The top 10 greatest notes of all time

[First published in 2011 on Classical Life, but still true.]

Top 10 lists are big these days in the sophisticated world of the internet and its readership. Even the august New York Times (in January) got into the act recently by naming (or taking a deep breath and beginning to try to start to name) the 10 greatest composers of, like, forever. But never before has the world seen a list like the one we attempt today: The Top Ten Greatest Notes of All Time.

A word on our methods. First, we ate dinner. Then we started to think about doing the dishes but decided to do them later. They can wait. The food won’t stick, not with the dishwasher we have. (We paid a little extra.) Secondly, or thirdly, it’s hard to keep track, we got a committee of the world’s leading musicians together at a retreat in the mountains of Nevada, fed them lavishly and then corralled them all into a small meeting room without heat or air-conditioning and told them not to come out until they had settled on a list of the ten best notes ever. We took the resulting list and compared it to our own and decided to use ours. Theirs was totally wrong, a product of “group thinking” and “political correctness.”

We won’t claim that our list will be approved of by all. We’ve made some controversial choices, for sure, but, in sum, we stand by them. At the very least, we hope that our list of the Top Ten Greatest Notes of All Time will serve as a teachable moment, the start of a further and fruitful discussion, nationally and globally, on this most important topic. Without further ado, then …

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