Math Test for Orchestra Members
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 97 23:04:52 -0700
Subject: Math Test for Orchestra Members
Forwarded-by: Irene Herrmann <email@example.com>
Math Test for Orchestra Members
1. Armando is the dynamic new conductor of an orchestra and has increased
the ticket sales for the classical series 95%. If the concert hall holds
3200 people, and the concerts begin promptly at 8:05 pm, how many digital
watch alarms will go off within one minute of 9pm? within 5 minutes?
2. Richard has been a professional timpanist for 35 years. In his personal
kit he owns 32 different yarn mallets, 12 different wool mallets, 5
different rubber mallets, and 2 different polished brass tack hammers. What
are the odds that a conductor will ask him to use different mallets at the
first rehearsal of a Haydn symphony? a Mahler symphony?
3. Julinda's orchestra performs Dvorak's "New World" symphony every 6
years, Sibelius' Swan of Tuoneola every 4 years, and Berlioz's Overture
to Benvenuto Cellini every 3 years. What are the odds that, in any given
year, the program notes will include the sentence "The English Horn is
neither English nor a horn"?
4. Sandy is tired of paying for clarinet reeds. If she adopts a policy of
playing only rejected reeds from her colleagues, will she be able to
retire on the money she has saved if she invests it in mutual funds
(yielding 8.7%) before she is fired from her job?
5. Jethro has been playing the double bass in a symphony orchestra for 12
years, 3 months, and 7 days. Each day, his inclination to practice
decreases by the equation: (total days in the orchetra) x .000976. Assuming
that he stopped practicing altogether 6 months ago, how long will it be
before he is comletely unable to play the double bass?
6. Wilma plays in the second violin section, but specializes in making
disparaging remarks about conductors and other musicians. The
probability of her making a hegative comment is 4:7 for any given musician
and 16:17 for conductors. If there are 103 musicians in the orchestra and
the orchestra sees 26 different conductors each year, now many negative
comments 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
7. Horace is the General Manager of a symphony orchestra. He tries to hear
at least four concerts a year. Assuming the orchestra plays a minimum
of three pieces at each concert, what are the chances that Horace can avoid
hearing a single work by Mozart, Beethoven, or Brahms in the next 10 years?
8. Betty plays in the viola section. Despite her best efforts she is
unable to play with rest of the orchestra and, on average, plays 0.35
seconds behind the rest of the viola sections, which is already 0.16 seconds
behind the rest of the orchestra. If the orchestra is moving into a new
concert hall with a reverberation time of 2.7 seconds, will she be able to
continue playing this way undetected?
9. Ralph loves to drink coffee. Each week he drinks three more cups of
coffee than Harold who drinks exactly one third the amount the entire
bass section consumes in beer. How much longer is Ralph going to live?
10. Rosemary is unable to play in keys with more than three sharps 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 a day they
would all have to practice to play the complete works of Richard Strauss?
© 1997 Peter Langston