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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do we composers have the right to consciously borrow the ideas from other composers?

With my symphony I am at a place where doing some Wagnerian expansive divisi string writing would be a perfect solution. The gesture would bring to mind some Lohengrin (and Parcifal) passages and the Sibelian follower of Lohengrin, The Swan of Tuonela.

I just need the soulfulness here. If I just make it my own, is it OK to consciously borrow the idea?
 

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Plagiarize! That's why God made your eyes!

Rare is the composer who doesn't learn from what others have done. Scoring for orchestra is a frightfully difficult task, and when someone hit on something new and great, you'd better believe other composers looked at it and used the ideas. Borrowing tunes or chord progessions is a bit more delicate, but orchestration - go for it. That's how many of us learned to score: by studying the scores of the masters and seeing how they got a certain sound.
 

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Nothing wrong with utilising established techniques in orchestration. For divisi I'm always looking to see if I can interlock sections whenever possible. It's a cool way of creating more interest in parts rather than the simpler method of superposition. Other techniques like enclosing can be effective too, as can higher tessituras for the lower instruments, all depending on the music of course. I don't know the Wagner section you mean but there are still plenty of ways to make it your own with imaginative division and timbre that does not evoke Wagner in an obvious way.
Copy the notes and we will all tut tut though....;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks, @mbhaub and @mikeh375 !

I will consciously choose to be inspired by the noble, epic, mythic, consonant, sonorous and uplifting divisi string writing of Wagner here. Although I will apply the inspiration foremost on a choir with multiple independent groups (supported by the winds and brass). When I think about it, I am in a good company -- there are rather many compositions after Wagner that have been inspired by the inventions of Wagner.
 

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Why the focus on Wagner? It's a common practice and obvious resource. Would you not have thought of it without his example? :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why the focus on Wagner? It's a common practice and obvious resource. Would you not have thought of it without his example? :rolleyes:
Well, divisi is of course a common practice and obvious resource. But this is not:

I will consciously choose to be inspired by the noble, epic, mythic, consonant, sonorous and uplifting divisi string writing of Wagner here.
What I had in mind was very wagnerian indeed. Why would I have mentioned Wagner if it wasn´t? Not all divisi is Wagnerian divisi. Not all are even able to compose as great divisi string writing as Wagner no matter how hard they tried.

So maybe you missed my point. Or maybe you think that what Wagner did was piece of cake and nothing worthy of mentioning?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anyway, I finally came up with something not wagnerian at all but which works in this context! Nevertheless, "I need something like Wagnerian noble divisi" was the original inspiration.
 

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This is something a lot of composers do, and score study is one of the most important ways a composer can learn! If I'm stuck, I will sometimes go look at what other people have done in similar types of textures or expressions of character. Typically I won't copy it exactly, but there might be elements that could be potentially useful for me to analyse and reshape into something that works for my work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
This is something a lot of composers do, and score study is one of the most important ways a composer can learn! If I'm stuck, I will sometimes go look at what other people have done in similar types of textures or expressions of character. Typically I won't copy it exactly, but there might be elements that could be potentially useful for me to analyse and reshape into something that works for my work.
Yeah, I was stuck after completing the first two or three movements (depends how you wanna count because it will be one continuous 35-40 minutes movement). This happened for the first time during the writing of this symphony. It is not all that pleasant feeling after having a flow. Well, I went through many options before finding the path to what is coming next.

What is intimidating is that I know already that this path will require just as much work as the previous movements. Hah. There ain´t no easy way out of this! For a while I hoped I could just throw the next stuff in. No way. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
you seem to have abandoned your blog where you were supposed to be giving us a progress report. Obviously things are taking their time....
Yes, I abandoned the blog! The composing process is too long for blogging... I will save the energy for later.

When I finally have a work which is heavy weight enough to motivate me to do some actual marketing there are no excuses for me to be lazy then. My problem has always been that I am not motivated to market shorter pieces or less heavy-weight pieces. I always find myself asking: "Why do I have to babble about this piece? I wanna compose the next one!" ;)

(And there is no way I would start marketing myself. I am here for the music.)
 

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Do we composers have the right to consciously borrow the ideas from other composers?

With my symphony I am at a place where doing some Wagnerian expansive divisi string writing would be a perfect solution. The gesture would bring to mind some Lohengrin (and Parcifal) passages and the Sibelian follower of Lohengrin, The Swan of Tuonela.

I just need the soulfulness here. If I just make it my own, is it OK to consciously borrow the idea?
Yes, yes and yes again because those effers did the very same in their era! :)
 
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