So, you're watching this show where someone appears to be TheCastShowOff, then you notice that their hands aren't matching the notes at all. Sometimes, to the point where [[TheyJustDidntCare they didn't even try]]. Or, perhaps someone is talking about music and it turns out it's just musical TechnoBabble.

Generally a musical inaccuracy trope. To people not familiar with music, it doesn't bother, likely because it's not relevant to the plot, but to musicians it's obvious. It also mostly applies to instrumental music, because not everyone knows the technical skills and what it looks like to play an instrument, and instruments can be easily substituted in on the soundtrack because of the uniformity of sound. Guitars sound much more like each other than voices do.

* Type 1 is on the performance end, where an actor is playing a performer and is obviously NOT playing it in real life. Sometimes this is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] for comic effect, and thus BreakingTheFourthWall. May also be ImpracticalMusicalInstrumentSkills, which are usually PlayedForLaughs as well.
* Type 2 is on the writing or editing end, where the writer or editor is not familiar with music. This applies to incorrect terminology, obvious dubbing or computerized music. This is less common because usually higher-end productions come with a composer, sound editor, music supervisor, etc, and have decent sound libraries.

Note: Lip-synching does not apply here, because most people know how to lip synch, and music videos [[MilliVanilli almost always]] are the voices of the artist.



[[folder: Advertisements ]]

* Creator/BruceCampbell recorded a [[ commercial for Old Spice]] where he's playing "Hungry Like the Wolf" on a piano. About twenty seconds in, he lifts both his hands off the keys to point at his audience, while the piano keeps playing.


[[folder: Fanfiction ]]

* In [[ Divinity]], Hinata, Sakura, Ino, Tenten, and Temari all are learning musical instruments...but since nobody else plays the harp, Hinata's stuck teaching herself instead of being tutored. The girls are seven or eight at the oldest.


[[folder: Films ]]

* ''AugustRush'': Electric guitars without amps, a so-so composition that gets him into Juilliard without the audition process, his sudden professional-grade skill at all these things without any previous training. Generally the movie did not [[StealthPun play]] well with musicians.
** Not to mention incredibly bad hand doubling when the kid plays guitar.
* ''Film/{{Bedazzled 2000}}'' (the remake): Brendan Fraser is playing guitar during one of the fantasies, and he has his hand above the capo.
* ''Film/{{Drumline}}'': The printed music that comes out of a snare drum solo in the middle of the movie has sharps and flats, despite the fact that a snare drum has ''only one note'' (roughly, "bang").
* ''TheParentTrap'': Hayley Mills is not moving her fingers when playing guitar Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Then on "Let's Get Together" her strumming does not match the music (in addition to not moving her fingers).
* ''Film/WaitingForGuffman'': In the overture, someone decided to dub in MIDI instruments. This is either a gigantic InJoke to musicians, or an EpicFail on behalf of the music editor. It's not {{Lampshaded}}.
* Mostly averted by Ralph Macchio in ''Crossroads (1986)'', due to the fact that Steve Fuckin' Vai (who plays the Devil) coached him through it. But sharp-eyed guitarists can see several instances where he's off during the guitar showdown with said Devil.
* JohnnyCash referenced this trope when he first heard of the biopic ''WalkTheLine''; he said that he hoped that whoever portrayed him knew how to hold a guitar correctly. The movie itself averts it, as both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (who portrayed Cash's wife, June Carter) worked for several months with producer T-Bone Burnett to learn how to sing and play instruments.
