Democracy, Live and in Concert

At Saturday’s concert by the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, the program offered a menu for the second half:  The audience was to vote on whether it wished to hear the Tschaikovsky Serenade, the Dvorák Serenade, or Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet (arranged for small string orchestra). After the intermission, the conductor briefly discussed each composer and described each piece, then asked for a show of hands.  

I was worried: What if a plurality favored the Schubert (my choice), but the Dvorák had been a close second, with a majority of people vehemently against hearing the Schubert performed by anything other than four string instruments? I don’t imagine that second-preference voting would have been possible (fancier voting schemes regrettably generate larger transactions costs), so we would have listened to the Schubert even though more people would have been better off with the Dvorák.  

Fortunately, a small majority of the audience shared my preference and we achieved the first-best (and heard a wonderful performance)!

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  1. Ron says:

    the orchestra should have played all 3 pieces at the same time, with the number of instruments allocated to each piece being proportional to the number of votes…that would be democracy…

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  2. robin marlowe says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. robin marlowe says:

    Note- I do apologize to anyone who might have incorrectly assumed that my usage of the term “spade” referred to anthing else but a tool or card. I was not aware til informed by my spouse of a derogatory usage of the term. The issue has nothing to do with race.

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  4. Dale Sheldon-Hess says:

    How would the conductor have known if someone had voted for two pieces?

    That wouldn’t be cheating, it would be approval voting. And unlike other alternate voting methods, there isn’t a higher transaction cost, even though it goes a long way (although not quite all the way) towards eliminating the kind of second-preference fears you mentioned.

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  5. crquack says:

    As a side issue: What lead Mr. Hamermesh to include *half* the diacritical marks in Dvorak’s name and not the other half?

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