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 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 11:21 AM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

DP

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 11:33 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Considering there are only 12 notes to work with.

Why are there only 12 notes? Can't you make new notes? Is that all we can hear? Can instruments only play 12 different notes? I'm serious I really don't know. I can Google it but maybe someone has an easy answer.


An octave is divided into 12 notes in western music. That's what we're accustomed to hearing, and western harmony is based on these 12 intervals.

With a portamento instrument such as a trombone, violin, or theremin, there are an infinite number of notes played in the slide from, for example, a C to a Db.

Harry Partch divided the octave into 43 notes. Indian music similarly uses smaller intervals than western scales.

Jazz and blues player will often play "blue notes" in a solo - notes that fall in the cracks between 2 adjacent notes.

But, in terms of most traditional western harmony, it's all based on those 12 notes.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 12:04 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

Considering there are only 12 notes to work with.

Why are there only 12 notes? Can't you make new notes? Is that all we can hear? Can instruments only play 12 different notes? I'm serious I really don't know. I can Google it but maybe someone has an easy answer.


An octave is divided into 12 notes in western music. That's what we're accustomed to hearing, and western harmony is based on these 12 intervals.

With a portamento instrument such as a trombone, violin, or theremin, there are an infinite number of notes played in the slide from, for example, a C to a Db.

Harry Partch divided the octave into 43 notes. Indian music similarly uses smaller intervals than western scales.

Jazz and blues player will often play "blue notes" in a solo - notes that fall in the cracks between 2 adjacent notes.

But, in terms of most traditional western harmony, it's all based on those 12 notes.



Exactly. And just so there's no confusion, those 12 notes are repeated at higher or lower octaves to give the full range of notes played in the orchestra. A piano, for example, has 88 keys, so 7 octaves (12 notes each) plus an extra 4 notes. And that pretty much covers all the notes you'd hear in an orchestra.

It may seem limiting, but with the different octaves for the 12 notes and different rhythms you can apply to them, the possibilities for composing within that system are virtually limitless.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 12:06 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

So what about parody? Can a composer parody a theme and get away with it? Like Richard Band did with Psycho theme for Re-animator? Great interpretation smile

Parody is protected by US law, but getting away with using somebody else's work is not as simple as just saying "this is a parody." There are specific rules about what makes one thing a parody and another thing not. The word lawyers often use is that the new work, to be a parody, must be "transformative" of the original work. What does that mean? Basically, the new work has to comment on the the original one.

Famously, a few years ago, somebody wrote a novel that retold "Gone With the Wind" from the perspective of one of Scarlett O'Hara's slaves. The publisher of the original sued, but the court ruled that the new work was protected as parody, because it commented on, rather than simply exploited, the original. On the other hand, if you made a parody of the Anthony Weiner controversy using Mickey and Minnie Mouse to portray the Weiners, Disney would likely sue you and win, because the thing being commented on was the Weiners and not the Mouses. (Your lawyer would likely argue that you were using the Weiners to somehow comment on Disney films, and it would be up to the court to judge the merits of that argument.)

I have never seen "Re-animator," but if somebody chose to sue over the use of the Herrmann theme, the producers of the film would have to argue that their use of the Herrmann theme was somehow commenting on, and thus parodying, the "Psycho" film or score. The composer/filmmakers might also argue that, though the Herrmann theme was an obvious influence, they had changed it enough to make it an original work. And then it becomes a judgement call on the part of the court.


Highly doubtful in the case of Re-animator as the theme is used as a comment on the film's protagonist. Thanks for clarifying this rule, very interesting.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 11:08 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

But the court decided otherwise because the introduction of the melody featured eight identical measures and six would be enough to characterize plagiarism.

That's an odd thing to consider measures as a plagiarism indicator because depending on time signature you can write a hell of a notes within only two or three measures ! Wouldn't intervals constitute a better and more accurate way to highlight plagiarism ?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2013 - 4:53 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



That's an odd thing to consider measures as a plagiarism indicator because depending on time signature you can write a hell of a notes within only two or three measures ! Wouldn't intervals constitute a better and more accurate way to highlight plagiarism ?


There is no standard number of notes or bars that can be used across the board to determine plagiarism.

 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2013 - 11:07 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

SchiffyM's right on. The law and people can be a funny thing together.

One party may sue another party for stealinjg intellectual property, while that same party may ignore another whom does.

You're boss may tell everybody you are a wife beater. You can take that to court, clearly having him dead to rights, and lose the case. Why? Well, if you get a judge that or lawyer that simply argues, "Who will believe him? Tell everybody you are not.", yadda, yadda, yadda.

You the boss (or upper management) can be sued to sexual harrassement, even though you did not remotely do anything, but in the end it's cheaper to break a deal with the woman' attorny, simply because it's so expensive.


You can litterally have a burgler fall through the sky-light in your roof, have him take you -- the home owner -- to court, sue you and win for his injuries and improper protetion on the roof of the home he was burglerizing.


