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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

A Great Leap Forward

From:

Ian Crisp <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 17 Mar 2000 20:57:38 +0000

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The Thread From Beyond the Grave may be retiring into its coffin after
its last rampage through the raddled brains and overstuffed inboxes of
listmembers, but it continues as lively and unkillable as ever in private
mail.  Two such off-list strands have just met and fertilised each other
within the virtual womb of Eudora, and I am pleased to announce that their
union has produced a revolutionary new insight into the underlying
mechanisms of musical appreciation and understanding.

Bear with me, ladies and gentlemen, and I will lead you gently through it
all.

Don Satz, capable as ever of encapsulating a powerful idea in few words,
suggested that although our musical tastes may change, each individual has
a fixed and unchanging set of likes and dislikes that define him.  Now I
have great respect for Don and always pay close attention to everything he
writes, especially when he's disagreeing with me, so I gave this at least
two seconds of serious cerebration and decided that maybe he's on to
something.  Don and I exchanged a private mail or two and I raised the
possibility that there might be a fairly small number of such basic
"alignments" underlying our approaches to music and perhaps even
determining our attitudes to things like observing (WATCH OUT!  DON'T
WRITE THE WORD!!) instructions to play the same passage twice.

So far, this is no different from the "There Are Two (or so) Kind of
People" posts that appear from time to time, often full of amusing
speculation but desperately lacking in solid evidence.  I've probably been
guilty of one or two of them myself.  But now, thanks to Mitch Friedfeld of
MCML and also of Mahler-list, we have that evidence.  Mitch, BTW, has given
me his permission to use material from our private correspondence in this
public forum, in the interests of the advancement of human knowledge.

In one of my posts in The Thread Whose Name May Not Be Spoken, I referred
to the late-60's rock band Cream, and said that I had been watching a video
of their Goodbye concert (which included the song "I'm So Glad").  While
replying to one of Dave Lampson's comments a day or two later, I gave in
to my bad habit of working song titles into conversation and wrote "I'm so
glad" in my reply.  Mitch recognised the reference to Cream and wrote to me
off-list about it.  I already know from Mahler-list that Mitch and I have
rather similar views on matters concerning My (our) Favourite Composer
including our opinions of the Tenth Symphony, which would be high on both
our Desert Island lists.  However, I had no idea that he and I would share
another enthusiasm for a completely different type of music from thirty-odd
years ago.

So perhaps Mitch and I share one of the as-yet-uncategorised Satz
Alignments.  And there the matter would stay, if not for one small but
profoundly significant fact.

In one of his messages to me Mitch jokingly suggested that as he and I
have such similar tastes we must be twins separated at birth (identical
twin research has of course a long and noble history in psychological
investigations).  He went so far as to give me his birth date: 9 October
1950.  Of itself this date is of no significance whatsoever as all we could
do with it is to perform an astrological analysis of Mitch's personality,
and only a complete and unscientific fool could believe for a moment that
the positions of the planets could have the slightest effect on the
development of his musical tastes.

But if we relate this date to another purely terrestrial event by applying
the sophisticated analytic tools of modern numerological theory to Mitch's
birthdate and also to mine (his musical "twin") then a genuinely stunning
result appears.

My birthdate was 10 November 1948.  What instantly strikes the
numerological mind is that my day number (10) is one greater than Mitch's.
A strange coincidence by itself, but it is surely more than coincidence
that my month number (11) is also one greater than his.  Even more
impressively, if we reduce each month number to a single digit by the
ancient numerological algorithms (11: 1+1 = 2 and 10: 1+0 = 1), the
relation between them remains undisturbed, with my number being one greater
than Mitch's.  This is already a result of unquestionable significance but,
incredibly, there is still more to come.

Mitch was born in 1950 but I date back to 1948.  My year number, therefore,
is 2 smaller than his.  Yet again, compression to single digits confirms
the difference (1950 = 1+9+5+0 = 15 = 1+5 = 6; 1948 = 1+9+4+8 = 22 = 2+2
4; and 6-4 = 2).  And 2 is also the sum of the day and month numbers,
because one and one is two, and who can argue with that?

So our final result is this, in terms of (me - Mitch):

Day difference: 1
Month difference: 1
Year difference: -2
Total birthdate difference: 1  + 1 - 2 = 0

Therefore Mitch and I are numerologically indistinguishable, there is
literally (or numerically) nothing between us, truly he and I are numerical
twins, and the underlying reason for our sharing the same Satz Alignment is
revealed.

Further, we now have strong numerical reasons to suggest that we know
the total number of Satz Alignments or fundamental music categories.  The
Crisp/Friedfeld/Satz (CFS) Hypothesis must be that there are exactly ten of
them, to be numbered from 0 to 9.  Mitch and I show Alignment 0, the first
to be discovered.  Anyone whose birthdate differential, as produced by the
methods described above, is +1 away from the 10th of November 1948 (and the
central position of this date is of course pure happenstance, and nothing
at all to do with the size of my ego) will belong to Alignment 1, and so
on.  In case anyone is inclined to question the pivotal role I have
assigned to this date, which just coincidentally happens to be my
birthdate, I will point out that 10 = 1+0 = 1, 11 = 1+1 = 2, and 1948
1+9+4+8 = 22 = 2+2 = 4, giving the series 1, 2, 4 which is of course the
beginning of the series of powers of 2 - one of the most fundamental of
mathematical progressions and basic to all computation, as well as
representing two octave intervals - the foundations of all music.

To work out your very own personal alignment number, all you have to
do is to subtract your birthdate from 10/11/1948 (note the European
Day/Month/Year format), which we have defined as the reference date for
Alignment 0.  Here's an example, using 21 May 47 (21/5/1947):

Days:
10th - 21st =  10 - 21 = -11 (note the negative)
-11 = -1 + -1 =  -2 (watch those negatives again!)

Months:
11th - 5th = 11 - 5  = 6

Year:
1948 - 1947 = 1

Day difference + Month difference + Year difference = Alignment Number
-2 +6 +1 = Alignment 5

I must now ask all MCML members to assist in further research into this
earth-shattering discovery by providing their birthdates and calculating
their Alignment Numbers, and also giving a short summary of what they feel
to be their deepest, most permanent musical likes and dislikes - their Satz
Identities.  With a sample of some 900 classical music lovers we will have
ample data to analyse, and my hope is that by so doing we will be able to
define the essential characteristics of Alignment Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8 and 9 and further pin down the nature of Alignment 0 beyond more
precisely than "Cream and Mahler 10".

This is a great project, fellow listmembers, and no time for personal
reticence.  Send in your birthdates (or calculate your Alignment Number
yourself but please get it checked by a competent mathematician - it's well
known that music and maths often go together but sometimes they don't, and
mistakes here could seriously undermine the database for a great leap
forward in our understanding)

Perhaps we shall even discover that one of the as yet unexplored Alignments
is associated with a predisposition to play passages twice at the slightest
provocation, and therefore that those who are so inclined do it as a
consequence of an accident of birth rather than of a calculated decision,
whatever they may think about it.  On the other hand, if we find this
tendency is evenly distributed around all the Alignments, some other
explanation would be called for.  Such as that they're right.  So everyone
has a vested interest in determining the undetermined Alignments.  Get to
it, ladies and gentlemen of MCML!  Send in your preferences and those
birthdates!!

Ian Crisp
[log in to unmask]

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