“In a room in a tower, high above the city, a piano was playing a man.” This was more or less the first sentence I ever read in a science fiction story, and the oddness of it made a deep impression. I was 13—the story was in a book someone had given me for Christmas. It was called Adventure Stories for Boys, or something similar. I can no longer remember the real title of the book, and all the stories were unsigned, but that opening sentence has stayed with me.
Music runs through our lives, a private delight often shared with others. We all hum, whistle, sing to ourselves. Many of us play instruments, many more sing for pleasure. However, the composer of music stands alone. Where does music come from? What is the nature of the creative urge or talent that responds to imagined chords and harmonies, then channels them to produce an arrangement of notes that no one has ever heard before?