A Musical Joke Called Divertimento Composed By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Musical Joke is a music piece that was considered a joke was actually written by Mozart. Read more about the musical piece Divertimento, documented as K.522 in the collection of Mozart’s work.

16 August is celebrated as the world Tell a Joke Day. I found this amazing music composition while exploring few jokes related to music.

Why is it called a musical joke?

Jokes are a great way of bringing a smile and happiness into our lives. Mozart knew this fact very well and wrote a joke in his own unique style.

The Musical Joke is also known as “Ein musikalischer Spaß” or Divertimento. The musical piece is written for two horns and string quartet (to be played in a group of four string instruments).

The piece was included in the Mozart’s collection called “Verzeichnis aller meiner Werke” on June 14, 1787.


It is believed that the piece is satirical in a way characterized by its harmonic and rhythmic unbalance. Mozart never revealed the intentions behind the musical joke. However, few people believe that is was a parody music for incompetent music written by composers in those times.

The unusual repetitive phrase pattern, an abrupt change in the keys and moods. All these are signs of an unfinished composer.

May be the musical joke was pulled on the composer. Or it may also be a dig at the substandard musicians or instrument players.

Some people believe that it is a mocking joke aimed at sub-standard musicians or instrument players. At the end of the piece, you can feel the rhythmic unbalance that seems that the instrument players missed a beat. However, the ending phrase itself is written over an unbalanced rhythmic time gap.

No one knows the actual intention behind writing the ridiculously unbalanced however a pleasing piece of music.

Is it a Joke made just for laughs or making a mockery out of composers and musicians.

What’s the actual meaning of – A Musical Joke?

As per German language translations, “Spaß” may not be the correct word to translate the word “joke”. Many believe that “a musical joke” seems like an erroneous hoax. Therefore, experts also say that “Scherz” could be the appropriate word to replace “Spaß” in German. Since Spaß normally means – fun.

There’s a major difference between being funny and pulling mean a mean joke on someone else.

I think being funny without hurting anyone’s feelings might have been the intentions behind the musical joke.

I am considering to write a separate article about the analysis of the jocular sections in the piece. It would be too early to comment as of now, may be sometime later.

Thanks for reading my 29th article in the series 100-day music blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more such interesting articles.

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Published by Bharat

Hi, I'm Bharat. An artist, blogger, musician and digital marketing professional dedicated to sharing musing and stories about music, art and mindful resonance! Follow me @bharatpc