Mathematics for Musicians
1. Wilma is tired of paying for clarinet reeds. If she adopts a
policy of playing only on rejected reeds from her colleagues will
she be able to retire on the money she has saved if she invests it
in mutual bonds, yielding 8.7%, before she is fired from her job?
If not, calculate the probability of her ever working in a
professional symphony orchestra again.
2. Jethro has been playing the double bass in a symphony orchestra
for twelve years, three months and seven days. Each day, his
inclination to practice decreases by the equation:
(Total days in the orchestra) x .000976
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 double bass?
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 a year, how 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 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 Horacecan 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 .3528 seconds behind the rest of the viola section, which is
already .16485 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
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 live?
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 Strauss?
Taken from the Amusements Pages of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Back to Lori's Humor Page
Back to Lori's Home Page