I’m sure many
of you, upon reading the title of this article, will be slightly taken aback.
It does seem to promise the impossible – how can you count ninety-nine bars
rest on your fingers when you only have ten of them to manipulate? There
doesn’t seem to be any logic to it. And yet it can be done. And I’m going to
teach you how.

Well, actually
that’s not quite true. In fact I’m going to point you in the direction of a
video that will teach you how. I know that may seem like a bit of a cop-out,
but what’s the point in me trying to explain something when somebody else has
already done it perfectly? It was from this video that I myself learnt the
technique in question, and I hope that you find it as brilliantly useful as I
have. If you’re anything like me, it will get you out of innumerable scrapes
where a brief loss of concentration would normally give the disastrous result
of a miscount.

Whilst we’re on the subject of counting
bars rest on your fingers, I suppose it’s actually possible to count up to
one-thousand-and-twenty-three if you use the correct technique. You simply need
to use a binary system. To do this, you must assign each finger on your hand
with a numerical value, like so:

Now, the key
thing to remember is that if a finger is raised it counts as zero. If it is
down then it takes the value assigned to it in the above image. The total
number is the sum of all the ‘down’ fingers. So if, for example, your left
forefinger and right ring finger were both down, that would represent the
number sixty-six. Using this system, it is possible to represent any number
from zero right up to one-thousand-and-twenty-three. This is how computers
count (and represent data generally), because at the end of the day, like a
finger can only be ‘up’ or ‘down’ for our purposes, an electrical switch can
only ever be ‘on’ or ‘off’.

Of course, for
practical purposes of counting rests this system is next to useless. For a
start, I can’t imagine it ever being one hundred percent necessary to count
over a thousand bars rest. And secondly, counting in binary is hardly the most
intuitive thing in the world. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting thought.

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