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Thread: UNCANNY similarities, honest independent inception, unintentional plagiarism - Scores

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    Default UNCANNY similarities, honest independent inception, unintentional plagiarism - Scores

    my apologies for starting a new thread. didn't want to revive a year and half old thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nix View Post
    I always find it amusing whenever I'm watching a movie and suddenly I hear music similar to classical pieces but not quite them. Thought I'd start a list of plagerisms I've heard over the years, and would be happy for any contributions.

    Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus. Found in the Lion King.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3, 1st movt. Found in The Dark Knight.
    Beethoven: Symphony #5, 2nd movt. Found in Restoration.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5, 1st movt. Found in My Best Friends Wedding
    Schumann: Symphony #3, 1st movt. Found in Willow.
    Dvorak: Symphony #9, 4th movt. Found in Jaws
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4, 2nd movt. Found in Willow.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition. Found in Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back.
    Holst: The Planets, Mars. Found in Gladiator (most blatantly, and a lot elsewhere- just the rhythmic pattern).
    Sibelius: Finlandia. Found in Air Force One.
    Sibelius: Symphony #3, 1st Movt. Found in Lord of the Rings.
    Prokofiev: Ivan the Terrible. Found in Glory
    Prokofiev: Violin Concerto #2, 1st Movt. Found in A Beautiful Mind.
    Vaughan Williams: Tallis Fantasia. Found in Glory.


    Ok wow... didn't expect to think of so many. If you'd like links, I'd be happy to provide them, but not going to take the effort before I know if someone is interested or not.

    I would like the links/times as well if you can please. I am quite keen (in my own honest opinion) about this copying/similarity thing...in fact, I was the first to discover and alert a composer/producer of his stolen music which was being sold on a music site. Link here if you're interested: http://www.head-fi.org/t/600532/conf...ueman-confirms

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/600610/unca...sounding-songs This is my thread and it would be most appreciated if you would give me your thoughts about the ones I mentioned. I can copy and past it in here if you'd like..

    Here is an excerpt which might make one think twice before being convinced that it was intentional plagiarism. The fact is that it could have been unintentional/subconscious plagiarism or quite possibly independent "inception". Please feel free to correct me and explain if you think I'm wrong about this. I have witnessed this with someone I know (the pi song--I can provide links if you'd like):

    ... If you sit down at a piano and try to make a completely new melody, I think you'd realize just how hard it is to actually come up with something original. Afterall, music is mathematical and only certain intervals of notes sound pleasing to the ear/displeasing on purpose...resonant/dissonant. Someone in history has probably at least thought of the melody you think you just made up... I think this actually gives more credit to people who come up with beloved melodies/variations instead of discounting their creativity.


    So here are my links for 2 scores which have been said to be plagiarism, which I disagree. Your opinion about it would greatly be respected and appreciated.

    I came upon another really fascinating discovery...for one, I started listening to and looking up movie scores--a genre I used to be in love with growing up. It's the genre Blueman has transitioned to after being hailed the king of uplifting trance. I found out that the famous Thin Red Line soundtrack and song "Journey to the Line" by Hans Zimmer was actually not from the movie Pearl Harbor, which I had previously thought until now for years and years. It turns out that the Thin Red Line song was used in one of the early Pearl Harbor movie trailers. I was well aware before that Pearl Harbor was scored by Zimmer as well. I came across many people's comments about how Harry Escott "shamelessly stole" from Zimmer's Journey to the Line.

    I think that they are wrong for thinking that and don't really see too many similarities between the scores. Sure they are both somber, slow, and thought-provoking, but I don't hear much of a similarity aside from the tempo and the clock ticking sound (I guess this was also in the original Journey to the Line). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOFZSnz9J3s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRsj6nLhJvI

    I'd like to make a note that this Journey to the Line by Hans Zimmer is absolutely incredible and I would place it on the same level possibly as Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings (used in Platoon). Please have a listen!

