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Dosen't matter what the numbers are. It's about sound. What are the numbers of fingerings that make a different tone or are alternatives for "standard" fingereings? Finger/key positions are also only one part of the equation as one can play different notes (harmonics) using the same fingerings.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Of course! It just seems interesting that there are so many more possible combinations than one would think. Nobody's going to use 350,000 different fingerings; it's played as an instrument, not a math problem! That being said, the instrument still makes for an interesting math problem.. :)
 

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Dosen't matter what the numbers are. It's about sound. What are the numbers of fingerings that make a different tone or are alternatives for "standard" fingereings? Finger/key positions are also only one part of the equation as one can play different notes (harmonics) using the same fingerings.
What's up with the ones that are the same note as another fingering but just slightly off pitch?
 

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Numbers can be interesting.

I write computer software.
I have an application that does some image analysis.
Within that application I have various settings that the user can make.
It was always a problem to know which are the ideal settings.
Aha, I thought, I will add some code to the program to allow the computer
to try every possible setting ( a bit like the sax fingering combinations).
Anyway it took me some time to make the changes.
I had libraries of images on the hard drive that the computer could run through,
test every possible combination of settings, and then compare the results.
The PC could sit there all night crunching numbers, and in the morning I would have
my answer.

After a couple of weeks writing code I was ready for the big test and fired it up.
I checked how much time it was taking to go through one combination of numbers
and then calculated how long it would take to try all possible combinations.

The outcome was that it would take more than the known life of the universe to
obtain a result.

I couldn't wait that long. I wasn't sure if my computer would still be working
after several billion years. I also thought, who would care about the result
after all that time anyway.
 

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Brilliant. I'd forgotten that story - last read it when I was a kid. The entire text of the story is online here.
Not just an excellent story but some of Asimov's ideas about computers in the story are remarkably prescient - the ever increasing power and decreasing size (although understandably he didn't guess just how fast this would happen); and even the idea of a central computer feeding data to a local device. He was one smart cookie.
 

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Of course! It just seems interesting that there are so many more possible combinations than one would think. Nobody's going to use 350,000 different fingerings; it's played as an instrument, not a math problem! That being said, the instrument still makes for an interesting math problem.. :)
I'm lousy at math, and my sax playing shows it!
 
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