** However, the film does play it straight several other times, including one scene where Waylon Payne (as JerryLeeLewis) is backed by an electric bassist, but an upright bass is heard instead.
* Averted surprisingly in ''Film/WaynesWorld''. A goofy comedy that takes nothing seriously and has no real strong continuity is surprisingly accurate with the music playing...because Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, and Tia Carere can all play their respective instruments (yes, that's really Dana playing that epic drum solo).
* ''Film/GroundhogDay'' has the reverse of the above problem: during the big dance scene at the end, an upright bassist is shown but an electric bass is heard.
* ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'': In the scene where Eddie Valiant is mingling with the toons at Maroon Studios, he comes across a saxophonist standing next to the enchanted brooms from ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}''. However, the saxophonist is just swaying his body while playing the saxophone; he isn't even moving his fingers. (Although a toon saxophone probably would be able to play itself.)
** And, to add insult to injury, it's not even a real sax playing. It's a synth.
* In the Canadian film ''HardCoreLogo'', Callum Keith Rennie's portrayal of Billy Tallent, guitarist of the eponymous band, barely even looks like he's trying during the performance scenes. Hugh Dillion as singer/rhythm guitarist Joe Dick is much more believable, as he's an actual musician.
* Kirk Douglas may do his own singing for the song "Whale of a Tale" in the movie ''Film/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'', but he certainly doesn't handle the music. Like most fake guitar players, he remembers to strum, but almost completely ignores the existence of the frets.
* In the film version of ''ComicBook/GhostWorld'', the actor portraying the guitarist/singer of Blueshammer has never played a guitar in his life.
* Averted in ''Film/MasterAndCommander: The Far Side of the World''. Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany took lessons on the violin and cello, respectively, so that they would at least appear to have some experience. When the scene was filmed, they played along with the recording which would be dubbed over for the finished product. Both turned out to be decent musicians anyway, particularly Bettany. In fact, the artificially polished performance of the film made the characters better musicians then their literary counterparts. In the novels, both men are little more than enthusiastic amateurs, rather than Regency-era versions of Yo-Yo Ma, although some would argue that an 'enthusiastic amateur' of the day could be very good, especially as it's one of the few things they do for recreation while on voyages.
* In ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', at the end, when AmazingFreakingGrace is played, James Doohan's fingers do not match the notes being played. For anyone familiar with the bagpipes, this is very, ''very'' obvious, but hardly a drama-breaker.
* Dooley Wilson, who played Sam in {{Casablanca}}, was a drummer, not a pianist. It's fairly obvious.
* The "banjo boy" character in ''Deliverance'' is clearly NOT playing the banjo part of "Duelling Banjos", which in turn is obviously being played on a resonator banjo. Both the banjo AND the guitar have capos, which would not be required for playing in G.
* ''Film/EagleEye'' is particularly bad. The final scene involves a group of grade school students playing the national anthem. First, the song is difficult enough that grade-schoolers would almost certainly not be able to play it. Second, they play it absolutely perfectly, despite being children. Third, anyone who plays one of the instruments in question can see that their hand movements are completely random.
* In ''The Competition'' (1980), Richard Dreyfuss plays a classical pianist facing a last-chance, make-or-break competition. At times while he is "playing," he looks down at the keys as though the hands playing aren't his ... and they're not.


