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


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  1. identicon
    Phil Seymour, 23 Jan 2009 @ 1:17pm

    The famous 4

    In the 50's and 60's, we musicians called C-Am-F-G, the famous four. "26 miles across the sea..", "Oh Donna", and hundreds of others. The basic difference was the words. "Sincerely", "You Send Me", pretty much the same as 50 other songs at the time. No lawsuits.

    Music is a gift to be enjoyed.

    It's amazing how many songs you can play using C-Am-F-G. Try it. Write one of your own. Watch out for greedy, bean counters and lawyers.

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