Re: Copycat

1

His case is presumably predicated on the notion that everyone listens to Satriani records, so Coldplay can be presumed to have heard his tune.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:06 PM
horizontal rule
2

But even granting creativeguitarstudio's questionable harmonic analysis (I hear the third chord in the Satriani progression as tonic, while the Coldplay starts on the tonic), dude has no case: it isn't enough.


Posted by: Mr. F | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
3

1: The "I don't even own a Satriani record" defense can't possibly have merit among today's professional musicians, surely. I thought it was assumed some bandmate along the way made you sit and listen, at the very least. It happens.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
4

Do they use a lot of E chords? That's a dead giveaway. Satriani likes E.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:18 PM
horizontal rule
5

Seems like this sort of question could be addressed through statistical analysis.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
6

1: The "I don't even own a Satriani record" defense can't possibly have merit among today's professional musicians, surely.

Satriani is sufficiently niche that I have a hard time believing Chris Martin has EVER heard a tune of his, regardless of ownership issues.

Seems like this sort of question could be addressed through statistical analysis.

Maybe over entire oeuvres, but for a single song? Surely not.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:35 PM
horizontal rule
7

What are the standards for lawsuit (or more likely settlement) success? I assume "Ice Ice Baby" vs. "Pressure Drop" was pretty much a slam dunk. Two riffs that had always sounded similar to me (though with a tin ear and no theory), middle of "Badge" and "It Don't Come Easy", apparently were both acknowledged variations of same riff by George Harrison. (Apparently Harrison got sued over "My Sweet Lord" by The Chiffons/"He's So Fine".) And I think Led Zeppelin had to credit earlier folks on some of their stuff. Probably more widespread than I know.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:39 PM
horizontal rule
8

"Under Pressure", JP.

The Chiffons won that case, or Harrison settled, or something. "Unconscious plagiarism", I believe.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
9

This guy calls his approach "harmonic analysis" but in practice he seems to have the gift of reprocessing anything into a nice bit of MOR guitar strumminess.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:44 PM
horizontal rule
10

Maybe over entire oeuvres, but for a single song? Surely not.

Well, the number of possible chord progressions of a given length is finite, right? So you could presumably do some sort of analysis of the probability of chance similarity between the two songs based on that. You would need something to compare it to, of course, and I'm not sure what that would be, so this may not really get you anywhere useful. My interpretation of the question here is based heavily on the linked video, the relevance of which has been questioned upthread, so maybe none of this is useful. Also, I know much less about statistics than I would like, and mostly have it in mind because I've been reading a lot of archaeology lately.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
11

Well, the number of possible chord progressions of a given length is finite, right?

If having the same chord progression means plagiarism, then almost all pop songs are plagiarized.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:47 PM
horizontal rule
12

I imagine him as an expert witness. "Here's the Bach -- dum dum dee dumdum dee deedee -- and here's the Mahler --- dum dum dee dumdum dee deedee -- and finally here's the Santriani -- dum dum dee dumdum dee deedee. I don't think it's looking too good for Bach or Mahler."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:47 PM
horizontal rule
13

8: "Under Pressure", JP.

Yeah. Fuck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
14

The standards are nebulous. You need "substantial similarity" (need not mean X% of the song, could just be some short but distinct portion) and actual copying (which doesn't exclude unintentional copying, just excludes things like coincidence, common derivation from an independent 3rd source, etc.). The cases are pretty haphazard is my sense.

Harrison lost his case, and yes, the court found that he'd copied--because there was supposedly some specific distinctive "grace note" in both songs that couldn't be coincidence--but unintentionally.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:49 PM
horizontal rule
15

If having the same chord progression means plagiarism, then almost all pop songs are plagiarized.

That was certainly my impression, and I was wondering about that aspect of the video's argument. Probably best to disregard 10.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:51 PM
horizontal rule
16

Remember that I know virtually nothing about music.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:52 PM
horizontal rule
17

Always.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:55 PM
horizontal rule
18

You might note it as well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
19

Oh, snap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 10:58 PM
horizontal rule
20

You might note it as well.

