Music, however, presents very special problems in this respect: for while it
is by no means absolutely unrelated to other forms and levels of social life, it
would seem to have the strongest affinities with that most abstract of all social realities, economics, with which it shares a peculiar ultimate object which is
number. The paradox is immediately underscored by the fact that the author of
Noise is a professional economist; meanwhile, the recurrent phenomenon of
child prodigies in music and in mathematics alike perhaps also suggests the
peculiarity of the numerical gift, which would seem to demand less practical
experience of the world and of social life than does work in other fields.