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1 JimDensmore commented Permalink

Nice, Brian. I offer this in response, since we're doing "old guys" on requirements management ... but your old guy is lots older than my old guy.

We all know that the communication difficulties between stakeholders in determining needs is a longstanding one, but it is rare to see a finer, or older, example of Rock Engineering and Waterfall Method than this one, found by my lovely wife Linda.
From Chapter 1 of "Playing the Beethoven Sonatas", pg 15-16, by Robert Taub: "(Ludwig von Beethoven) believed his works to be so organized and so thoroughly integrated that altering one aspect would change the nature of the musical vision. This is illustrated in his letter of 19 Feb 1813 to George Thomson in Edinburgh regarding the commissioned setting of Scottish airs for diverse instruments. Beethoven wrote that he ' ... learned with pleasure that you have at last received the 62 songs which I have set for you and that you are satisfied with all but 9 of them which you specify and in which you would like to have me change the ritournelles and accompaniments. I regret very much that I cannot accommodate you in this. I am not in the habit of rewriting my compositions. I have never done it, being convinced that any partial alteration changes the character of the composition. I regret that you will suffer the loss; but you can scarcely put the blame on me, since it ought to have been your affair to advise me more explicitly of the taste of your country and the small skill of your players.' "
In a subsequent paragraph we learn that a new Rock was later offered: "Beethoven went on to say that inasmuch as he refused to alter the nine songs in question, he simply ‘composed the songs wholly anew’ but only after great reluctance."
(For those readers who have never heard of Rock Engineering, it goes like this:
> "Bring me a rock!" . . .
< "Sire, I have brought you a rock, the best in the land."
> "But it is not brown, it is gray, and I wanted a brown rock!"
< "Yes, Sire." . . .
> "Sire, I have brought you a rock, the finest brown rock in the land."
< "But it is too large! I must have a smaller rock!"
And so on.)

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