In a minim.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:01 PM
horizontal rule
21

One step at a time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:04 PM
horizontal rule
22

What about "Piano Man" and "Iris"?


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
23

What about "Someday" and "How You Remind Me"?


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:06 PM
horizontal rule
24

But all pop music is plagiarized. Every single song you like -- and this goes double for w-lfs-n -- was cliched and tired back when Ook and Zook were banging two rocks together while wrestling with hyenas over carrion.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
25

jhtc! This is very old news, days. Where the fuck have you been living? Down a mineshaft? I say he's got a pretty good case, having heard both. I mean enough about chord progressions often being similar, listen to the songs. He's got a pretty good case. Don't particularly care for either party's music in general, though they both do some catchy stuff occasionally. Speaking of catchy, that Gwenyth Paltro, (Gwynith Palltreau? Ghwheyniyethe Paltrow?), cats' meow!


Posted by: Mr. B | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
26

Whatever teo doesn't know about music, I don't know more of.

Looked up ELP's "Knife-Edge" which used to irk (on several levels, but mostly the lack of attribution) some classical music types I knew back in the day, and I see that it is now listed as (Leoš Janá?ek & J. S. Bach, arr. Emerson, Lake & Fraser). Am certain it was originally on the album as just the latter three.

Am also interested in Ben's take on the (attempted? partial? failed?) Enoization of Coldplay.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
27

24: Zook always could tear it up on the sax.

Anyway, I do hope this court case is dropped on account of douche plantiff. There's some common factor among nearly everyone known as a "guitar virtuoso" that makes me absolutely hate the shit they play.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
28

Whatever teo doesn't know about music, I don't know more of.

Given the rest of your comment, I seriously doubt this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
29

Am also interested in Ben's take on the (attempted? partial? failed?) Enoization of Coldplay.

I try to avoid listening to Coldplay.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:24 PM
horizontal rule
30

29: Yes, you've indicated that before. Was just wondering whether having Eno produce the latest album changed that stance. Apparently not.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:28 PM
horizontal rule
31

I try to avoid listening to Coldplay.

How hard to you have to try to achieve this goal?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
32

The 136, 138 beats per minute thing seems really damning. Lay-down case, if you ask me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:34 PM
horizontal rule
33

So hard, Gonerill.

The hardest.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
34

It's not the chord structure, which, as ben points out, is hardly enough to constitute copying, but the combination of that, the tempo and(most importantly) the fact that Coldplay blatantly stole Satriani's chorus. They cleverly disguised this by making it into the verse in their song and writing a new chorus.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
35

It's not the chord progression - or not primarily the chord progression - that Satriani is upset about, I presume; I mean, the guy (whatever you think of him) isn't a musical idiot, and he knows similar-sounding chord progressions are a dime a dozen.

The chorus melody to Satriani's song is really almost identical to the basic melody of the Coldplay song, and I think listening to the first 1:30 of each would bear that out, especially when compounded by the similarity of harmony and groove. I don't think Satriani is crazy for thinking "Hey, that sounds like my song!" BUT based on my hazy IANAL understanding of the precedents here, he should probably lose because the details of how each track inflects and varies the melodies is pretty different, and I think - as per the Harrison/Chiffons case - that kind of identical subtlety is the standard for plagiarism (or "plagiarism").


Posted by: Medrawt | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:40 PM
horizontal rule
36

Heard some NPR show play clips from both... very similar. Eerily so. Not Eire-ly so, though.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
37

A friend of mine [who transcribes music for a living] has an analysis up here:

http://www.spaghetti-factory.co.uk/2008/12/satch-vs-coldplay

Shorter version -- the chord progressions are very similar but in different keys and the melody is note for note identical including pitches and note lengths for nearly 2 bars but then diverges.

I'd be surprised if having the same melody for 2 bars of a song is enough to lose a plagiarism case.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:12 AM
horizontal rule
38

I'd think that it would really depend on which two bars.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:19 AM
horizontal rule
39

I'd be surprised if having the same melody for 2 bars of a song is enough to lose a plagiarism case.