    --------------------


    Another one people seem to accuse of being a blatant copy is The Town's soundtrack--the main theme song "The Letter". I love this theme and I think it fits the movie perfectly. The 2nd half is "The Letter" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRsj6nLhJvI

    Here is the link for the Band of Brothers theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8wmKmxCsh4

    I am a huge fan of not only Zimmer, but movie scores in general as I grew up with movie soundtracks as my favorite genre of music. It's still a close 2nd for me.



    -----------


    So after all that--at 6AM here....please help me understand what keeps blowing my mind. Listening to the Journey to the Line as I linked to above (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOFZSnz9J3s) makes me automatically start thinking I'm listening to the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. Am I going mad? I can't stop it...they just fit so well together and sound so similar... The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack was originally supposed to be electronic music by Trevor Jones, but last minute they changed it to orchestral and Randy Edelman was called in to help with the score. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1ryJDVuZ6k



    It's as if these songs could be laid right on top of each other............please lend me your ears and let me know what you think

    As I just commented on youtube, my brain is spontaneously mashing these songs up when I listen to either of them.....



    I honestly think you could mix between these songs...like fade back and forth without changing anything...! Once I have some time and start playing around with mixing software, this will be the first thing I try. I think they might have the same rhythm and chord progression....?

    I can't say that I like all classical music, but my dad is a fanatic/trumpet player/a humble audiophile.. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Andy Blueman is regarded as an extremely talented producer/composer. He was considered THE KING of uplifting trance music, but has now transitioned to making film scores, which I think will be a big hit. Some have said he's the next Zimmer, and while I doubt anyone could fill those shoes--I'm sure you have even higher opinions of Mozart and other classical composers

    Here is an unfinished trance track that he's going to make into an orchestral version/score. I'm super excited about his one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn5yj7cdctc and here is a link to his youtube channel which features some previews of his film score projects http://www.youtube.com/user/AndyBluemanMusic


    The link to that pi song I mentioned earlier. The guy who ORIGINALLY did it made a copyright claim and a stink about it--I can understand where he's coming from as well.
    The recent michael blake version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOQb_mtkEEE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pOd-8AZC-k

    you can easily find the other copyrighted pi symphony/song on youtube.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/14/134492...pi-into-a-song

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Actually, without making a real contribution here, just wanted to point out these 'uncanny' similarities are actually VERY CANNY:
    these composers have extensively trained, know of a ton of repertoire, and consciously or unconsciously take whatever is handy.

    Here's the other little tidbit that makes it so possible. Law has it that Plagiarism must be two replicate measures or more. Change just a little, rip off the 'genre' and something Near Identical to a prominent theme, and you can get away with just about anything. Change the Barring, the meter so it is in a different visual presentation in the score, etc. etc.

    John Williams is wholly exemplar as derivative all over the place. In one vein of manner especially - his 'Star-Wars / Harry Potter' Late Romantic mode, ala Wagner, Bruckner, late romantics in general, and get this....
    Eric Wolfgang Korngold had already become a parody of himself when he wrote (out of necessity) for the movies.
    So now we have Williams writing like Korngold writing like a parody of Korngold. Deft, polished, and wholly 'unoriginal.'

    Are you really surprised all this is constantly going on?

    Most film composers get paid once, a healthy check for, granted, remarkable hard and fast work. The score, and all rights, are then owned by the film company, no further royalties forthcoming to the composer. Williams, and perhaps only a very few others, can get a healthy check up front + residuals because they are sure-fire enough they can parlay that deal with the studio.

    Richard Addinsell's 'Warsaw Concerto' came about because the director wanted Rachmaninoff in that slot, but no one was going to cough up perpetual royalties to Sergei. Enter the director's directive to the film composer, "Something very Rachmaninoff-like in this slot." Ergo, the "Warsaw Concerto." Happens ALL the time.

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    Senior Member Eviticus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    Actually, without making a real contribution here, just wanted to point out these 'uncanny' similarities are actually VERY CANNY:
    these composers have extensively trained, know of a ton of repertoire, and consciously or unconsciously take whatever is handy.

    Here's the other little tidbit that makes it so possible. Law has it that Plagiarism must be two replicate measures or more. Change just a little, rip off the 'genre' and something Near Identical to a prominent theme, and you can get away with just about anything. Change the Barring, the meter so it is in a different visual presentation in the score, etc. etc.

    John Williams is wholly exemplar as derivative all over the place. In one vein of manner especially - his 'Star-Wars / Harry Potter' Late Romantic mode, ala Wagner, Bruckner, late romantics in general, and get this....
    Eric Wolfgang Korngold had already become a parody of himself when he wrote (out of necessity) for the movies.
    So now we have Williams writing like Korngold writing like a parody of Korngold. Deft, polished, and wholly 'unoriginal.'

    Are you really surprised all this is constantly going on?

    Most film composers get paid once, a healthy check for, granted, remarkable hard and fast work. The score, and all rights, are then owned by the film company, no further royalties forthcoming to the composer. Williams, and perhaps only a very few others, can get a healthy check up front + residuals because they are sure-fire enough they can parlay that deal with the studio.

    Richard Addinsell's 'Warsaw Concerto' came about because the director wanted Rachmaninoff in that slot, but no one was going to cough up perpetual royalties to Sergei. Enter the director's directive to the film composer, "Something very Rachmaninoff-like in this slot." Ergo, the "Warsaw Concerto." Happens ALL the time.
    Much of what you say is true but like Kv466 i am not convinced 'rip off' is he right word albeit a classic phase that comes to mind. I to prefer 'homage' in many cases and do not really have a problem with it.

    Let us start with John Williams as he's the giant here. Many people (classical listeners that is) say Jaws 'rips off' Dvorak 9 final movement. Whilst i agree the opening 6 notes or motif are vaguely similar in style - the application on how the theme's develop are entirely unique going in separate directions (Jaws maintains the minor - the 9th plummets in to F major). In fact, they are in different keys to start with. Dvorak's opening is bold and brash whilst the opening theme of JAWS is pp. The instrumentation is different too and the secondary themes from my understanding are completely unique so are classical purists really being too harsh on composers of films scores?

    I would say there are far more important differences than there are similarities here.



    Dvoraks 9th


    Whilst i am sure John Williams may have been inspired consciously or subconsciously by D's 9th, is it any different to Dvorak paying direct hommage to Beethoven with his 3rd movement from the very same symphony which almost imitates Beethovens 9th Scherzo? Or would you call that ripping off too?
    Last edited by Eviticus; Mar-13-2012 at 21:32.

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    Agreed. Like anything else, there are influences everywhere. I'm sure there are SOME dishonest composers out there out to make a quick buck.........but it's quite the honor to be given the task of putting music to a film.......I'm sure there would be people doing it for just the honor/satisfaction. I'm sure the likes of Zimmer and Williams are more than financially set for life. If they don't get royalties from the movie sales, I'm sure they at least get royalties from soundtrack sales.. Also, who's to say Mozart didn't get influenced by someone else? Pardon my ignorance..which is the one who became deaf? :-P

    Take the guy I was talking about earlier, for example. Andy Blueman. I would like your all's classically trained/experienced opinions. I guess I should ask my dad as well--but I can already guess he'll be a little too elitist about it nevertheless I respect that..

    Like I said, he's regarded as THE king of uplifting/melodic trance. Just a quick youtube search will come up with his remixes and originals--originals which have absolutely mind blowing melodies...

    When he left trance to pursue his passion in scoring film music, he admitted that he probably wouldn't be very successful because of the fact that he doesn't have any formal musical education, while most score composers are and attend school specifically for it.

    which he plans on making into an orchestral score.

    And here's an upcoming score track he's working on

    Please give me your opinion about him musically.

