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Reinventing the wheel


kwakatak

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Have you ever had a good idea that seemed to stick with you only to realize that it's something you heard before? If so, have you had to throw it away or do you alter in a way that makes it more your own? Even still, do you cite the inspiration and take the proper measures to make sure that there's no potential for plagiarism?

 

I'm still somewhat new to writing my own music but find that I'm still an avid consumer so often times I'll be humming a tune only to realize that it's something I've heard previously. It's kind of frustrating but I'm not looking to market my stuff - at least not until I feel more confident in my musical abilities.

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Well, sir, you could just el kabong your guitar in frustration and take up the recorder. Gotta be new territory there waiting to explore.

 

The one good thing about being a consumer is you readily recognize something and can re-invent it or toss it if it can't be used. I'd say use it as best as you can. I doubt there's anything that's truly original, anyway. I hear stuff and can relate it to previously released music. Coldplay's Clocks is soooo like Dylan's Lay Lady Lay in structure and key. That's just one, I know, but if you make a study of that way of listening you'll be surprised what has been borrowed. If your conscience bothers you about borrowing and re-working riffs then you're going to have to be keenly aware of published music to avoid such conflicts. That's nuts. I'd just write. If you're constantly worried about that you'll never do anything and music becomes simply that - a worrisome task where you have zero confidence in your originality.

 

I don't listen to OPM (other people's music) and haven't for a few years. I don't buy it, anyway. Pretty difficult to block out publicly played stuff and I'm not that anal about it. I just don't want the constant influence. In my case, I could write something that is already making someone else the dough they deserve and be oblivious of it. But, the folks I'm writing for are very aware of the industry which keeps things safe. Most of what I do is scratch track bound anyway.

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I try to check my lyric ideas that seem "instant classics" on the web, and, when I've had concerns about bits in songs I've posted for comment here, I've asked specifically about those parts, asking folks to search their own memories. I call that an "originality check." (I do the same thing at times with 3DW friends, too.)

 

 

I don't think there's a problem with bits that refer to songs directly or indirectly... and a lot of the elements of pop music definitely get recycled as a matter of course.

 

But at the point where words and music start reminding me of something else, it's time to address that. I've thrown a few things away and modified a few others.

 

Because my writing tends to be based around familiar folk, blues, and country changes, I'm often worried that the melodies I derive may be too much like the melodies of exsiting songs... but at the same time, I also realize that many of those existing songs also sound to some extent like other songs.

 

It's a stroll on a tightrope at times.

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I try to check my lyric ideas that seem "instant classics" on the web, and, when I've had concerns about bits in songs I've posted for comment here, I've asked specifically about those parts, asking folks to search their own memories. I call that an "originality check." (I do the same thing at times with 3DW friends, too.)

 

 

I don't think there's a problem with bits that refer to songs directly or indirectly... and a lot of the elements of pop music definitely get recycled as a matter of course.

 

But at the point where words and music start reminding me of something else, it's time to address that. I've thrown a few things away and modified a few others.

 

Because my writing tends to be based around familiar folk, blues, and country changes, I'm often worried that the melodies I derive may be too much like the melodies of exsiting songs... but at the same time, I also realize that many of those existing songs also sound to some extent like other songs.

 

It's a stroll on a tightrope at times.

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I try to check my lyric ideas that seem "instant classics" on the web, and, when I've had concerns about bits in songs I've posted for comment here, I've asked specifically about those parts, asking folks to search their own memories. I call that an "originality check." (I do the same thing at times with 3DW friends, too.)



I don't think there's a problem with bits that
refer
to songs directly or indirectly... and a lot of the elements of pop music definitely get recycled as a matter of course.


But at the point where words
and
music start reminding me of something else, it's time to address that. I've thrown a few things away and modified a few others.


Because my writing tends to be based around familiar folk, blues, and country changes, I'm often worried that the melodies I derive may be too much like the melodies of exsiting songs... but at the same time, I also realize that many of those existing songs
also
sound to some extent like
other
songs.


It's a stroll on a tightrope at times.

 

 

My 15 y/o son composes orchestral pieces on Sibelius software and when done submits them to Sibelius' site for posting and possible sale. They do an originality check of whatever he submits prior to posting. It's a good tool to have.

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Even still, do you cite the inspiration and take the proper measures to make sure that there's no potential for plagiarism?

 

I don't append footnotes to songs. The MLA is a destructive, authoritarian construct and songwriters need to forget their literary BA days. ;)

 

*

 

Have you read Bloom's Anxiety of Influence? Not that you may be afflicted with it, but I hear this "anxiety" in many songwriting/creative posts.

