The creative process

Busoni on invention

I came to think that every notation is already the transcription of an abstract invention. From the instant the pen takes hold of it, the idea loses its original feature. … The invention (Einfall) becomes a sonata, a concerto: it is already an arrangement of the original. From this first transcription to the second, the step is, by comparison, minimal and insignificant. In general, however, it is only to the second that great importance is attached. And we lose sight, after that, of the fact that a transcription does not destroy the original version, thus that there is no degradation. … For the musical work of art exists before having sounded and after it has resounded, it is there complete and intact. It is both in time and outside of time.

Busoni, “The Value of Arrangement”, cited in Peter Szendy (2008) Listen: A History of Our Ears, New York, Fordham University Press, p.66.

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist