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Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 206
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 5:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I overheard this chunk of a chat recently, was intrigued, and asked about it (and was interested in the explanation; a topic I already enjoy, it turned out).
Hope you're intrigued, too -- I think I have it verbatim... ~ Y

"Everybody was doing four, maybe three, occasionally five or seven..."
"What about six, and twelve?"
"Oh, sure -- those, of course. But he was doing, like, seventeen, routinely."


what are they talking about? And I'd really like you to find out who "he" is...
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 1391
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 1:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are the numbers size measurements? Counts? Repetitions? Labels/identifications? Speeds?
Probably_monty_hall (Probably_monty_hall)
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Post Number: 118
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 3:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Everybody = H/A/M? Birds?
He = H/A/M? A bird?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 212
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 4:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are the numbers size measurements? Counts? this Repetitions? Labels/identifications? Speeds?

Everybody = H/A/M? some HAFs as well (mostly HAM), but irr Birds?
He = H/A/M? yes, and relevant A bird?
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1394
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 5:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Counts --> of objects? of people? of categories of something? of animals? of skills?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 214
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 5:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Counts --> of objects? of people? of categories of something? this is closest of animals? of skills?
we may have a brisk puzzle here...
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1395
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 5:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

would "types" fit better than categories?

categories/types of people?
categories/types of skills?
categories/types of actions?
categories/types of things?
categories/types of tasks?

When someone does a certain number (use five as an example), is he doing five simultaneously? one after the other? in a certain period of time? or is it that he is able to do five (i.e. his repertoire consists of five)?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 216
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 6:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

would "types" fit better than categories?
in your previous post, "of categories of something?" the close part was the "something," rather than "categories." Perhaps not much help, but may stave off a wee FA. Let's say it's "counts of something intangible."

categories/types of people?
categories/types of skills?
categories/types of actions?
categories/types of things? ...so this is closest.
categories/types of tasks?

When someone does a certain number (use five as an example), is he doing five simultaneously? no. one after the other? thus, this. in a certain period of time? nearly this. or is it that he is able to do five (i.e. his repertoire consists of five)? no, "five" is pretty straightforward, but "seventeen" legitimately astonished the fellows having the chat -- in my opinion.
Alex319 (Alex319)
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Post Number: 874
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Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 7:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are higher numbers always more impressive than lower numbers?

Were they playing a game? Video game? Board game? Sports competition? Some other kind of competition? Are the numbers a score of some kind? A difficulty rating? Is the goal to get the highest number possible?
Natanz (Natanz)
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Post Number: 156
Registered: 8-2009
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 8:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were they doing repetitions in training? Like weight lifting? Or other fitness related repetitions?

Do 6 and 12 have specific meaning, or could that person for example also have asked about 8 and 11?

Is money involved? Food? Gigs? Music? Drugs? Movies?

Can everyone do 17? Routinely? Is it good to do 17? Or does that depend on your physical condition?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 217
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 2:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are higher numbers always more impressive than lower numbers? yope

Were they playing a game? Video game? Board game? Sports competition? Some other kind of competition? Are the numbers a score of some kind? A difficulty rating? Is the goal to get the highest number possible? none of this

Were they doing repetitions in training? Like weight lifting? Or other fitness related repetitions? not this

Do 6 and 12 have specific meaning, they do or could that person for example also have asked about 8 and 11? highly unlikely

Is money involved? indirectly; let's say irr Food? Gigs? this, a bit Music? and this Drugs? not necessarily this, but sometimes Movies? not this

Can everyone do 17? in theory, yes; in practice, not so much Routinely? yes, for the ones who can Is it good to do 17? it's impressive, at least -- although it's not to everyone's taste. Or does that depend on your physical condition? not this
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1400
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 12:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is he a musician? A dancer? A DJ? A bartender?

When he does 17, is it as part of a job?
Natanz (Natanz)
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Post Number: 158
Registered: 8-2009
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 3:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is there a maximum number that is theoretically possible? Physically possible?

Is there a minimum number that is theoretically possible? Physically possible?

Is 1/2 possible?

Are the numbers just counts, or do they also stand for something (like cities?) Romance relevant?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 227
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 5:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is he a musician? this A dancer? A DJ? A bartender?

When he does 17, is it as part of a job? yes

Is there a maximum number that is theoretically possible? technically, no - although "17" is scraping the ceiling of conventional values for this. Physically possible? infinity is possible, although I've not seen it yet... that would be pretty experimental. Maybe I'll try to be the pioneer!

Is there a minimum number that is theoretically possible? 1 is possible, but let's say it's impractical - 2 is typically the lowest applicable number. Physically possible? 1 is possible, zero is not.
I hope the numerical answers above don't mislead...
Is 1/2 possible? no.

Are the numbers just counts, yes... or do they also stand for something ...but they do stand for something... (like cities? ...although nothing tangible like this.) Romance relevant? according to my wife it is, and I'm inclined to agree - although it's irrelevant to this puzzle.
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1402
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 7:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is he a singer? A drummer or other percussionist? a pianist? a wind player? A strings player?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 229
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 11:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is he a singer? A drummer or other percussionist? a pianist? a wind player?<-this, and also a ____... A strings player? not this, nor any of the rest.
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1404
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 2:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

wind player --> did he play the flute? trumpet? clarinet? oboe? french horn? saxophone? tuba? trombone? baritone? recorder? harmonica? didgeridoo? If none of these, to which is it most similar?

also a ___ --> does the blank indicate that he is a different kind of musician than those listed? A composer? A conductor? A tap dancer?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 236
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 3:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

wind player --> did he play the flute? trumpet? this, but he's known more for being a ____. clarinet? oboe? french horn? saxophone? tuba? trombone? baritone? recorder? harmonica? didgeridoo? If none of these, to which is it most similar?

also a ___ --> does the blank indicate that he is a different kind of musician than those listed? A composer? this... A conductor? ...and this; if you put these two together, you can arrive at the filled ____. Want to give it a shot? A tap dancer?
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1407
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Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 4:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

band leader? writer/director? something along these lines?

