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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
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