 

Bloom's central thesis is that poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintained with precursor poets. While admitting the influence of extraliterary experience on every poet, he argues that "the poet in a poet" is inspired to write by reading another poet's poetry and will tend to produce work that is derivative of existing poetry, and, therefore, weak. Because a poet must forge an original poetic vision in order to guarantee his survival into posterity (i.e., to guarantee that future readers will not allow him to be forgotten), the influence of precursor poets inspires a sense of anxiety in living poets.

 

That's the jist of it. IMO it's not really anxiety, but neurosis. But Bloom is a critic, not an artist, so take his observations about the creative process with that in mind.

 

As a sidenote, I think this feeling comes about due to some sort of imagined threat of litigation by some giant corporation upon an unknown songwriter who unknowingly commits "infringement." So many songwriters worry themselves to death over copyright infringement that they sap creative energy.

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I try to have a lyrical "hook", which often takes the form of a play on words. I'll google the phrase in question, because I wouldn't want to have a song that retreads an idea that's already out there. If the idea is fresh (or at least hasn't been in a pop song), I don't worry about everything else.

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OK, then. Basically don't worry about it and just keep plugging away at it then. It's not like I'm looking to make money on things anyway.


BTW, WTF are
you
doing here Cripes? :poke:

 

 

I barged in uninvited and am going to lay the place to waste. Actually, I'm pretty much done with gear discussion and have been playing an incredible amount lately - 4-5 hours daily - and resumed serious writing. I got hooked up with a producer and a few musicians and we're focused on making music. I lay down the basic melody lines for the songs and write the lyrics. Then, I pass out the stuff on CD to the other members and they work out their parts. We agree eventually on the structure and final lyrics and then get together to make a song happen. Everyone works so passing around CDs is the most effective path to development. Everyone is on either side of 45 and pretty level-headed about just having fun. No soapboxes to negotiate either. So, I've arrived to learn some things from other experienced folks here. That's about it. So, why the poke in the eye?

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Wow, that's great Cripes! Good luck with the writing and congratulations on playing more.

 

Sorry for the poke in the eye. You should know that you need to have one handy in the AG forum lately given the moderation situation. I guess I got a little too comfortable swinging it around! :cop:

 

EDIT: BTW, I'm gonna try and focus more on the writing myself as well though I barely have time to even practice.

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Unless it's obviously the chorus to "Dream Police" or something, just steal it and do it your own way. That's what everyone else does anyway.

 

I came up with something last night that incorporates elements of Devo, Journey and the Banana Splits theme song, and its the best thing I've written in months. And, no, I'm not kidding. :thu:

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I'll respond with an example:

 

I wrote a pretty wicked riff the other day...it definitly sounded like a verse to me. So naturally I said to myself "self, where are you going to go from here?"

 

After a little tooling around I found a progression of notes that I felt worked very well to the riff. I turned those notes into some basic chords and called it a night.

 

At practice the next day I was showing my drummer the riff and went into the second chord part I had written...after one time through my drummer started singing "I HAAAAVE BECOOOME CUUUMBERSOOOME...." one of 7 Merry Three's more popular tunes.

 

I was in the same spot prior, I knew it sounded familiar but couldn't put my finger on it, HOWEVER I knew I wasn't done with the part to begin with. So after another few hours of tooling, I took the general progression, broke it up a little, played it in 9/4, added some arpeggio's and changed some of the chords from the initial major chords I had been playing and it is now something completely my own.

 

Now I wouldn't say 7 Merry Three is an influence of mine; I don't mind that particular song but I never owned an album or bought tickets to one of their shows. That particular Chord structure WAS influential to me though, in that it inspired me to create something more...

 

I don't know if that answer's the question you were asking, but I thought my experience would help...take it for what it is, but never give up!

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Unless it's obviously the chorus to "Dream Police" or something, just steal it and do it your own way. That's what everyone else does anyway.


I came up with something last night that incorporates elements of Devo, Journey and the Banana Splits theme song, and its the best thing I've written in months. And, no, I'm not kidding.
:thu:

 

The Banana Splits, LOL. That's a pretty cool jingle, actually, and not a big stretch to Devo-ize it. I'm trying to get the Journey worked into it, though, unless it's Perry in a dog costume squeezing his nads to sing. Sorry, just popped into my head. Bad dog...bad!

 

Post a song link? I'd like to hear this one.

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A few months ago, I had this really moody lick I liked which I kept coming back to for a few days. Sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it in any song. I put together a few chords one nite and the next day I realized first thing I had unhelpfully written 'Big Log' again. The lick was only reminiscent, but I had the exact chord progression for the first verse.... dammit!

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