Friday, June 4, 2021

0 & 00

No. 359 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT eries of audio montages can be found in our archives at


This week’s new podcast continues our revisit of “Music by the Numbers” with a look at a pair of numbers that are kind of unusual in musical numerology.

The numbers

Roulette is a casino game named after the French word meaning “little wheel” which was likely developed from the Italian game Biribi. In the game, players may choose to place bets on either a single number, various groupings of numbers, the colors red or black, whether the number is odd or even, or if the numbers are high (19–36) or low (1–18).

The pockets of the roulette wheel are numbered from 0 to 36. In number ranges from 1 to 10 and 19 to 28, odd numbers are red and even are black. In ranges from 11 to 18 and 29 to 36, odd numbers are black and even are red. There is a green pocket numbered 0 (zero). In American roulette, there is a second green pocket marked 00.

In clothing, size zero or size 0 is a women's clothing size in the US catalog sizes system. Size 0 and 00 were invented due to the changing of clothing sizes over time (referred to as vanity sizing or size inflation), which has caused the adoption of lower numbers.

The Music

It is unusual to have works numbered “0” – let alone “00” – but this is the case with the pair of early Bruckner symphonies featured today.

The Symphony in D minor, WAB 100, was composed in 1869 between Symphony No. 1 (1866) and Symphony No. 2 (1872). In 1895, when Bruckner reviewed his symphonies in order to have them published, he declared that this symphony "does not count" ("gilt nicht"). He wrote on the front page "annullirt" ("nullified") and replaced the original "Nr. 2" with the symbol "". The symbol "" was later interpreted as the numeral zero and the symphony got the nickname Die Nullte ("No. 0").

Bruckner's Symphony in F minor, WAB 99, was written in 1863, at the end of his study period in form and orchestration. Bruckner's F-minor symphony was initially designated “Symphony No. 1”, and, in a letter to his friend Rudolf Weinwurm dated 29 January 1865, Bruckner described the C-minor symphony he was working on at the time as his Symphony No. 2. Later Bruckner decided to leave the F-minor symphony unnumbered, and he called the C-minor symphony of 1865–66 his Symphony No. 1.

Criticism of the work led Bruckner to label the symphony "Schularbeit" (schoolwork) or Study Symphony; scholars at first believed that the next symphony Bruckner wrote was the so-called Symphony "No. 0", so that this symphony is sometimes called “Symphony No. 00”.

I think you will love this music too.

No comments:

Post a Comment