Sunday, January 16, 2011

Top Ten, Once Again

I noticed some heated (and not entirely civil) discussion over at the Iron Tongue of Midnight concerning the over-analyzed (and pretty much limited to chapters 13 through 20 of the first edition (1960) of Grout) classical top ten list that the New York Times tossed into the virtual fishtank that is the musical blogosphere. Late last night I put a comment on one of Lisa's older posts, and I thought I'd repeat it here with some links and annotations.
Only a few top ten lists makes sense at all. Perhaps they can be divided into a few categories. Here's my top ten list of musical top ten lists (off the top of my head).

1. One that is funny and has nothing to do with anything meaningful (David Letterman-style)

2. One that has its participants limited to the numbers one through ten. Even with that kind of restriction, we would have serious arguments about which number is most important. I know that one is the loneliest. To prove the usefulness of the above item 1, David Letterman took this challenge on many years ago.

3. One where you really have to dig to get all ten slots filled, like the top ten ways you can slice a sandwich.

4. One that involves a control and a narrow span of time, like the top ten opera composers born before 1685.

5. One that lists the top ten arguments for Wagner being included on a list of top ten composers and not Verdi.

6. One that lists the top ten arguments for Verdi being included on a list of top ten composers and not Wagner.

7. The top ten reasons that Hildegard is considered an important composer.

8. The top ten songs from the Carmina Burana. (This will take a great deal of time to make, but the research does afford a great deal of pleasure.)

9. The top ten most prolific and least important composers of all time.

10. The top ten reasons for Tommasini to have written his article in the first place.


Michael Leddy said...

The top ten numbers:

1. Two.
2. Four.
3. Three.
4. Seven.
5. Nine.
6. Five.
7. Ten.
8. One.
9. Six.
10. Eight.

Let the debate begin!

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks Michael! Here's another example of a list, but this one includes pi!

Anonymous said...

One to three, that's 2:59,
For five sicks, who drank the wine:
Seven ate the large clementine,
Nein! Ten, shows then no decline.
-- A nonny mouse

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks for making me laugh, nonny mouse!