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Happy Birthday to You?

I love making stuff up when I play: listening, trying, adjusting or, as it is generally called, improvising. While I wouldn’t have wanted to attempt yesterday’s gig without chord charts some of my highlights were the tunes we played without charts – Summertime as a sound check and final encore and Happy Birthday to You to celebrate with a couple of members of the audience.

That got me thinking this morning as to what it might be like to have been born on 29 February. I don’t think I know anyone in that situation but it shouldn’t be particularly rare. There is about a quarter of the chance of someone having a birthday any other day of the year. The year 2000 was a leap year and the number of people still around who were born in 1900 (leap years are divisible by four, except for years that are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400) is not going to skew the stats.  The uncertainty is that birthdays aren’t evenly distributed but it should be the case for at least 1 in 2000 people.

I suppose there probably isn’t a set pattern; I’d guess that most who are in a context of annual birthday celebrations go for 28 February or the nearest weekend in the non-leap years. From a story in the local newspaper though, it sounds like it isn’t unknown for them to keep a double tally – the paper celebrates a 72 year old who is marking his 18th birthday! Happy birthday to all you leap-folk – if you’re celebrating, I’m up for improvising a bassline.

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