Musicans Math Quiz
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 95 14:48:42 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Musicans Math Quiz
[The part I like best is how naively illogical some of the questions are... was
this written by a musician? -psl]
Forwarded-by: Dave@Yost.com (Dave Yost)
Musicians' Math Quiz
1. Wilson is tired of paying for clarinet reeds. If he adopts a policy
of playing only on rejected reeds from his colleagues will he be able to
retire on the money he has saved if he invests it in mutual bonds, yielding
8.7%, before he is fired from his job? If not, calculate the probability
of him ever working in a professional symphony orchestra again!
2. Jethro has been playing the double bass in a symphony orchestra for
12 years, three months and seven days. Each day, his inclination to
practice decreases by the equation: (total days in the orchestra) x 0.0076.
Assuming he stopped practicing altogether four years, six months and three
days ago, how long will it be before he is completely unable to play the
3. Wilma plays in the second violin section, but specializes in making
disparaging remarks about conductors and other musicians. The probability
of her making a negative comment about any given musician is 4 chances in 7
and for conductors is 16 chances in 17. If there are 103 musicians in the
orchestra and the orchestra sees 26 different conductors each year, how many
negative remarks does Wilma make in a two-year period? How does this change
if five of the musicians are also conductors? What if six of the conductors
are also musicians?
4. Horace is the General Manager of an important symphony orchestra.
He tries to hear at least four concerts a year. Assuming that at each
concert the orchestra plays a minimum of three pieces per concert, what are
the chances that Horace can avoid hearing a single work by Mozart, Beethoven
or Brahms in the next ten years?
5. Betty plays in the viola section. Despite her best efforts she is
unable to play with the rest of the orchestra and, on average, plays 0.3528
seconds behind the rest of the viola section, which is already 0.16485
seconds behind the rest of the orchestra. How long will she be able to
continue playing this way undetected?
6. Ralph loves to drink coffee. Each week he drinks three more cups
of coffee than Harold, who drinks exactly one third the amount that the
entire brass section consumes in beer. How much longer is Ralph going to
7. Rosemary is unable to play in keys with more than three sharps or
flats without making an inordinate number of mistakes. Because her
colleagues in the cello section are also struggling in these passages she
has so far been able to escape detection. What is the total number of hours
they would all have to practice to play the complete works of Richard
Found on an orchestra bulletin board.
© 1995 Peter Langston