Estimate the number of magic effects...give me a number, please

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 08/16/07 03:23 PM

I know that this is a bit crazy and yes, I know that a classic effect can be modified to create a different routining, and yes, I know that new effects are being created all the time, but...if you had to answer the question: How many magic effects are there? what would your answer be?

I was speaking to an outsider to magic and I wanted to give them the magnitude of this activity. My wild guess is that there 20,000 magic tricks/effects "out there."

Again, I know that we can get into a very long discussion of what is an effect,currently practiced versus just published and not performed, etc. etc. etc. but what is a reasonable number?
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Postby Guest » 08/16/07 04:59 PM

O.k. Let me change my word choice from effects to routines using sleights, gimmicks, self-working etc. If you had to catalog everything ever done, how many would it be?
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Postby Guest » 08/16/07 05:21 PM

Jack Potter divided the magic he indexed into about 1150 categories. This included all the effects he came across (ie. cards to pocket) but he also sometimes included methods (ie. card forces).
I suspect that 20,000 categories is too many. And if you include every contribution, and by that I mean all variations counted separately, then 20,000 might be too few.
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Postby Guest » 08/16/07 05:42 PM

apparent magical effect or event/presentation context within the performance/methodology used to make the trick work/prop schema (billiards or candles or cards... same trick)/staging/relationship of conjurer to the magic/relationship of conjurer to audience

several distinct dimensions to consider.
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Postby Guest » 08/16/07 06:11 PM

I would like to go in the direction of not categories but pretending that the Conjuring Arts Research Center gave me the job of listing every magic trick (first presentation and all variants)ever published or if not published demonstrated. If I had to list one trick per recipe card, how many recipe cards would I have to use? 30,000 cards for 30,000 tricks? 40,000? 50,000?
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Postby Guest » 08/16/07 10:52 PM

The model I use in my Abracadata database is:

1. Tricks and Flourishes are kinds of Effects

2. Effects and Sleights are kinds of Feats

///ark
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 01:30 AM

Something about angels and pins comes to mind...
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 04:45 AM

Magician shows stuff happened according to some outside plan.

Magician shows stuff obeys his will.

Magician shows stuff will happen according to some outside plan.

That's three. Any more?
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 05:24 AM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Magician shows stuff happened according to some outside plan.

Magician shows stuff obeys his will.

Magician shows stuff will happen according to some outside plan.

That's three. Any more?
Where can I buy this 'stuff' you speak of? Sounds like a pack-flat-no-thread-or-rough-and-smooth-audience-pleasing killer to me.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 05:45 AM

The question was about EFFECT.

The nouns (assistant, billiard) and verbs (mulitply, vanish, appear) can all drop out and we get to the basic EFFECTS. Likewise the adverbs and adjectives (visibly, borrowed) drop out as they are impertinant to EFFECT and only pertain to emotional AFFECT in particular context.

Look what was...

Watch as I...

And we will see that...

Grammar comes after spelling. :rolleyes:

So far we have three effects. Are there more?
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 08:04 AM

Those who picked up on the spirit of my question and provided a helpful answer, thank you.

If you follow some other philosophical discussion about effects, grammer, etc., then you are off track.

Again, if you had to list every magic trick that ever appeared in a catalog, a book, TV show, lecture, friend-to-friend presentation, how many tricks would there be?

Since this discussion is moving the direction I thought it would (off-topic, hair splitting chat), I'm going to have develop my own assumptions: I assume that there are about 35,000 magic tricks in the world.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 08:22 AM

Originally posted by gegood:
...if you had to list every magic trick...I assume that there are about 35,000 magic tricks in the world.
So far we have three, though one might expect there to be more though so far none have offered a fourth.

There is no need to fuss over a list of nouns and verbs.

example
multiplying aardvarks
multiplying armadillos
multiplying arms
multiplying rabbits
multiplying doves
multiplying billiards
multiplying playing cards

as such was already and formally discussed as performer shows that (VERB-NOUN) as per one of the three effects listed earlier.

A quick look in a dictionary would lead one to estimate a list with greatly more entries than the proffered number. As to what sort of presentation would permit those instances of an effect to entertain an audience... a scripting problem rather than one of EFFECT.

Funny how grammar is so often studied after spelling and how rhetoric is lost in the catalog.

BTW, remaining willfully ignorant or demonstrating a talent at sophistry is covered under the three but perhaps "magician fools self to amuse audience" deserves its own category in comedy magic?
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 08:32 AM

Assuming each magic book has 20 routines (some have 1, some have none, and some have hundreds- i.e. Stewart James' work and Greater Magic).

So, your task is simple: find the total number of magic books ever printed, and multiply that number by 20.

And when I say simple, I mean time consuming and rather pointless.

Just make up a number. I say 100,000 (remember folks, he's including EVERY VARIATION...)

