Orchestral Efficiency
[author and source unknown]



A managed care company president was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Since she was unable to go, she gave the ticket to one of her managed care reviewers. The next morning she asked him how he had enjoyed it. Instead of a few observations about the symphony in general, she was handed a formal memorandum which read as follows:


1. For a considerable period, the oboe players had nothing to do. Their number should be reduced, and their work spread over the whole orchestra, avoiding peaks of inactivity.

2. All 12 violins were playing identical notes. This seems an unnecessary duplication of work, and the number of players in this section should be cut. If a volume of sound is really required, this could be accomplished with the use of an amplifier.

3. Much effort was involved in playing the 16th notes. This appears to be an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes be rounded up to the nearest 8th note. If this were done it would be possible to use para-professionals instead of experienced musicians.

4. No useful purpose is served by repeating with horns the passage that has already been handled by the strings. If all such redundant passages were eliminated then the concert could be reduced from two hours to twenty minutes.

5. The symphony had two movements. If Mr. Schubert didn't achieve his musical goals by the end of the first movement, then he should have stopped there. The second movement is unnecessary and should be cut.

In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Mr. Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had time to finish the symphony.


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