Pachelbel lost out, yo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
40

re: Satriani is sufficiently niche that I have a hard time believing Chris Martin has EVER heard a tune of his, regardless of ownership issues.

Oh, I don't know. Guitar music is a niche but it's one marketed heavily at and substantially purchased by other guitar players. I'd bet you can pick Joe Rickenbacker in an average indie band and find that he/she [but usually he] probably has a dark past in which they listened to a lot of Yngwie and probably has more than a passing awareness of the Satriani oeuvre.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
41

Pachelbel lost out, yo.

Dowland and whoever wrote "La Folia" should be equally pissed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:37 AM
horizontal rule
42

Two riffs that had always sounded similar to me (though with a tin ear and no theory), middle of "Badge" and "It Don't Come Easy", apparently were both acknowledged variations of same riff by George Harrison.

Easy to acknowledge since Harrison wrote and played on both.

In this particular case (Coldplay/Satriani) could they find enough people for a jury who wouldn't fall asleep during the hearing?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 3:34 AM
horizontal rule
43

Easy to acknowledge since Harrison wrote and played on both.

So I learned to my surprise. And is the consensus among the knowledgeable that Starr had no hand whatsoever in the composition of "It Don't Come Easy"?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 4:48 AM
horizontal rule
44

I expect he had a hand. I saw an interview about 30 years ago where he claimed to have contributed a line to "Badge" as well, but I can't remember which line.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 4:55 AM
horizontal rule
45

re; 44

Wiki has a quote form George Harrison talking about the line that Starr added.

"After that Ringo walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park."


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
46

The Chiffons won that case, or Harrison settled, or something. "Unconscious plagiarism"

Unconscious? Huh. I thought when it came out that the only mildly interesting thing about "My Sweet Lord" was that it was a sacred repurposing of a profane love song, although the Chiffons song was much better.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 6:34 AM
horizontal rule
47

This case is retarded.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 7:02 AM
horizontal rule
48

This case is retarded differently abled.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
49

This case needs to be taken out back and shot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
50
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
51

I don't recall the outcome of the Ghostbusters-IWantaNewDrug Trial of the Century at all . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
52

I will say, and this might be unconventional among music types, that Coldplay writes rather catchy melodies (even if they tend to end up in pretty boring songs)

Don't want to pop your counter-intuitive balloon, but this is exactly the CW on Coldplay. Also: they'd be 50% easier to take if they didn't wear silly costumes and if Gwyneth Paltrow's wife wasn't allowed to dance.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
53

The video is interesting but it's clear that a halfway competent attorney could bullshit a jury into finding for Coldplay.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
54

51: Looks like it took an interesting twist (or is the 2nd lawsuit what you were referring to). From Wikipedia:

The two parties settled out of court. Details of the settlement (specifically, that Parker paid Lewis a settlement) were confidential until 2001, when Huey Lewis commented on the payment in an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music" in 2001. Parker subsequently sued Huey Lewis for breaching confidentiality; the lawsuit is ongoing.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
55

Plagiarism cases are confusing for those of us who think it all sounds the same. Isn't Huey Newton one of the most generic, predictable musicians who ever made the big time? Isn't Coldplay? And that's the impression I have of Satriani, is that he's a guitar whiz whose music has no real interest. It's sort of like a blues musician trying to patent a song.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
56

I consider Satriani and Coldplay both to be a form of the structural violence of liberal hegemony. Seriously, can't they both lose?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
57

Seriously, can't they both lose?

Which country is this travesty unfolding in? There used to be a tradition in England of juries awarding a penny in damages, where the plaintiff was legally right but also a proper bastard (e.g. the bloke who sued Leon Uris in the 60s. Uris was awarded costs and got a best seller out of it.) Some such outcome would seem appropriate, with judicial remarks about vexatious litigation thrown in for good measure.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
58

I understand that Public Enemy stole Huey Newton's work for Fear of a Black Planet.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
59

This site of "Famous Plagiarists" is interesting although somewhat wankerific. I had no idea that Johnny Cash had issues with "Folsom Prison Blues" (and the evidence is pretty damning). There apparently was a settlement. One more thing he atoned for with his cover of "Hurt".