    One side note--I wonder how many savants exist out there who have been deaf their entire lives and come up with beautiful music.
    Last edited by hyogen; Mar-14-2012 at 10:46.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eviticus View Post
    Much of what you say is true but like Kv466 i am not convinced 'rip off' is he right word albeit a classic phase that comes to mind. I to prefer 'homage' in many cases and do not really have a problem with it.

    Let us start with John Williams as he's the giant here. Many people (classical listeners that is) say Jaws 'rips off' Dvorak 9 final movement. Whilst i agree the opening 6 notes or motif are vaguely similar in style - the application on how the theme's develop are entirely unique going in separate directions (Jaws maintains the minor - the 9th plummets in to F major). In fact, they are in different keys to start with. Dvorak's opening is bold and brash whilst the opening theme of JAWS is pp. The instrumentation is different too and the secondary themes from my understanding are completely unique so are classical purists really being too harsh on composers of films scores?

    I would say there are far more important differences than there are similarities here.



    Dvoraks 9th


    Whilst i am sure John Williams may have been inspired consciously or subconsciously by D's 9th, is it any different to Dvorak paying direct hommage to Beethoven with his 3rd movement from the very same symphony which almost imitates Beethovens 9th Scherzo? Or would you call that ripping off too?
    I think it rather lofty to call any of it a sincere 'tribute,' while I'm sure these musicians have fondness, respect, etc for the work of others. I would call it going into the bin of free domain music and freely using another idea, near wholesale, or as trigger, for their own needs. Keep in mind there are almost NO film scores where the composer has 1.) free reign, i.e. to write however the composers wishes 2.) been hired to write specifically for the one way he prefers to write.
    Hack work or High end high speed craft, the clock is running when these composers are delivered the final cut film, often with no more than two weeks to compose, score, and deliver score and parts to a studio orchestra, that orchestra, though professional, having to be able to read that music and make a perfect go of it in one take, no rehearsal. That is so many restrictions it is amazing any of them come up with even good 'derivative' music. Ergo, all those similarities. Those, too, because the director wants something more commonly well -received, 'conventional as expected of films. That 'anthem - like theme, ' 'Awesome, stirring' with the rock percussion coming in with the orchestra, from the composer of National Treasure, sounds near generic side by side similar from Hans Zimmer or a host of others. Toss in a wordless choir, conventional placement of the elements for dramatic effect, et voila - transpose all to the same key and play them all at once and they may be near identical.

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    Senior Member Eviticus's Avatar
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    Hyogen - I have not had chance to check out those pieces just yet as on my lunch at work - but will do when i next visit the site.

    PetrB - Again I think you make a lot of very good points but i do think some of the homage in sincere. I think it is not entirely true that film composers have no free reign although they reign has many restrictions (I mean it's not like audio typing is it?). Give a composer a scene with prompts, a definite time and a style and there is no reason why he can't come up with originality. I seriously doubt Spielberg tells John Williams exactly how to compose down to details. Although it does remind me of an anecdote told by John Williams once when asked to compose for Schindlers List.

    He was approached by Spielberg but modestly felt the power of such a film was beyond his capacity. He said something like: "Steve, I'm not sure i could compose for this as it's something truly powerful. You really need someone better than me. You need a great composer" to which Speilberg replied: "I know John but they're all dead so you will have to do".

    Lastly, Star Wars (like with Jaws) i can see an influence of style but again i am not aware of a direct rip off in any of the main themes? Do you know of one?

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    Senior Member misterjones's Avatar
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    Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) seems to borrow a bit from Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.5. There also is an instrumental piece in that musical that strikes me as very similar to The Nat King Cole Trio's "Hit That Jive, Jack".

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    This story isn't about ripoffs from classical music, but it involves a composer known for his many "lifts"...

