Schubert’s productivity

A company president was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert’s unfinished symphony. Since she had previous plans and was unable to go, she passed the tickets along to the Company’s Quality Assurance Manager. The next morning, the president asked the QA Manager how he enjoyed the symphony, and, instead of a few pleasant observations, she was handed a memorandum that read as follows:

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 duplication, and the staff of this section should be dramatically cut. If a large volume of sound is really required, an amplifier should be used.

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 the 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, with attendant savings.

In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had time to finish his symphony. And the finished symphony would have been of a much higher quality and able to be produced at a much lower cost.

Source unknown

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