[r-t] Seven Deadly Sins

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Mon Oct 24 21:25:55 UTC 2005

Ben Constant writes,

> if I had written the software myself then I would
> claim it as my own composition.

What's the difference, Ben? Between you running a composing program you
wrote, and you running one you didn't write? It's just a tool.

> All I did was to specify a few parameters.

No. The important thing you did, was choose the composition. The person who
picks that one composition from all the infinite other combinations of
method, music, structure, etc, is the one who's responsible for it. They are
the composer (or arranger, if you like).

Consider a close analogy, with composition "by hand". Suppose you didn't
know about false leadheads, and the only way you had of proving your
compositions was writing every change out by hand. This would slow you down
a lot, and beyond a certain length would become impractical. Then along
comes another composer, who gives you a present - an algorithm for
calculating false leads, and using them to speed the proving and composition
process. You don't necessarily understand how the algorithm works, but you
can follow it, and now you can produce more, and better, compositions.

Who is the author of these new compositions? You, or the other composer, the
one who gave you the algorithm?

It's taken the advent of computers to show us where the true creative genius
of composition lies. It's not in the gruntwork of churning through the
possibilities, counting false courseheads and so on - no, a computer can do
that. The bit that requires human intuition and creativity is the bit the
computer can't do. It's all in the choosing.

Not enough people seem to realise this, yet. They still think the clever bit
is the monkey work.

By the way, the main reason I don't like BYROC is that it encourages idle
users to slip into some of the other deadly sins - in particlar, Nos 2, 3,
5, 6 and 7. I don't think you can customise the music criteria either, can
you, which is an Absolutely Heinous omission.


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