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Showing results for tags 'plagiarism'.
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"Good composers borrow, great ones steal" - Igor Stravinsky Since the beginning of time people have gone to extremes to ease their job or work. Music is no exception, music has been ripped off without credit to the original composer. This can get messy, and sometimes end up in the court room. But not every rip-off is illegal or wrong, sometimes it can be a theory or idea that is borrowed, as an inspiration to the new music. Other times its an homage to the original piece. Lets jump into some cases and judge for ourselves: Plagiarism or inspiration? 1. Jaws (Main Title) John Williams definitely composed a great unique theme for Jaws, but is it plagiarized? Lets have a listen. Here is Antonín Dvořák's fourth movement of his "New World Symphony" or "Symphony No. 9", listen to the first 6 seconds. And here is the main title to Jaws. Listen to the first minute. They both begin with an ascending minor 2nd interval, that speeds up rapidly. But while Dvořák's spins off into something cheerful and fanfare like, Williams' Jaws keeps on building and building until that famous crescendo in a scary way. Verdict - Inspiration 2. Star Wars (Main Title) Lets face it, Star Wars is likely the greatest film score ever written, it has to be entirely Williams, right? Well lets have a look at a film titled Kings Row, a 1942 drama scored by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Kings Row main title. Starting four seconds in. And of course, here is Star Wars. Now, although Star Wars plays a little faster than Kings Row and has some percussion, as oppose to Kings Row entirely brass theme, the shape of the music is pretty much the same. Verdict - Plagiarism 3. Star Wars (Imperial March) The Imperial March is probably one of the most socially recognizable themes in history, but lets listen to Frédéric Chopin's "Funeral March". Here is Chopin. And here is Williams. Although they start off similarly this is a classic example of being inspired by a great composer's perspective on a dark piece of music and using similar chord progressions to achieve that feeling. Verdict - Inspiration 4. Star Wars (The Dune Sea of Tatooine) This two note motif definitely has its roots in Ian Stravinsky's "The Right of Spring". It seems only fitting that the one he who inclines that plagiarism isn't all that bad - gets ripped off himself. Lets have a listen. And here's track 4 from the Star Wars OST. What likely happened here, in my opinion, is that the Rite of Spring was in the temp score for Star Wars, When Williams heard this he obviously felt that it fit well in the score. I don't think there is any denying that its the same two alternating notes in both pieces. Verdict - Plagiarism 5. Batman (Main Title) Lets take a listen to Bernard Herrmann's theme for "Journey to the Center of the Earth". And Danny Elfman's theme for the 1989 movie "Batman". Yep, that's pretty much the same motif (except for Hermmann's last note). Verdict - plagiarism 6. Star Wars (The Battle of Yavin) In Gustav Holst's "The Planets" suite, he uses a rhythmic repetition of one chord. Lets take a listen. This probably sounds familiar to anyone who watched Star Wars, take a listen to the main title of Star Wars, about half way through. And again towards the end of "The Battle of Yavin". To be fair to Holst, there are definitely some similarities between all three pieces, However to call repeating a note multiple times plagiarism would be incorrect. Also Holst uses many variations on that rhythmic repeating note, none of which Williams uses exactly like. Verdict - Inspiration 7.The Nightmare Before Christmas (This is Halloween) Next up we have another Burton - Elfman collaboration, 1993's animated musical "The Nightmare Before Christmas". But first we need to take a listen to a snippet from the original theme for the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla, written by Akira Ifukube. And now Elfman's "This is Halloween". I couldn't find anyone comparing these two pieces of music, but they are really similar. I think the effect of changing time signatures from 4/4 to 5/4 was an effective device Elfman borrowed from Godzilla. They also both use two consecutive descending second intervals each an eighth note, here are the notes for Godzilla. And here is "This is Halloween" Verdict - Plagiarism 8. Batman (Waltz to the Death) The main theme for the Joker in 1989's "Batman" is very unique because the music is part of the character's persona as oppose to other themes that simply reflect the character. This waltz clearly has roots in Koji Kondo's iconic music for the original Super Mario Bros arcade game released in 1985. First we will listen to the original 8-bit version. But in order to compare this properly we must listen to a version done by the Boston Pops Orchestra. And here is "Waltz to the Death" by Danny Elfman. The first few seconds are extremely similar, I slowed down "Waltz to the Death" a little and combined the two, take a listen. Waltz of the Underwater.mp3 However I am not sure if this intro is part of the theme or the way the Boston Pops changed keys, that being said the rest of the two themes are too similar to be coincidental. Verdict - Plagiarism
Now, I'm not accusing him of anything because I haven't heard a vast majority of his scores. But this came up during a conversation with my friends. I was telling them how Hans Zimmer does "steal" from himself a lot (He's a Pirate from Drop Zone, Man Of Steel Them from Pirates ascending 3-chord motif, etc). Now they told me Williams steals from himself a lot because his scores sound so similar (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman). I know composers do this all the time (I believe a thread on Horner was one before) but are there specific examples where Williams's motifs sound like another? Or anything by williams that sounds familiar to each other. Time stamps please!
IF YOU'VE COME HERE TO DISCUSS THE NATURE OF PLAGIARISM VS. HOMAGE, THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT THREAD! TURN BACK NOW, NOW I SAY!!! There, I said it. Now let's have a nice little thread about things in Williams that sound like other things you've heard. (Obvious ones encouraged, even ones many of us already know. Think of this as a reference catalogue for us JWFanners.) If possible, YouTube videos with timestamps would be best (and titles for the videos in the post as well since they may well disappear from YouTube at some point). Go!
Besides John Williams (of whom casual movie goers say "This sounds like Star Wars"), I think that Hans Zimmer is a very recognizable sound. I just want to see how many times Zimmer has taken motifs and melodies from himself! Time stamps if possible please. I think what inspired me to make this was that in some other thread, someone posted a Drop Zone cue which is basically He's A Pirate. Turns out they used that same Drop Zone cue in a trailer for Curse of the Black pearl.