    John Barry was on the Johnny Carson Show. He was at the piano chatting and playing bits of his music. He played the theme for "Born Free" and afterwards Carson commented that it must be his best known work. Barry sat up straight and neatened up the pages of sheet music in front of him. He said, "No, actually, my best known work people don't even know I wrote." He looked at the sheet music and plunked out the Born Free theme with one finger. Then he turned the sheet music upside down and plunked out the theme for Star Wars. Carson laughed. Barry didn't.

    It's interesting to note that a little over a year before John Williams composed the Star Wars theme, Barry had won the Oscar for Born Free.
    Last edited by bigshot; Mar-14-2012 at 17:34.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eviticus View Post
    ... The instrumentation is different too and the secondary themes from my understanding are completely unique so are classical purists really being too harsh on composers of films scores?

    I would say there are far more important differences than there are similarities here.

    Whilst i am sure John Williams may have been inspired consciously or subconsciously by D's 9th, is it any different to Dvorak paying direct hommage to Beethoven with his 3rd movement from the very same symphony which almost imitates Beethovens 9th Scherzo? Or would you call that ripping off too?
    One of the many Haydn symphonies, in its finale, has this little four note theme, which, later, Mozart used as the first of the five themes so supremely juggled in that apotheosis of contrapuntal romps, the finale of the 41st symphony. Whether Mozart was conscious of it, or it was coincidental, or unconscious, he made something very new of it. If copyright laws of today had been in place, lawyers and negotiations or suits may have been de rigueur.

    It is possible Mozart had it in that voluminous memory of his. We don't need his capacity for memory to ourselves be chock-a-block loaded with little scraps in our much tinier bins. Similarly, the film composer, I believe, is just dipping into that pool of what are now, in common domain, truly coins of the realm, pennies which have passed through many hands. They usually do something new with it, and you are correct there is the less than tribute 'rip-off' of making something as much like, say, Orff's O fortuna from his Carmina Burana as possible.

    I often think 90% of the Hollywood big orchestra / choral works I hear are a ready and formulaic amalgam of:
    Prokofiev ~ Alexander Nevsky - Battle on the Ice
    The aforementioned Orff
    Verdi Requiem, Dies Irae
    Stravinsky ~ Oedipus Rex, scene one.

    Sure they may sound different: it is, technically, 'original' music. That does not stop it from so strongly reminding me of repertoire I know well that I am triggered to think 1.) Derivative as all hell 2.) a technically accomplished hack without an original idea anywhere in their imagination. 3.) Skilled or not, they are regenerating half-fresh --that's still pretty stale -- cliches.

    Joe Hisaishi's 'Howl's Moving Castle,' within its first segment of just several minutes (concert presentation) similarly reminds me DIRECTLY of a catalogue of early 20th century rep. There is a series of staccato chords in the strings way too strongly reminiscent of the famous passage in Stravinsy's Le Sacre, the next few bars, perhaps Honegger, etc. etc. etc. All if it, 'new music and original' as it may be, is also a catalogue of a lack of completely fresh musical idea.

    I think you are making way too much of it, there are wonderful and innovative composers who write for films, few and far between. The Hommage you seem to hope and care to think these composers (whom you seem fond of) are making is likely very like this incident as written in J.D. Landis' "Longing," a fictionalized bio of Robert Schumann (and a great read):
    Schumann is looking through the chaos of scraps of manuscript littering the floor of the just-deceased Schubert's flat. There to help clean up and make any order of what may be worth keeping, he looks at one scrap of manuscript and thinks, "Nice Trombone!"

    O.K. There's a bit, anyway, of admiration in that :-)
    Last edited by PetrB; Mar-14-2012 at 18:05.

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    Senior Member misterjones's Avatar
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    If something is in the public domain, like much of classical music is, you're not "ripping it off", at least in the legal sense. For example, the Rolling Stones recorded Robert Johnson songs - Stop Breaking Down and Love in Vain - and at least for a time passed them off as their own. But if Robert Johnson were to emerge from the grave, he might have a hard time establishing he didn't lift them from someone else. A young Bob Dylan frequently added lyrics to an old folk melody and claimed the entire song as his. (Touche Simon & Garfunkel for calling out Bob on that with Scarborough Fair.) A legitimate practice would be at least to say "traditional arranged by . . ." (or something along those lines), which is done a lot more these days than decades ago. We're more musically savvy these days.