On his Seven Dreams album, Jenkins' wife had sung about leaving Crescent City:

If I owned that lonesome whistle
If that railroad train was mine
I'll bet I'd find a man a little farther down the line
Far from Crescent City is where I'd like to stay
And I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I'd bet I'd move on over a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison that's where I want to stay
And I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
60

John Fogarty got sued for sounding too much like himself. According to VH1.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
61

I consider Satriani and Coldplay both to be a form of the structural violence of liberal hegemony.

I have no idea what this means, but I wholeheartedly endorse it anyway.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
62

John Fogarty got sued for sounding too much like himself.

This is true, one of the more notable egregious legal abuses by a label.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
63

Turns out Fogerty* v. Fantasy, Inc made it to the Supreme Court but only on the narrow issue of prevailing defendants getting attorney's fees in copyright cases (Fogerty had prevailed in the original suit). He "won" with the Supremes on that, although they did not go as far as he argued, rejecting the application of the "British Rule" "which allows for automatic recovery of attorney's fees by prevailing plaintiffs and defendants, absent exceptional circumstances".

*John Fogerty probably has one of the most misspelled names going.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
64

Are we not considering the possibility that this is a publicity stunt, with enough similarity to make it plausible? Or have we given up on cynicism? Because I would have thought there'd be a memo.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
65

The worst consequence of the inevitable coup d'etat of radical environmentalists is the fact that not only are we going to have to give up bacon, we're going to have to give up cynicism as well.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
66

Soy cynicism is quite delicious if prepared correctly; most of us neanderthals mangle it however, leading to the common misperceptions about it having a slimy texture.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
67

Cynicism is hormonal.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
68

Male gynecologists lack sufficient cynicism.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
69

Not if they're a certified ob-cyn.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
70

...because they have too much testosterone


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
71

that didn't quite work, did it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
72

The guitarist for Laddio Bolocko looks like ben w-lfs-n while the drummer is surely the Devil Hisself. I wish that Marcus DeGrazia had not gone on to play in Electric Turn to Me.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
73

Cynics are monsters.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
74

You're thinking of cyclops.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
75

Cynics are cyclops?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
76

No, but cyclops are cynics.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
77

"Look, can't you just get past the one big eye in the middle of your forehead and realize that Seventh Heaven is a really sweet, affecting show?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
78

No, but cyclops are cynics.

Because of the myopic point of view?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
79

My one-eyed monster just doesn't give a fuck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
80

My one-eyed monster just doesn't give a fuck

How sad for you and your SO.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
81

my condolences.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
82

bah, pwned.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
83

Satriani is sufficiently niche that I have a hard time believing Chris Martin has EVER heard a tune of his, regardless of ownership issues.

Probably pwned, but WE ALL had a friend when we were teenagers who got really into Satriani, right, because he was the most amazing guitar player EVER, and made us listen to at least one cassette side, and offered to make us a copy, are you sure, man, the whole album is this great, come on?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
84

Plus Satriani had a cheesy pop duet a few years ago. I think everyone knows who Satriani is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
85

So satriani is an ass. And coldplay sucks ass. Maybe they suck satriani? In which case he may have one. Non? I mean.
This site is asinine.
Un real. The shield. 7th heaven. Insipid gossip. Some pseudo-science socio gibberish to leaven things. Not that you can't find that in People or Newsweek.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
86

84 - I don't know who Satriani is.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
87

86: There's this cheesy pop song I can totally hear in my head right now of his. Does that help?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
88

Also it turns out that I have Santana and Satriani confused. Does that help?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
89

I imagine him as an expert witness. "Here's the Bach -- dum dum dee dumdum dee deedee -- and here's the Mahler --- dum dum dee dumdum dee deedee -- and finally here's the Santriani -- dum dum dee dumdum dee deedee. I don't think it's looking too good for Bach or Mahler."