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* In ''Kids Incorporated'', the actors aren't really playing the instruments. Ironically, some of the show's cast have gone on to have real-world music careers, though always as singers.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Bones}}'' has Dr. Brennan claiming that by knowing how to play the akonting (a West-African 3 stringed, non-fretted lute), she could play blues-style electric guitar. While the writers were trying to ShowTheirWork by knowing what an akonting is, the instruments are too distant in style, culture, structure, and tuning to pull that off.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'': Calling what they do a "glee club" is like calling a rock band a "string orchestra." The term is "show choir" (which they do acknowledge in show) "Show Choir" probably didn't sound as cool a title.
** Though, it could be a TruthInTelevision, or {{Defictionalization}}, as a lot of show choirs in the U.S. are calling themselves "Glee Clubs."
** More recently, ''Glee'' had a madrigal choir competing against New Directions ''at a show-choir competition.'' There are other competitions for typical school choirs (not show choirs), where one would think that a madrigal choir, with their use of classical repertoire and lack of dancing, would fit better.
** There's also the case of the Warblers, who are supposed to be an ''a capella'' group. This would be much more believable if half their backing vocals weren't so obviously synthesizers.
* In the show ''OkaasanToIssho'', there's a skit for a music video called ''Rock N Roll Dragon'' that has the hosts pretending to be a rock band. Mitani and Itou are the guitarist and bassist and obviously have no clue how to play, and they don't even fake it (they simply hold the guitars rigidly). Kobayashi behind the skins seems to know what he's doing, though
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': Emma playing the cello is to a lesser degree. She does move her fingers some, and some of the open strings match what is heard.
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Leslie is listening to bluegrass music, and the banjo is MIDI. It could be a case of Leslie not being able to distinguish real instruments from MIDI, but most $1.00 [=CDs=] you can get at a gas station have real instruments.
* KelseyGrammer's fake piano playing is actually pretty convincing in ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' but if you look closely you can see that it's dubbed. Definitely not {{Lampshaded}}.
* The ''Series/HotInCleveland'' episode where the girls form a band seems to have been this trope. It's most obvious for Creator/BettyWhite's character. You really gonna make a woman in her eighties hit those drums?
* When Montoya plays the violin in the first episode of ''Series/QueenOfSwords'', he just draws the bow across the strings in no particular rhythm, and doesn't even bother moving his fingers.
* Type 1 is averted and then played straight in the ''Series/MysteriousWays'' episode "Free Spirit": in the first few scenes of Miranda playing the violin, the finger movements and bow strokes match the music, but when she plays later in the episode she's obviously faking. Since her face is only clearly shown in the later scene, the difference could be explained by the use of a TalentDouble.
* An episode of ''Series/{{ER}}'' featured a gifted young violinist. At the end of the episode, he performs a piece - his fingering movements are completely out of sync with the music.
* In an episode of ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', Leonard is playing in a string quartet with the hairs on his bow facing outwards. The bow hair on the string is what makes the sound on the cello. This is doubly suprising given that Johnny Galecki is a trained cellist and is seen using it correctly at least once.
** Not to mention that after half of the quartet leave, He and Leslie practice with just the two of them - and the full quartet's sound.
* Averted and PlayedWith in ''Series/RedDwarf'' during the gag in which a shape-shifting pseudo-Lister is detected by the fact that it actually CAN play the guitar, since it embodies Lister as he sees himself...
** The shape-shifter's guitar playing in that episode is actually not overdubbed, but played by Phil Manzanera of Music/RoxyMusic who is hiding behind actor Craig Charles in that shot. For such a simple trick, it is ''exceptionally'' well done, and almost impossible to see without knowing what they did.
** This is arguably inverted as well given that actor Craig Charles can actually play the guitar, whilst having to pretend that he is less proficient than he actually is in order to play Dave Lister.
* ''LoveMeLicia'' (the Italian live sequel to ''Manga/AiShiteNight'') [[ZigzaggedTrope zigzags]] this. In the first seasons is mostly played straight (like [[ musicians' fingers moving incorrectly, or not moving at all]]), but the drummer [[AvertedTrope averts]] this, because he can really play the drums. This trope becomes less evident in later seasons, which mostly feature different band members, and where even the photography evolves to show that yes, this time [[ the guitar virtuosisms are real]].
* The ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Lessons" averts a type 1 nicely. They feature a close-up of a character's hands playing a classical piano piece, then panning up to her face. While the actress didn't play the piano, they had a pianist playing, then seamlessly wiped the shot mid-pan to show the character's (and actress') face. While easy now, at the time it was a minor technical triumph.
* As the Nostalgia Critic pointed out, Slater from ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' is "so good" at playing drums that we hear the beats before he even hits the drums.
* Although the musical numbers featured on {{Later With Jools Holland}} are notable for not having the artists use prerecorded music or vocals, it doesn't mean that the various effects and session musicians aren't fair game. [[ This]] performance by {{Music/Blur}} not only features a painful missed cue where lead singer Damon Albarn strikes a pose and waits in vain for the song to start, but also a string section that starts playing a good couple of beats after their parts have started playing.