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    The borrowing of stuff's been going on forever, maybe before JS Bach having his way with Vivaldi. There are now some laws, and Academy of Arts & Sciences rules, that regulate how much can be ripped off.

    Some years ago, during the first five minutes of an action film, I counted four borrowings. That's just laziness to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    This story isn't about ripoffs from classical music, but it involves a composer known for his many "lifts"...

    John Barry was on the Johnny Carson Show. He was at the piano chatting and playing bits of his music. He played the theme for "Born Free" and afterwards Carson commented that it must be his best known work. Barry sat up straight and neatened up the pages of sheet music in front of him. He said, "No, actually, my best known work people don't even know I wrote." He looked at the sheet music and plunked out the Born Free theme with one finger. Then he turned the sheet music upside down and plunked out the theme for Star Wars. Carson laughed. Barry didn't.

    It's interesting to note that a little over a year before John Williams composed the Star Wars theme, Barry had won the Oscar for Born Free.
    I only slept for 3 hours last night before midnight, and took a midterm this morning...OK, I think I get it now. I'm downloading the born free theme right now--so maybe that'll help me understand. Is it THE exact up-side down melody??? hahaa, even so--could he really be serious about that?

    Come to think of it...since music/harmonies/resonance/dissonance are all math based, I'm guessing this could work with a ton of other melodies.......It would make sense more than playing a track backwards Again, I'm a little out of it right now.

    Looking forward to someone commenting about the tracks I linked to!!

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    this is outside of classical music, but here's a music teacher explaining theory and chord progressions for the controversial alleged copying of Joe Satriani's song for their hugely popular Viva la Vida song. I gotta say that sounds pretty dang similar--I guess I won't make any judgements about if it was intentional.



    but again, if anyone would be so kind--my original links!!

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    ...since the other thread was abandoned right as I contributed to it - I will repost my recent answer to it to this thread, since it still fits. There is such a rich collection of music throughout history, and we are talking about a language consisting entirely of notes A through G, at various octaves - a certain amount of overlap, unintentional copying, and outright theft are to be expected. There are only so many arrangements of notes that sound pleasing, the combination of notes in a chord that are pleasant versus just noise, etc.

    Ultimately, we are in a situation akin to there being only so many stories in the world to tell - are all of them copies of all the others before it or just mish-mashes of several different ones? What defines 'original'? Very often, we assemble our own creations from things we've seen, experienced, and wanted in our own lives - which means, invariably, we take things someone else created and integrate it with our own. It's part of the human experience, in my opinion, for whatever its worth.

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    Default similarities within similarites

    Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4, 2nd movt. Found in Willow.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition. Found in Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back.
    Interesting. I found this site (which looks very cool) as I googled around trying to see if anyone else was hearing a distinct similarity between Tchaikovsky Sym. 2 Mvt. 4 (1872) and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (1874). Assuming one was influenced by the other, the dates are close and Tchaikovsky was known to be very close the group of five that included Mussorgsky. I also noticed that Tchaikovsky, who reserved his most acidic comments for Brahms, was also a big critic of Mussorgsky. Any thoughts?

    But on the main topic - pop music cribbing from the classics - what about Tchaikovsky's Hamlet being the source for the jazz standard Autumn Leaves? That one is much more blatant. And of course, Borodin is the source for "Stranger in Paradise". Getting back to the more subliminal stuff, just listen to the soundtrack to My Fair Lady - it's positively laced with Mozart and Brahms. Not that I'd consider any of this a criticism since the classical guys made no secret of their own borrowings. Supposedly when someone accused Brahms of the similarity between the 4th movement themes of his 1st and Beethoven's 9th, he said something like "yeah, well any idiot could hear that." (my translation, lol)

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