Is his ability to do 17 related to his trumpeting abilities? conducting abilities? songwriting abilities?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 237
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 5:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

band leader? that's it, exactly. writer/director? something along these lines?

Is his ability to do 17 related to his trumpeting abilities? conducting abilities? this, a bit... songwriting abilities? ...and this -- let's say "yesish" to both of those.
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 1410
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Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 7:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

17 band members? 17 of the same instrument? 17 notes?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 238
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Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 11:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

17 band members? 17 of the same instrument? 17 notes?<-this is OTRT
Gourami (Gourami)
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Username: Gourami

Post Number: 810
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 11:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

17 beats per measure? 17 notes per second (or minute)? A jump up or down seventeen notes (as in, a major seventeenth? That would be rather odd.)? Is this something he does as he conducts? As he plays trumpet? Both? Does the entire band do it?

Is 17 not only amazing for how high a number it is, but for how odd it is (i.e., not a number typically used in western music)?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 240
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 12:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

17 beats per measure? this, precisely -- can anyone tell me who was the topic of the repartee? 17 notes per second (or minute)? A jump up or down seventeen notes (as in, a major seventeenth? That would be rather odd.)? Is this something he does as he conducts? As he plays trumpet? Both? this... Does the entire band do it? ...and this -- they all do it.

Is 17 not only amazing for how high a number it is, but for how odd it is both, in that it's complex, and challenging for the musician to count (i.e., not a number typically used in western music)?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 1417
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 2:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was 17 beats per measure something he normally did in a variety of songs? Or was there just one special song that was written this way?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 243
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 3:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was 17 beats per measure something he normally did in a variety of songs?
b{this, or at least, other unusual numbers of beats per measure.} Or was there just one special song that was written this way? There's one in particular I'm thinking of, but it's not necessarily relevant.
Any idea who this relevant HAM might be?
I'm not sure how googling might help find out...
At any rate, the $poil is imminent; just waiting to see if you can name this fellow.
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 1422
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 3:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Based on the trumpet/band leader clue, I'll guess: Louis Armstrong? Miles Davis? Wynton Marsalis?
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 246
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 3:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Based on the trumpet/band leader clue, I'll guess: Louis Armstrong? Miles Davis? Wynton Marsalis?
All good guesses, but none is correct. Perhaps it will help to know that this trumpeter/band leader is no longer living?
And perhaps it helps to know that while he wasn't a film score composer, per se, he did one for a classic 70s film...
Sunset1123 (Sunset1123)
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 6:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

email sent
Sunset1123 (Sunset1123)
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Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 6:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

email sent
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 248
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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 2:38 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sunset1123
"email sent"
Right you are, exactly.
care to $poil?
I have an engagement for a couple of hours, so if you don't get to it, I'll follow up -- including the scenario in which I overheard the dialogue...
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 249
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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 5:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sunset1123 sent a note with the correct answer (and two box-tops from specially-marked packages), so here's the

* * * * * SPOILER * * * * *

"Everybody was doing four, maybe three, occasionally five or seven..."
"What about six, and twelve?"
"Oh, sure -- those, of course. But he was doing, like, seventeen, routinely."


The speakers were referring to beats per measure in music; jazz, specifically.

The HAM in question is the great jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Don Ellis (1934 - 1978).
Before I posted the puzzle, I wrote out a nice spoiler, but the Wikipedia article on time signatures tells the story better and prettier than I could (with the nice illustrations, and all).

I overheard a couple of teens at one of the local coffee bars (my little town has two) talking jazz.
The track they were referring to was "New Horizons," on Ellis's 1967 release, Electric Bath. Here's a YouTube clip of Ellis playing it with his big band; the 17/8 time signature bit starts about 2:25 into the clip. Check it out.
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 1431
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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 5:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

playing something in 17/8 time must be painfully difficult! I can see why they were impressed.
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 252
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 6:27 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

yes, it's tricky.
But if you count the seventeen beats (really fast) like this, 2|3|2|3|2|2|3 [one-two one-two-three one-two one-two-three one-two one-two one-two-three], then you hear a kind of syncopated seven-beat pattern. You'll hear that in the New Horizons clip, if you're into counting it out.
Ellis is brilliant, and I love the stuff. Glad he's still catching on with the young crowd.
Yojimbo (Yojimbo)
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Post Number: 253
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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

oops - in the last post, I notated the New Horizons pattern wrong; it's actually 3|2|3|2|2|2|3 -- the tiny counting suggestion would be altered accordingly.
lest you think I'm foolish.
Biograd (Biograd)
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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 7:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When I was in high school, I took a class in MIDI. This one other student in the class composed a piece in which the time signature increased repeatedly throughout, with the numbers in the signatures being a series of successive primes. It was something like 2/1 --> 3/2 --> 5/3 --> ...

It must have gone quite high, as the primes increase quickly once you get past 7 or so.

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