A useful French expression for violinists

In the course of polishing up our colloquial French we came across this:

Le groupe du matin est très bien, mais alors l’après-midi, c’est comme pisser dans un violon (the morning group was fine, but in the afternoon it was…)

The phrase has various meanings:

It’s like…
– trying to get blood from a stone
– handing out my own farts
– talking to an empty cupboard
– banging my head against the wall
– discussing Brexit.


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  • …and what if it were “contrebasse” instead of “violon” ? apparently more urine in the instrument 😉 – enough for the full all-male orchestra . Sorry Anthea for that manifestation of men’s chauvinism of me 😉

    • Renaud Capuçon
      Pierre Amoyal
      Patrice Fontanarosa
      Christian Ferras (+).
      And if you like French expressions, you can also use “Peigner la girafe” (= doing something long and useless).

    • CJ has offered a few. I would add Ginette Neveu, Zino Francescatti, Jacques Thibaud — here be giants. If you haven’t heard of those three, I must wonder if you know of any French violinists at all. Or violinists of any nationality. Or pianists or….Or are you by chance just having a bash at the French?

        • I’m what?? Well, something to chuckle over there, whatever you were trying to say. And your dismissal of Thibaud is pretty silly, Mick, your dismissal of Neveu a bit weird. I don’t think you have any idea of the latter’s recordings of the Sibelius and Brahms concerti, e.g., and I think you are playing a trolling game. Please note also that not liking a great artist does not entail denying their greatness.

  • Might be an idea to put a hold on the colloquialisms and revise verb tenses, ‘est’ not meaning ‘was’.

    • Nothing against Norwegian, but not many foreigners speak it. (I was told by one who did learn that there are two dialects/versions?)

      French is more widely known, especially by English speakers.

  • Devy Erlih, Pierre Amoyal, Christian Ferras, Gérard Jarry, Michèle Auclair to name a few. Not sure what constitutes great, but all these are very fine players indeed, and Ferras is something of a legend. There are plenty more, some of whom have already been mentioned.

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