I've once again been thinking about getting a tattoo, after my genius friend Jack Miller reminded me the other day that I once had a plan to get a tattoo on my back saying, "If you're a heart surgeon, flip me over." Anyway, I started trolling the Web for designs related to classical music, and came up with, well, next to nothing. I mean, I wasn't expecting a full-sleeve portrait of J. S. Bach with a flaming skull (although that would be pretty lovely), but given the predominance of popular music logos, lyrics, and album covers I've seen permanently disfiguring various club denizens, I was hoping that at least a few adventurous souls were holding up the highbrow end. (Frank Zappa did turn up, as did La Divina—we'll give Nietzsche an honorable mention.)
The most common classical tattoo seems to be the music itself: This guy opted for a Bach suite, and here's an interesting cross between the Ravel Pavane and an Earle Brown score. Also Brahms 3, although if you're going to ink up your foot, Winterriese might be a wittier choice. My favorite is this guy, who will never, ever forget the fingering to the Chopin First Ballade. (All links via the inexhaustible BMEInk.)
I considered tattooing my hand in a Guidonian manner, but palm tattoos are, from what I hear, comparatively excruciating. Maybe I'll go with the lion from Marc Chagall's Zauberflöte poster.
Ah, maybe not—that face kind of creeps me out. See? This is why I still don't have a tattoo.