[r-t] Seven Deadly Sins

Graham John graham at changeringing.co.uk
Tue Oct 25 13:17:48 UTC 2005

Robert wrote:

> But I don't see how you can possibly claim a composition if all
> you're doing is using a program someone else has written. Where
> have you shown any compositional skill whatsoever in doing that?
> Anyone can choose a few parameters and click 'search'.

But where is the requirement to show compositional skill to claim
authorship? Most composition involves a significant degree of trial and
error, whether picking courses by hand or by typing a few calls into a
proving program. If you are lucky, you get a good with a minimum of effort
(e.g. DGH's "The Fluke" for London Royal). What is useful is labelling
compositions with an author, because seeing a peal published as "Gen BYROC"
tells you absolutely nothing about the composition, and no chance of looking
it up anywhere. By attaching your name to something and publishing it you
are making an implicit statement that says "I think that this composition is
worth ringing, and I commend it to others". How the composition was obtained
is irrelevant.

Choosing the parameters can also be very important, and with more
sophisticated composition generators it can indeed be a skill in its own
right. If you then end up with thousands of compositions, choosing the best
one is equally vital. This is much more difficult than some may think as
there is always a balance to be struck between compositional elegance and a
variety of musical features. The ultimate cop-out is to publish and claim
all compositions in a search space as one's own. This is tantamount to
saying "I haven’t a clue which one is best, so you can waste your own time
choosing one". 


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