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A Critical look at 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 which read as
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 duplications, 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 craftsman.
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
In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Schubert given
attention to these matters, he probably would have had the time to
finish his symphony.