Survey Says

A few weeks ago Ben from Classical Convert posted a ranking of Beethoven’s symphonies based on the number of views the Karajan set got on Youtube. His conclusion was 957 364 812.

A while back, Miss Mussel started to develop a new personality test based on an individual’s ranking of the symphonies. As a philosophy, the idea was perhaps a tiny bit overambitious but scaled down ever so slightly into a Twitter game, it became a great way to waste a Friday afternoon.

Here’s the results arranged in ascending order.

@ViolaMaths: 359674812

@leboyfriend: 581732649

@gaspsiagore: 637598124
Ben: 67593????

@barbararathbone: 735694218
@sso_notes: 736521489
@jessicaduchen: 736594821
@chamberorch: 738519642
@mahlerfan2: 739645218

@missmussel: 753846219
@DrGeoduck: 756983412

@5357311: 761385429
@iainmclarty: 765934182

@wheresrunnicles: 784521396

@megoceleste: 795368421

@Scott_Harrison: 936754182

@eusebius24: 937658412

Admittedly the sample size is very small but inconsequential details like that haven’t stopped people from using studies of a dubious nature to prove their point in the past.

22% put Symphony No.9 last, 9% put in first and a whopping 78% put Symphony No.7 in top spot. 78% also put poor No.2 in one of the three last spots.

Probably the biggest difference between the Youtube sample and the Twitter samples is that Miss Mussel would guess that there are far more professional musicians and able amateurs in the latter group, which are less prone to Beethovenian hegemony and its attendant mythology.

[Has Miss Mussel mentioned that she was once enrolled on a PhD course? Sometime that stuff just leaks out.]

In spite of this rather fundamental difference, 44% of the sample returned some variant of 8412 as the last four digits, the same as the Youtube result.

Programmers: Alle menschen have spoken. Time to put the season opening/ending Choral symphony at the bottom of the closet for a while.


  1. Yvonne

    Ah, but you see, when a programmer schedules the Choral symphony they get money-spinner 1 (Beethoven) and money-spinner 2 (a large choir that will bring all its friends and family). My guess is that 2 offsets the fatigue of more jaded music-lovers as well as the preferences of those who know that Beethoven’s pure orchestral music is simply more fun.

  2. Miss Mussel

    Excellent points on both counts – a decent-sized choir could bring in 200 extra patrons….unless of course they’re comped out.

    For me, there is only one moment that challenges the horn entry in the first movement exposition of No.7 and that’s a well executed transition between movements three and four in the fifth.

    When done properly (as in exactly to my taste *ahem*), it’s blow-your-hair-back stuff.

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