My daughter was telling me about a song she liked on youtube. She didn't know the name but her friends showed her how to find it by seaching for bam bam bi dam.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
90

I had never heard of Satriani until this post.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
91

Yes but had you heard of Santana?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
92

Also don't you lack brain music receptors or something?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
93

I had heard of Santana.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
94

A-HA!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
95

wow, 85 is deep.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
96

I have uploaded a song superior either of the songs in question. Please download it, I assure you you have never heard anything like it before.

Only 10 downloads permitted!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
97

I'd just like to point out that 85 was NOT ME.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
98

97: Thought not. Bad new trick.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
99

97: Phew. I was a little worried you'd gone off the rails.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
100

I used to do some work in IP theory and read a lot of cases like this one. It seems like they're pretty hard to win.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
101

BTW, has everyone given up on a west coast party at the end of the month? I'm going to be in SF for MLA and in Davis for a few days before and after, staying with my erstwhile coblogger who lurks here, and we are both game. I know no one wants to come out to Davis for a party like we'd offered, but we travel well.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
102

Tura Satana plagiarized Coldplay?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
103

It seems like they're pretty hard to win.

Particularly in pop music. It's not like the song structures are complicated, on average.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
104

101: I haven't given up! I'll be there as of the 28th. Let's run this!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
105
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
106

I don't mean to highjack AWB's attempted highjack (what's wrong with you people? go have a party!), but David Brooks has found a low deeper than the Mariana trench:

If forced to choose, we would all rather our children be poor with self-control than rich without it.

I know that there's not really anything to say about this except that he's a jackass, but seriously? He believes this?

He doesn't have any idea what being poor is. He thinks it's living on ramen noodles for a couple of years after college before you get a great job that will lead to the next great job.

I propose that the next reality show be David Brooks and his ilk moving into (different -- no collaborating) inner cities for at least a month.

What conditions should apply?

- Bring whatever you can carry on the bus
- $50?
- A kid? 2? Or maybe he has to take custody of a kid partway through.

I'm enjoying thinking about this.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
107

Pop music has in common with traditional art forms the problem that they are generally judged in quality not by the individual genius of their expression, but by the perfection of a recognizable structure developed over time by a community of other artists. It's hard for "traditional" artists to sue over a corporation stealing a design, and it's hard for a pop musician to sue over another pop musician making money off a pretty standard pop chord progression, because neither the design nor the chord progression would exist without a large community of others doing what looks to outsiders like almost exactly the same thing anyway.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
108

106: Yuck. A few years ago, I was at a party with my then-boyfriend's snobby friends, and one of them was chiding me for never having been to Europe, as if that's something I just kept choosing not to do out of cussedness. So I explained to her that I live paycheck-to-paycheck and just a few years before that often resorted to scavenging for food. She made an excited face and said, "You should write a novel about it! Oh, I do hope my son gets the opportunity to live like that for a year or so. How romantic!"

I almost killed her with my bare hands.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
109

107: Exactly. Given pretty much any pop song, and you can establish a long list of connections to other songs (including things like the exact progression, the modes/scales used in the melody etc.) of course, the simpler things are the fewer alternatives so more shared material, and pop songs are often very simply structured. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

I think from a lawyers point of view, given competent opposition, it would be extremely difficult to establish how your target's song was close enough to be infringing in a way that all these other examples weren't. It would have to be a pretty blatant rip off to be clear.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
110

I almost killed her with my bare hands.

you have to admit, that would have made a good chapter, anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
111

101: Magpie and I will still be here and are still up for a party.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
112

traditional art forms the problem that they are generally judged in quality not by the individual genius of their expression, but by the perfection of a recognizable structure developed over time by a community of other artists

I knew a guy who was in the furniture business and would basically do knockoffs of popular styles. He was sued by a competitor for his liberal interpretation of "fair use". His defense was "you can't patent a chair".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
113

I propose that the next reality show be David Brooks and his ilk moving into (different -- no collaborating) inner cities for at least a month.