(And no, I didn't make any of these examples up! Just weird examples I've rememberd over the decades)

 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2013 - 1:12 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Or, for that matter, with the start of the naval scene in BEN-HUR, where again there's more than just an homage to the same piece? Any thoughts?



Disputable.

Melodically, the theme for the Roman fleet is of course just the theme for the rowers in a changed guise.

As soon as the galleys appear, we hear the big trombones play a six-note tune, very aggressive. These six notes are exactly the same as the six notes of the rowers' rhythm ostinato, played on bass strings and quieter bass brass, that underpins the whole of 'Rowing of the Galley Slaves'. The track 'Rowers' at the end of the sequence (before the Rome scenes) consists entirely of this figure. The rowing rhythm no doubt came first, and then when Rozsa needed a fanfare-like motif for the Roman fleet, for consistency's sake, he transformed it into this big tune. It's not a separate tune in its own right.

The shape comes of course from the fourfold rowing motion, 'reach - dip - pull - feather'. The tune rises as the rowers reach, and falls as they dip and pull. So it's Mickey-Mousing. In the opening scenes of the fleet however, and the sinking scenes, this is changed to a black fanfare, but it's the SAME NOTES.

Only the high strings/trumpets ostinato on top of them is Holstian. You could say the same about Goodwin's highest reach in the titles for 'Where Eagles Dare' where the same sort of ostinato sits atop a Teutonic march theme briefly.

But you could as easily say it's like Ravel's Bolero.


As regards Zimmer's 'Gladiator' I'd have thought Gustav would wait in line and chat with Wagner whilst old Sergei and Klaus and Vangelis sorted out their suits first. Though it's probably temp-track love anyhow.

 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2013 - 1:39 PM   
 By:   Shogun   (Member)

How does a judge determines if a piece of music is a result of plagiarism, does he need to hear both pieces and compare them before making the verdict?

 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2013 - 2:51 PM   
 By:   Entr'acte   (Member)

Did Fox's suit against Battlestar Galactica ever include music? I know Williams was asked to visit the scoring stage where Stu Phillips was recording to see if he was "plagiarising", but never heard anything more.

 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2013 - 6:38 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

How does a judge determines if a piece of music is a result of plagiarism, does he need to hear both pieces and compare them before making the verdict?




I dunno how it's done now, but it USED to be that only MELODY was allowed to be contested in a lawcourt.

Otherwise, most modern temp-track love would lay open just about anything to lawsuits. For example a part of Porkofiev's 'Romance' from 'Lt. Kije' is used in 'Gladiator' as characters walk though a camp after the battle. Except that although the harmonics and string bed and orchestration are the same, the lone trumpet has been given a totally tweaked tune. So he got away with it.

But to be fair to Hans, I'm sure this was temp-track and Scott again.

(By the way, is it just me, or does anyone else here think his Robin Hood is a total macho misinterpretation? Ridley's stuck in the 1970s somewhere.)

 
 Posted:   Jul 30, 2013 - 7:43 AM   
 By:   JasonComerford   (Member)

This could be just a rumor, but I recall some discussion about a settlement between James Horner and Enya around the time TITANIC came out.

I am sure you're all shocked, SHOCKED that James Horner might help himself to someone else's music.

 
 Posted:   Jul 30, 2013 - 8:17 AM   
 By:   johnbijl   (Member)

Did Fox's suit against Battlestar Galactica ever include music? I know Williams was asked to visit the scoring stage where Stu Phillips was recording to see if he was "plagiarising", but never heard anything more.

John Williams and Lionel Newman visited the sessions. According to Stu Philips, they concluded there was nothing wrong with the music.

For reference: http://www.jwfan.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=19817

 
 Posted:   Jul 30, 2013 - 10:46 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

I dunno how it's done now, but it USED to be that only MELODY was allowed to be contested in a lawcourt.

It's hard to imagine it being any other way, to be honest. Of course, a piece of music is many things -- orchestration, timber, tempo, structure, harmony -- all working in combination. But if somebody were able to claim a copyright on a certain combination of instruments, or tone color, or meter… well, that would be pretty creatively stifling, no?

At least in American copyright law, one cannot copyright a typeface. The idea is that all faces are based on essentially the same 52 shapes (plus numbers and punctuation, of course), and nobody can claim ownership of those, no matter how inventively used. I think a similar thing applies to orchestration; one can be very creative with it, but at the end of the day, it's made from the same instruments, and nobody can claim them.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2013 - 2:04 PM   
 By:   lupoprezzo   (Member)

Regarding Baxter and ET. Maybe someone can confirm this, I have heard/read that Baxter was reluctant to sue and that Henry Mancini encouraged him to do so. This apparently led to some bad blood between Mancini and Williams.

Yes, I definitely read that somewhere, though I can't remember where.

 
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