CULTURE & ARTS
05/02/2013 05:28 pm ET

A Professional Victim: On Ira B. Arnstein

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Suppose you want to write a brand-new popular tune. A piano has only eighty-eight keys, and the span of the human voice is even narrower. Only a few rhythms and chord progressions reliably please the palate of the masses, and myriad tunes have already been written under these constraints and are protected by copyright. Is it possible to write a new one that doesn’t echo an old one?

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