Monday, May 31, 2010


Most people don't realize this when attending a choir performance, but each one of the members of a traditional choir has an amazing amount of background and experience in Statistics. While you were picking up "good looking" rocks to take home to your mom,1 they were deep in thought pondering the normal distribution.

The evidence of this exists in how choirs sing. To the untrained ear, the choir members of a particular section are all singing the same note. To the Statistician, however, she or he will note2 the fact that none of the members is actually singing the note indicated by the sheet music, but has chosen a pitch at random, from a distribution with a mean about the actual note.

True Statisticians will also realize that the probability of any choir member singing the same note is zero. This can be proven by attending any church function. QED.

Okay, I'm being a little too harsh. There are plenty of good choirs out there in the world. I just went to my good friend Reed's concert, where I was introduced to several dozen men who I have added to my list of Men Who I Pray Never Compete For The Same Woman I Do. They were wonderful men and excellent singers, which I found comforting because this means they also belong to the list of Men Who Would Never Go For Anybody Remotely In My League Anyways. It was easy to tell they were excellent singers because they had amazing diction, which was supremely helpful when they were singing Latin and Chinese. Just think how lost I would have been if they had bad diction while singing from the list of Languages I Have Never Learned.

I was pretty jealous of the dudes singing, mostly because I spent the better part of my high school career convinced that if I had joined the choir I would have been cool and thus would have made it into the high school musical, and thus would have been the lead, and thus would have caught the attention of my long-term crush Annie, and thus would have several beautiful children running and screaming while I composed this post. As it was, I spent my high school career playing the Bass in the pit during the musicals (in the small blocks of time that I was not getting tossed into lockers), while the choir boys danced above me with beautiful women, occasionally tossing a pitchfork at my head,3 and, less occasionally, looking the other way when I ducked out the back to puke the two liters of root beer I should not have tried to drink during the live performance.4

Later on in life I further miffed to learn that in choirs, the world is turned upside down. Instead of being lambasted as being effeminate little sissies, men with high voices are awarded positions of glory and honor.

My life would be so much different if I had stumbled onto that bit of information before middle school.

Still, I'm going to go work on lowering my voice again.5

1. This is completely factual. My yard still contains one that I brought home twenty years ago. This leads me to ask: was I exposed to pot at a younger age than I previously estimated?6
2. Ha ha, get it?! I said note! Ha! When talking about notes! I'm brilliant! Please, don't stop reading now. This is as bad as it gets. We can only go up from here.
3. This was not a figurative statement. The pitchfork was thrown at my head. It missed. Lesser men would have given into the temptation to break down and cry like a sissy, but not me (at least this time). The violin section was oh so proud of my bravery in action. The violin section consisted of my sister and her friends she paid off to be proud of me.
4. I was trying to be like my brother, who did those sorts of things without breaking a sweat. Not only did I break a sweat, I almost broke my bass with the ferocity of my flinging it down as I fled to the bathroom.
5. Not that I, um, did that in middle school.
6. No, I never smoked the stuff, but in ninth grade geography I sat next to a man whose smell left me feeling happy and munchy every day.

1 comment:

LRH said...

you play bass?