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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Welcome 2009

Welcome 2009

Thanks to my resourceful friend Richard, our high school learning pizza was peppered with all sorts of zany toppings. One month we'd become engrossed in the study of biorhythms, watching anxiously how our dating lives correlated with sinusoidal oscillations, only to ditch them for some other novelty a few weeks later - like the French revolutionary calendar, which we used with the revolutionary zest for a number of months while filling our lexical purse with exotic coins of a new temporal currency. Good bye April, June, August and October - Hello Vendemiaire, Frimaire, Fructose and Messidor. What a welcome relief from the drudgery of our High School curriculum! In those days of unripe raspberries, we had also contrived a cult of the number nine and ascribed to it powers stretching well beyond the usual numerological jurisdiction.

With the advent of college, most of this folly went away, but my affinity to the number nine prevailed. After all it is the highest single digit in the decimal system and our planetary system used to have nine planets, until astronomers started to mess with it. But there is one peculiarity singling the number nine out, which astronomers can do nothing about - and it comes from music.

Let's take a look at the number of symphonies that various famous composers wrote:

1 - Grieg, Wagner
2 - Liszt, Weber
3 - Rimskij-Korsakov, Rachmaninov
4 - Brahms, Berlioz
5 - Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
6 - Tchaikowski
7 - Sibelius, Prokofiev
8 - Schulhoff
9 - Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Dvorak, Schubert
15 - Shostakovich
41 - Mozart

Even if you have no appreciation for distributions of random variables, you can see that there is something disturbingly non-random going on here. And it is not that I padded the list of "Niners" with some second rate fiddlers. They are all Masters of the Trade, Beethoven and Mahler being arguably sans pareil. The history of music is thus confirming that Nine is indeed the number to be revered.

Now that we are about to enter the Year of Nine, I hope its magic powers will manifest themselves. Welcome!


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