“…every blow of the great convulsive drums…”

I read this article today about a computer that creates music.  A reader at Andrew Sullivan’s blog outlined some of why it bothers me, especially in its assumption that all composers do is follow logical rules in their composition.  But the following quotation stands out:

In [Cope’s] view, all music — and, really, any creative pursuit — is largely based on previously created works. Call it standing on the shoulders of giants; call it plagiarism. Everything we create is just a product of recombination.

I don’t really mind him thinking this latter part, that creation is a process of recombination.  There’s not a lot going on in our heads, if you ask me, that wasn’t fed to us by society and education and culture.  But to assume that the process is mechanical, that the recombination doesn’t have intent behind it or doesn’t synthesize something in a new or profound way, that doesn’t seem right.

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