Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony

A company chairman was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. Since he was unable to go, he passed the invitation to the company’s Quality Assurance Manager.

The next morning, the chairman asked him how he enjoyed it and, instead of a few plausible observations, he was handed a memorandum:

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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, thus avoiding peaks of inactivity.

2. All twelve violins were playing identical notes. This seems unnecessary duplicative, and the staff of this section should be drastically cut. If a large volume of sound is really required, this could be obtained through the use of an amplifier.

3. Much effort was involved in playing the demi-semiquavers. This seems an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes should be rounded up to the nearest semiquaver. If this were done, it would be possible to use trainees instead of craftsmen.

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, the concert could be reduced from two hours to twenty minutes.

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

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