Jazz Math
by Bill Anschell
Copyright 2004 by Bill Anschell
If x is the number of chord changes in a tune, and y is the tempo at which it is played, then xy = factor by which a guitarist will turn down his amp.
# (notes/measure played by a saxophonist on a ballad) is proportional to # (drinks he has consumed).
4 + 4.125 + 4 + 3.875 + 4 + (4.667) + 4 + (x, where x is unknown) = 1 chorus trading with drummer.
(2 + 5 + 1) x (# of freshman college jazz students, internationally) = annual income of Jamie Aebersold, in dollars.
Infinity = (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) + (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) + (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) …
5/4 + 7/4 + 11/4 = drummer’s gig
If (# of drinks consumed, per musician) > (# of drinks comped by club), then unrest will prevail unless (cost per drink) < 1/20 (pay for gig).
1 uptempo tune +1 rushing drummer + x (double lattes) = x (fights among horn players to solo first)
1 ballad + 1 dragging drummer + x (Percocets) = 1 cleared house, where x is proportional to the speed at which the room empties
2 (diddles) = paradiddle
Jam session + eighthnote rest = missed opportunity.
Jam session + (quarternote rest or greater) = band on break.
{(New + York) squared – (NewNew + Yorkyork + Yorknew) + New York + 2 (Ride + Sally) – Sally} divided by (less than five seconds) = medley from hell
(1/vocalist’s experience in years) x (# of beats per measure) x 32 = # of unintended modulations + skipped beats, per chorus.
If x = piano’s deviance from being in tune, y = volume level of drummer, z = length of gig, and d = number of drinks consumed by pianist on break, then (d) (xyz/pay of the gig, in dollars), predicts the probability of pianist urinating in his instrument.
“Vow of Poverty” theorem: If # people in audience < # of musicians on bandstand, then pay per musician < one individual cover charge.
“Bass” theorem: A musician’s IQ is inversely proportional to the size of his/her instrument, and directly related to the register of the instrument.
“Rule of One” theorem: (Universe of jazz vocalists) v (# of jazz vocalists who sing “Summertime”) = 1 = rank of “Summertime” among tunes most despised by instrumentalists.
“Devil’s Music” theorem: Smooth Jazz = square root of all evil.
“Two Americas” Buffet theorem: Fresh salmon/flaccid spanakopita + prime rib/limp eggrolls + jumbo shrimp/soggy chicken fingers = high society gig/Elks Club gig
How much should a gig pay, based on the following conditions: drive 90 miles outside of town through pouring rain; set up two hours in advance; load in through slimy kitchen accessed by treacherous outdoor staircase; and play four hours of continuous crappy dance favorites for drunk rich people?
Would you take it for 1/2 that much? (If yes): Desperation/pride > 1
After you bid on the above gig for 1/3 your worth, a college student offers to play the same gig for ½ as much. You are 12 times as good as him, but ½ as goodlooking. The client has a tin ear. Who will get the job? Why do you bother practicing?
If a trumpet player counts off a tune in 4/4 at mm = 180, and the drummer slows it down at a constant rate of deceleration over 8 measures to mm = 150, does the pianist still suck?
If a bassist plays a root, a pianist superimposes a major seventh chord built on the fifth, and a saxophonist plays the 13 th, will attractive women notice? Will the drummer?
If a successful attorney earns 3x as much as a successful musician, but the musician believes his work is 4x as fulfilling, who actually has larger genitalia?
Your trio is set up in a perfect equilateral triangle. A singer sets up exactly in the middle. Will the three of you be divided against the singer, or against one another?
If (% of Americans who like jazz) < (% of Americans who like chainsaw sculptures), what is America’s most important indigenous art form?
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