Good luck!
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 08:37 AM

Originally posted by Nordatrax:
...So, your task is simple: find the total number of magic books ever printed, and multiply that number by 20...
I understood the the question to be how many there are as opposed to how many have been recorded, explained or sold to date.

From the starting post:
How many magic effects are there? what would your answer be?
BTW there are probably about 100,000 ambitious card routines out there already. ;)
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 08:48 AM

How about magician shows stuff obeys spectator's will?

Sounds like we've hit FOUR solid effects...
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 08:55 AM

Originally posted by John Wilson:
How about magician shows stuff obeys spectator's will?
Some of Hofzinser's presentations are along those lines.

Great that you are thinking about this stuff.

IMHO a volunteer is part of "outside" covered in item three along with spirits, elder gods, planetary fields and the invisible mouse that controls the props on the table.

What say you?
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 09:27 AM

In the original Potter index there are about 100,000 entries. This ended sometime in the 70s but Micky Hades has been keeping it up and I believe it is now over 125,000 entries. Most of these are effects, but some are methods too. I would guess that between 100,00 and 150,000 effects have been developed. How many are worth doing is another issue entirely.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 10:14 AM

Originally posted by gegood:
...pretending that the Conjuring Arts Research Center gave me the job of listing every magic trick ...one trick per recipe card, how many recipe cards would I have to use?
I agree with Bill Kalush's estimate of tricks in our literature/history to date. That order of magnitude probably covers other cultures and their history as well.

Okay so how many library card cabinets would that take up in total?
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Postby Brandon Hall » 08/17/07 01:29 PM

39,652
"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"
P. Townshend
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Postby Brandon Hall » 08/17/07 01:33 PM

Originally posted by gegood:
I'm going to have develop my own assumptions: I assume that there are about 35,000 magic tricks in the world.
You devloped your assumption out of spite??
"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"
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Postby Philippe Billot » 08/17/07 01:41 PM

Originally posted by Brandon Hall:
39,652
Do you think the 10 852th is the best ?
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Postby Guest » 08/17/07 05:50 PM

Originally posted by Brandon Hall:
Originally posted by gegood:
[b] I'm going to have develop my own assumptions: I assume that there are about 35,000 magic tricks in the world.
You devloped your assumption out of spite?? [/b]
Most assumptions that are developed out of spite are based upon arrogance fostered by ignorance and a lack of knowledge of a subject and its vocabulary.

gegood has demonstrated all of these in spades.
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Postby Guest » 08/18/07 03:28 AM

Mr. Bill Palmer, you are totally right about me. I am a bad dude. My other interests beyond magic include dog fighting and helping advance terrorism. I do, however, so enjoy performing magic for my fellow death row inmates.

All of that reminds me: Special thanks to Mr. Kalush who provided very helpful information. Since stepping into magic just two years ago, I have been wondering just how large is the magic universe. I was surprised to discover just how rich an art magic is. Numerous conventions, books, magazines, lectures, etc., etc., etc. Tremendous energy and creativity everywhere. For me, a beginner, it is both exciting and overwhelming.
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Postby Guest » 08/18/07 10:27 AM

Be careful what you say on the internet. Big brother is watching you.

It's kind of funny. When people tried to explain where your assumptions about the meanings of words were lacking, you got belligerent.

People responded in kind. Being a beginner is no excuse. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.

You might even learn a little about how to think about magic.

For example, there may be 2,000 different coin assmbly tricks by name, but there are only a limited number of methods, and to the spectator, for the most part the effect is the same.
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Postby Guest » 08/18/07 03:55 PM

Since camera tricks and mass use of stooges has become acceptable to a number of magicians, the number of effects is now infinite. Sad
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Postby Guest » 08/19/07 04:40 AM

In my mind there are only two:

1: Those I like
2: All the rest.

Over analyzing confuses the issue.

Adrian
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Postby Guest » 09/06/07 09:38 PM

In my book there is only one. "Change".
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Postby Guest » 09/07/07 12:51 AM

Objects betray the will of everyone... without outside plan or consideration...
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Postby Guest » 09/11/07 05:50 AM

Of course, the number posited only reflects the published record. There are any number of effects and methods that remain unpublished, the property of the performer who originated them or those who were taught or bought them.

Then there are the special unpublished "touches" that are often required to make the presentation work for an audience.

I would suggest that instead of applying an accountant's approach to magic, you understand that it is a theatrical/performing art and aim your education in that direction instead of trying to answer meaningless questions.
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Postby Guest » 09/11/07 02:48 PM

I agree with Mr. Alexander and the others who note that this is an exercise that is more academic than beneficial. The answer that I think is closest? Well, almost Mr. Kuiper's:


Originally posted by Adrian Kuiper:
In my mind there are only two:
1: Those I like
2: All the rest.
But I would revise it slightly to be:

1: Those Spectators like.
2: All the rest.


Or as the wise old tootsie pop owl might say:
"How many magic tricks are there? Um, let's find out. Uh one, Uh two, -CRUNCH- Two."
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