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Music Math

1. If x is the number of chord changes in a tune, and y is the tempo at which it is played, then xy = factor by which a guitarist will turn down his amp.

2. # (notes/measure played by a saxophonist on a ballad) is proportional to # (drinks he has consumed).

3. 4 + 4.125 + 4 + 3.875 + 4 + 4.667 + 4 + x (where x is unknown) = 1 chorus trading with the drummer.

4. (2 + 5 + 1) x # (freshman college jazz students, internationally) = Annual income of Jamie Abersold, in dollars.

5. Infinity = (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) + (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) + (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) ....

6. 5/4 + 7/4 + 11/4 = drummer's gig.

7. If # (drinks consumed, per musician) > # (drinks comped by club), then unrest will prevail unless (cost per drink) < 1/20 (pay for gig).

8. 1 up tempo tune + 1 rushing drummer + x (double lattes) = x (fights among horn player s to solo first).

9. 1 ballad + 1 dragging drummer + x (Percocets) = 1 cleared house, where x is proportional to the speed at which the room empties.

10. 2 (diddles) = paradiddle.

11. Jam session + eighth -note rest = missed opportunity.

13. {(New + York) squared - (NewNew + YorkYork + YorkNew) + New York + 2 (Ride + Sally) - Sally} divided by (less than five seconds) = medley from hell.

14. (1/vocalist's experience in years) x # (number of beats per measure) x 32 = # (unintended modulations + skipped beats), per chorus.

15. If x = piano's deviance from being in tune, y volume level of drummer, z = length of gig, and d = number of drinks consumed by pianist on break, then (d) (xyz/pay of the gig in dollars) predicts the probability of pianist urinating in the instrument.

16. "Vow of Poverty" theorem: If # (people in audience) < # (musicians on bandstand), then pay per musician < one individual cover charge.

17. "Bass" theorem: A musician's IQ is inversely proportional to the size of his/her instrument, and directly related to the register of the instrument.

18. "Rule of One" theorem: (Universe of jazz vocalists): # (jazz vocalists who sing "Summertime") = 1 = rank of "Summertime" among tunes most despised by instrumentalists.

19. "Devil's Music" theorem: Smooth Jazz = square root of all evil.

20. "Two Americas" Buffet theorem: Fresh salmon/flaccid spanakopita + prime rib/limp egg rolls + jumbo shrimp/soggy chicken fingers = high society gig/Elks club gig.

21. How much should a gig pay, based on the following conditions: drive 90 miles outside of town through pouring rain; set up two hours in advance; load in through slimy kitchen accessed by treacherous outdoor & staircase; and play four hours of continuous crappy dance favorites for drunk rich people? Would you take it for ½ that much? After you bid on the above gig for 1/3 your worth, a college student offers to play the same gig for ½ as much. You are 12 times as good as him, but ½ as good -looking. The client has a tin ear. Who will get the job? Why do you
bother practicing?

22. If a trumpet player counts off a tune in 4/4 time at mm = 180, and the drummer slows it down at a constant rate of deceleration over 8 measures to mm = 150, does the pianist still suck?

23. If a bassist plays a root, a pianist superimposes a major seventh chord built on the fifth, and a saxophonist plays the 13th, will attractive women notice? Will the drummer?

24. If a successful attorney earns 3x as much as a successful musician, but the musician believes his work is 4x as fulfilling, who actually has larger genetalia?

25. Your trio is set up in a perfect equilateral triangle. A singer sets up exactly in the middle. Will the three of you be divided against the singer or against one another?

26. If (% of Americans who like jazz) = (% of Americans who like chain saw sculptures), what is America's most important indigenous art form?

— contributed by Peter Schwimmer Peter Schwimmer: Bands, Singers, Songwriters / Composers, Solo Performers, Sidemen, Instrumentalists, Performers, Entertainers, Musicians, Cowboy Poets


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