Randomly Placed Qualifiers (Monday Quickie)

Hyperbole is, I guess, to be expected. After all, it is a classical rhetorical device, and pretty easy to pull off without fucking anything up.

Qualifying hyperbole weakens the effect of exaggeration, which is pretty much all it has going for it anyway.

Doing so at random is just confusing.

(Susan Pena, Reading Eagle, Concert Review: Philip Glass &c)

Philip Glass, the world's best known...living composer of classical music...

Really? I mean: possibly, sure, I guess. Maybe. But, hey. Hyperbole, am I right, folks?

Philip Glass, the world's best known and possibly most prolific living composer of classical music...

"Possibly" the most prolific, but the unqualified best-known [sic, or anti-sic(?)] composer?


Also, and not for nothing: it seems like "most prolific" is actually, you know, researchable and verifiable. Unlike "best known" [sic].

Doo dee doo dee do.

Figure 1: Philip Glass Cutty Sark advertisment, Newsweek, 1982


Gustav said...

from the bio of former Composition professor William Schirmer at Jacksonville University:

"Dr Schirmer teaches second-year theory, counterpoint, form and analysis and composition. His works, which currently number over 3,700, include 258 symphonies, 403 piano sonatas and 217 string quartets as well as numerous works in all genres."

Empiricus said...

I don't believe you, because:

1. I can't find his bio.
2. No one can possibly toss things off faster than Glass.
3. Nobody serious writes sonatas anymore.

Gustav said...

I wanted to find the link, but unfortunately I think he retired from Jacksonville University. But I assure you it is real.

I was on this school's website and came across his gem of a bio. I immediate emailed it to several friends who all got a kick out it.

Plus, it's most fun to play with all the math. Like...

If he wrote music for 50 years. That's about 5 symphonies a year.
8 piano sonatas a year, and
4 string quartets a year

If he wrote nothing else, and we assume that he wrote on piece at a time, he is therefore writing 17 pieces a year. Evenly divided over the year, that's approx. 21 days per piece. So every 3 weeks, the guy finished a piano sonata, then immediate started a symphony, which he would then proceed to finish in...3 weeks.

I love that game.

Gustav said...

Check this link out.

This young composer actually cites this same information.

Search for Schirmer's name or, just scroll to the very bottom.

More fun math. Since he claims over 3700 works, and not just the symphonies, S.Q.s and piano sonatas.

Over 50 years, he would have composed approx. 74 works a year. We previously established that 17 of those were the big boys. That leaves 57 more works year he had to cram into his calendar.

If he required just 2 days for each of those smaller scale 57 works, that would take him 114 days. There he would have only 242 days (with no holidays in those 50 years) to finish his 17 major works. That leaves him only 2 weeks per piece.

Empiricus said...

Jethuth Chritht.

Don't forget, he also taught. If he taught/worked 40 hours a week for 50 years, and assuming he took four weeks of vacation each year, that would leave him only 340,800 hours of sleep + non-sleep time left in order to write 3,700 pieces. That means it took roughly 92 hours, or 4 days for each piece. Not counting sleep.

Sator Arepo said...

Drink Cutty Sark (tm)!

Empiricus said...

"Here's to those who can make history out of the same 7 notes"--that, I think, is more appropriate.

Sator Arepo said...

I see now that my snarky [anti-sic] was misdirected.

Clearly, "best known classical composer" means "the best one we know about," right?