Have you seen the ads for the new Fox reality show, "Hidden Millionaire"? Each week, a new millionaire moves into "one of America's worst neighborhoods", "disguised as an ordinary resident". At the end of the show, they give some of their money to the "poor person who they think is most deserving". Sorry, I know it's the complete opposite of your fantasy, in fact it's horribly Victorian, but I had to drop it in.

One thing I noticed was that in the ad I saw all the deserving poor people in "America's worst neighborhood" appeared blonde and white, as was the "hidden millionaire". I don't know what was up with that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
114

"America's worst neighborhood" appeared blonde and white

That's because America's worst neighborhood is now Greenwich, Conn. Don't you read the papers?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
115

I did see an ad for that show. Revolting.

deserving poor . . . appeared blonde and white

Everyone else deserves to be poor.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
116

Sometimes it seems like Fox wants people to write of the US as a failed experiment.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
117

I don't know what was up with that.

Sure you do.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
118

In further heartwarming Christmas story news.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
119

116: write OFF dammit. off. Though I suppose `of' works too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
120

119: Yeah, I thought you meant future historians, or aliens.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:38 PM
horizontal rule
121

120: One can hope they'll be a little wistful when they read, right?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
122

120: Or naked mole rats.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
123

106: Medical emergency? ("Oh, Davey, you didn't mean poor without health care?")


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
124

123: Nice addition.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
125

Ah, we have a version of that - "Secret Millionaire". I've watched a couple. Well, one. And bits of others. It's actually quite interesting - they don't pick a winning, 'most-deserving' poor person, they gave out money to lots of people. Definitely a lot more in touch with reality than the idea that not having enough to eat is romantic.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
126

wikipedia agrees with stormcrow that elp's knife-edge didn't credit janacek -- or indeed bach, who turns up later in the song -- on early editions of "emerson lake and palmer"; it seems doubly odd given that emerson's early band, the nice, had made a big showstopper thing of rocked-up (acknowledged) classics, you; have thought that emerson (a) would know he couldn't get away with it* and (b) wouldn't want to, as he liked to swank about his more than usually wide knowledge of obscurer quarters of classical music

*janacek was relatively fashionable in the uk in the late 60s, inclassical terms, in the sense that he and smetana were composer of the week on radio three about once a month each; my dad was always griping about this


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
127

("Oh, Davey, you didn't mean poor without health care?")

That won't happen though, because these children will have so much self-control that they'll be able to fast all month in order to pay their premiums.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
128

I don't know whether anyone's already pointed this out, but I DON'T CARE! I'm pretty sure that the creative guitar studio guy's harmonic analysis is wrong. I would post this on his vid, but comments are disabled. VI VII III i would have a very difficult time sounding in minor. A much more likely analysis, which would have the exact same chords, would be IV V I vi.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
129

OK both songs are fairly unlistenable, and they both tow the major/minor line fairly closely, but the coldplay one is clearly in major. Also it just occurred to me that since they run the same chord progression over and over again that it ends up sounding like vi IV V I which is a very strong major cadence. So...I'm write and he's wrong.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
130

Toe!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
131

128: I don't know guitar chords, but I know if I were to transcribe the melody lines of the guitar parts to piano, I'd transcribe them differently. They don't sound the same to me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
132

Hmmm...they should. Let me write it out


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
133

In the key of a minor (because it's easy)

F G C a
VI VII III i
IV V I vi

Did I do something wrong?


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
134

130: darn


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
135

If I were in the key of C, I'd write out the Coldplay melody as:
F F F
F G G G G
E E E
E F F F

For Satriani I hear:
F F F F F F F F
E E E E E E E E.

This makes me suspect I have no clue what's being discussed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
136

This makes me suspect I have no clue what's being discussed.

