There's Only So Many Ways To Combine Chords...

from the so-stop-worrying-about-copying dept

The whole Coldplay/Joe Satriani copyright fight is pretty silly for a a variety of reasons. Yes, there are some similarities, but there's a ton of stuff in music that sounds the same. There's a great chapter in James Boyle's The Public Domain all about Ray Charles' song I Got A Woman, where Boyle goes back in time to show how Charles' song basically copies from a few others (in some cases rather blatantly) in order to effectively invent soul music. Then he moves forward and looks at how others have built off of Charle's song as well. You can read the whole chapter (and, indeed, the whole book) online. The chapter in question is Chapter 6: I Got a Mashup.

Then, of course, many folks have seen the comedian who points out how many songs are based on the same basic progression as Pachelbel's Canon in D:


Along those lines, reader Bill Squire has sent in this similar video about how many songs use the same basic chord progression as Journey's Don't Stop Believing:
And yet, now some people are worried that one musician has come up with a similar song?

Filed Under: chords, humor, music, similarity


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    SteveD, 23 Jan 2009 @ 8:00am

    Pop music chords

    Another similar example was put together by Marc Hirsh in his study of the 'Sensitive Female Chord Progression', looking at how a set of chords tend to get reused within a certain sort of song.

    Link: http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/12/31/striking_a_chord/

    All this strongly supports the 'Lessig Remix' perspective on the creation of culture; how even what many people perceive as original content is in some way built on the work of those who went before them.

    But the strange thing is that music critics have always accused pop artists for borrowing from classical music to create catchy tunes, yet no one ever accuses these artists of not creating original works. Presumably this is because much of classical music falls under copyright.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.