[r-t] Similar compositions
johnstonrh at amen.org.uk
Sat Jan 27 11:29:28 UTC 2018
> Richard Johnston writes,
> > If it truly was an independent discovery, then calling it "Arr. Ben
> > Constant from Keith Scudamore" is clearly unhistorical, as it does
> > not describe what was done.
> I don't think it matters whether a discovery was independent or not. I
> have seen people re-compose Ivin's 5088 Bristol without realising what
> they've done: but the attribution is still "Comp. Ivin". Similarly if a
> variation is created, it makes no difference whether the producer of it
> knew of the previous composition or not: it is still "Arr. XYZ from
If you wrote "Arr. XYZ of ABC", I would not be objecting. But "from"
makes it appear as if XYZ started by getting out ABC's composition
and twiddled with it, suggesting a relatively easy process.
Sometimes that is true, but in the case considered it isn't, and
phrasing as "from" is, in my view, inappropriate, particularly as you
rightly say later the point of a composition is good musical
qualities in some sense not the mechanics. In classical music the
same themes or near variants are used again and again, sometimes with
attribution, but usually not.
On your other further points, I agree that people can very easily
recompose existing compositions, and in the past before easily
accessed collections that would have been all too easy. That it
happened reflected either that the compositions were easy or obvious,
or that they were particularly good. In science it often happens
that more than one person discovers something leading to similar
issues over priority and often it is heolpful to acknowledge in some
way that more than one person got there.
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