the tone for humour even before the music begins. Clever or absurd song titles can catch the audience's attention and spark curiosity.

Stand-Up Comedy with Music:

  • Musicians or bands can incorporate stand-up comedy routines into their performances, combining humorous storytelling with music.

  • The comedy routine can be interspersed between songs, providing comedic relief and creating a unique show experience.

  • The much missed Victoria Wood, was a brilliant song writer, here’s one of her most famous songs.

Musical Improvisation:

  • Improvisational comedy can be integrated into music performances. Musicians can playfully improvise with each other, responding to the humour and adding to the comedic effect.

Silly Cover Versions:

  • Musicians can perform cover versions of serious songs, but in a completely different and humorous style. For example, a classic rock song performed as a bossanova or a pop hit turned into a polka.

Humour in music is about creativity, surprises, and the element of the unexpected. It can add a wonderful dimension to musical performances and create a memorable and enjoyable experience for the audience.

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