Good morning. Today I am going to test your mental arithmetic.
To do so I shall ask you to give me the sum of a series of ones. I shall say
One and one and one and one and one and one, etc.
Of course you won't know ahead of time when I will stop.
I shall speak rhythmically in time with a metronome and lead you in with my conductor's baton so you know when to start.
As you know, I have already tested you and I know that you cannot carry more than one syllable in your head at a time at the speed I will go.
I know that you are a concert pianist and so have remarkable finger control and can think independently of your finger movements. I know that your only language is English and that you have an excellent education in all aspects of that language. I also know you are quite knowledgeable about computer theory.
You will not have time to devise a new and wonderful system so you must use your current knowledge and skills to the best effect.
Assuming that the tester runs a series of tests and keeps increasing the number of ones each time, how far can the pianist get in this test just using one-syllable mental arithmetic, plus her current knowledge plus her fingers?
She is allowed to do a few minutes of calculation when the tester has stopped speaking.
Thumbs are counted as fingers. No other parts of the body are allowed.
Assume an unlimited amount of mental and physical stamina. This person can play whole concerts of long pieces after all! (and probably practices for 40 hrs per day - [See note])
- 1 - 10
- 11 to 100
- 101 to 1,000
- 1,001 to 10,000
- 10,001 to 100,000
- 100,001 to 1,000,000
- More than that.
Can you be even more precise?
- a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; for example, there are two syllables in water and three in inferno. Powered by Oxford Dictionaries
Note: Practising 40 hours per day is an in-joke for many musicians. Consult Google.