[[folder: Music Videos ]]

* Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love". Some people criticized the video because the "musicians" (portrayed by fashion models) were not correctly playing their guitars. VH1's ''Series/PopUpVideo'' said that a musician was hired to teach the models basic guitar fingering techniques, but "gave up after about an hour and left".
* The music video for "If I Die Young" by TheBandPerry has one of Perrys playing an accordion. Even the least musically-inclined person can tell there's no accordion in the song (it's a ballad; why would they even use one?).
* Similarly, ScatmanJohn's "Scatman" video has a trumpeter, upright bassist and drummer in it, when all of the instruments are obviously synthesized.
* And in the video for The Bellamy Brothers' "Old Hippie (The Sequel)", one of them is strumming a resonator guitar in the video. This is doubly wrong; besides the complete lack of said instrument in the song, resonator guitars are usually played horizontally (like a lap steel guitar) or finger-picked, not strummed.
* Music/RebeccaBlack's song (no, not "Music/{{Friday}}") "My Moment". At the beginning of the song you see Rebecca Black in a recording studio with a guitarist, a drummer and a bass player. Absolutely nowhere in the song can you hear a guitar or a bass.
* Richard Swift's "Knee-High Boogie Blues" video has a lot of closeup shots where it's obvious the drumsticks are not touching the drum head at any point, and the guitarist isn't touching the strings at all. It's so obvious that one can only assume that it was intentional.
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic has often had to mime playing guitar for the various artists he imitates. His fake fingerings are most obvious in the video for "The Saga Begins".
* {{Helloween}} leans on the fourth wall while miming playing in their video for ''Halloween'' as the drums keep going after they stop playing on screen, and the band looks around in mock bewilderment.
* Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty." The video features musicians "playing" the (sampled) saxophone solo... on trumpets.
* Averted by Music/CledusTJudd in his video for "Paycheck Woman" (a parody of "Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson), where he convincingly strums at least G and D correctly in rhythm with the song.
* In Trent Tomlinson's "One Wing in the Fire", the angles make it hard to tell whether or not he's faking his piano playing. However, there are three pianists on the album, none of whom are named Trent Tomlinsonů
* In Creator/JeffFoxworthy and Music/AlanJackson's "Redneck Games" (which consists of snippets of a Foxworthy routine on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics set to music, with a sung chorus by Jackson), Foxworthy repeatedly lip-syncs to Jackson's sung lines, even though at no point in the song does Foxworthy actually ''sing''.
* Billy Squier's PerformanceVideo for "The Stroke" has him occasionally miming harmonica during instrumental sections, despite there not being a harmonica anywhere in the song. According to ''Series/PopUpVideo'', this was because he wasn't miming his guitar part in the video, but still wanted to be depicted playing ''something''.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''DonkeyKong64'': Two of the playable characters' instruments don't sound like their real life counterparts. Donkey Kong's bongos are much more melodic than real bongos, but it's particularly egregious with Chunky Kong's triangle. It actually makes the sound of a celesta, a completely different instrument!
* ''RockBand'' and ''GuitarHero'' avatars are designed by real musicians who took painstaking care in making the avatars come as close as possible to miming the's only noticeable when the song has instruments that aren't in the game design (like banjos) or the drummer is hitting a piece of percussion that's not present in his kit, instead going to the closest facsimile. And of course ghost orchestras, horn sections, etc (although in ''Rock Band 3'' you could chalk them up to samples from the keyboard player).
** Of course if you're a real stickler for realism, the fact that there's no guitar straps in the games will bug you to no end (clipping issues prevented them from adding them to the animations).


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Parodied in ''[[Webcomic/{{Mezzacotta}} Lightning Made of Owls]]'' in [[ "The Sound of Failing at Music"]]. After Holly finishes writing a song, Delkin starts criticizing her on various aspects, one of which was that she used the wrong tunings. Holly points out that those aren't even real tunings.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* WebVideo/AshensAndTheQuestForTheGameChild, when [[Creator/StuartAshen Stuart]] [[ItMakesSenseInContext unlocks the door with a piano]], the paper that he is using for reference reads ABADGH. He actually plays ABABCB and then the highest key, which is marked with an H. As well, him playing a B is taken as incorrect, despite it being a correct note.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' has this to the level where [[TheyJustDidntCare they]] ''[[TheyJustDidntCare obviously]]'' [[TheyJustDidntCare just did not care]]. There is nothing even remotely accurate about the way any of the characters play any musical instrument. But then, they weren't trying - RuleOfFunny is the single most important element of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' shorts.


[[folder: Musicals ]]

* ''Film/CannibalTheMusical'': The conversation at the end of "The Trapper Song" is an aversion. TreyParkerAndMattStone obviously know their basic music theory.
-->'''Frenchy:''' Nutter was singing in the wrong key!\\
'''Nutter:''' No I wasn't. It was Loutzenheiser. I was singing in E♭ minor.\\
'''Frenchy:''' The song's in F♯ major!\\
'''Bell:''' I think they're the same thing. I mean, E♭ is the relative minor of F♯.\\
'''Frenchy:''' No, it isn't. The relative minor is 3 half-tones ''down'' from the major, not up!\\
'''Noon:''' No, it's 3 down. Like A is the relative minor of C major.\\
'''Loutzenheiser:''' But isn't A♯ in C major?\\
'''Bell:''' Wait, are you singing mixolydian scales, or something?\\
'''Frenchy:''' A# is tonic to C major. It's the 6th!\\
'''Humphrey:''' No it isn't!\\
'''Swan:''' Well, it'd be like a raised 13th if anything.
* In performances of ''You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'', Schroeder's miniature piano is obviously fake, and an orchestra piano is what's actually playing; some of the notes aren't even possible on a piano the size of his.
** Toy pianos like Schroeder's generally can't play accidentals (sharps and flats). It's even pointed out in one comic strip that the black keys are just painted on.
** In ''A Charlie Brown Christmas'', his toy piano is versatile enough to sound like a classical piano and a pipe organ (RuleOfFunny is in full effect for the scene in question).
* The sound of Roger's acoustic guitar in ''Theatre/{{RENT}}'' is obviously an electric guitar being played offstage; he doesn't even strum the strings.