Improving Orchestral Efficiency
Memo From: Efficiency & Ticket, Ltd., Management Consultants
To: Chairman, The London Symphony Orchestra
Re: Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor.
After attending a rehearsal of this work we make the following observations and
Conclusion: if the above recommendations are implemented the piece under
condsideration could be played through in less than half an hour with
concomitant savings in overtime, lighting and heating, wear and tear on the
instruments and hall rental fees. Also, had the composer been aware of modern
cost-effective procedures he might well have finished this work.
- We note that the twelve first violins were playing identical notes, as were
the second violins. Three violins in each section, suitably amplified, would
seem to us to be adequate.
- Much unnecessary labour is involved in the number of demisemiquavers in this
work; we suggest that many of these could be rounded up to the nearest
semiquaver thus saving practice time for the individual player and rehearsal
time for the entire ensemble. The simplification would also permit more use
of trainee and less-skilled players with only marginal loss of precision.
- We could find no productivity value in string passages being repeated by the
horns; all tutti repeats could also be eliminated without any reduction of
- In so labour-intensive an undertaking as a symphony, we regard the long oboe
tacet passages to be extremely wasteful. What notes this instrument is called
upon to play could, subject to a satisfactory demarcation conference with the
Musician's Union, be shared out equitably amongst the other instruments.