Welcome to my world.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
137

So I think that you're playing the melody and I'm writing out the chords underneath. Both melodies can be harmonized with the same chords, though in Satriani's case it requires non-chord tones. So we aren't disagreeing


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
138

On the piano you could play these chords, which are notated vertically. The lowest one corresponds to the lowest one on the piano

C D G E
A B E C
F G C A


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
139

138: Right, that's what I hear. Good!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
140

139: Excellent!

So, then the point I was trying to make in the first post was what key the whole thing is in, is it in the key of the third chord in the sequence, or the fourth? I think that it's the third, the guy in the video argues that it's the fourth.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
141

Right, the way you wrote it in 138, it's in the key of C, which is the third chord. But since C major is the same as A minor, is there any meaningful answer? But it still feels like C.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
142

The fact that it feels like C is precisely my point. C major doesn't have to be the same as A minor especially with some G sharps thrown in. Even then it's possible. Lord of the Rings always sounds minor and not major, and all of those chords can be played in both major and minor.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
143

Heebie's theme song has the chord structure H G B G, but no one knows how to play an H. Some theorists have considered bending a G# enough that it's not quite an A. But there is still considerable disagreement in the musical community.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
144

Heegie-Beegie?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
145

It's like boogie-woogie. The "H" is guttural, more of a "CH" sound almost.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
146

In German they call the note B, H


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
147

B is B flat


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
148

"If you don't play this next chord right, we'll ALL be flat!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
149

You might think I screwed that up, but no sireee, that heebie is a trickster.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
150

146: Right, so you see Stanley was merely trying to trick us into playing the Bee Gees'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
151

But since C major is the same as A minor, is there any meaningful answer?

Therein, as they say, lies the rub. `same' is doing a lot of work, isn't it?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
152

151: What do you mean? It's the same scale, just starting at a different point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:50 PM
horizontal rule
153

It comes down to what chords you use when. Like think of play lord of the rings:

A AAG GGA


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:56 PM
horizontal rule
154

But it's a totally different mode. It's G mixolydian, too, but people don't hear it that way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:56 PM
horizontal rule
155

152: Ok, I've done limited amounts of theory so maybe I'm out to lunch here, but I've always thought of this roughly like so: They have the same notes, but they are not the same scale. Much like a G and an Abb have the same tone with different names, the naming tells you something.

You could also be thinking of these as aeolian and ionian modes; still the same notes but the context is different.

If the structure is simple enough though, it can be hard to pin down harmonic intent and the `real' center.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
156

Also, HBGB could be played using the german transliteration as B B flat G B flat. Bach did it. So did Shostakovich.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
157

154 is probably a better expansion of what I was trying to say, and certainly simpler.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
158

Okay wait, I know they're different scales. I'm just saying the word "same" wasn't doing a lot of work in 141. Just some amount of work.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
159

154: No, it could be thought of as the same mode. That would have to be the point too. If the coldplay is in minor, then it is missing a leading tone just like LOTR, which would mean it's in the same mode.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
160

I used to word 'same' to point out that C major and A minor have the same notes, but depending on the context (say beginning and ending going from E to A) then they don't need to sound the same at all.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:04 PM
horizontal rule
161

158: oh, ok. i read that as stronger than you meant then, I guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:04 PM
horizontal rule
162

160: yeah, that wasn't a problem. It was heebies `is there any meaningful answer' bit I was reacting to, meaning that the context should (usually) tell you.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:06 PM
horizontal rule
163

I'm gonna go play with my mixolydian now. Everyone have a good night.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:08 PM
horizontal rule
164

162: Gotcha. And it is worth acknowledging that there is an ambiguity because of the lack of leading tones. So it's not quite as obvious in the song as playing it on the piano might make one think.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
165

159: 154 was intended as a response to 152. I didn't listen to more than a few seconds of the songs in question, only enough of the linked video to think that the guy's harmonic analysis was totally off, as you pointed out in 128.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
166

164: Agreed. Sometimes people are obviously playing with this, but also with simply structured pop songs the simplicity ends you up in ambiguity like it or not.


Posted by: sou | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
167

comity!
an heebies gone to bed. probably a good idea.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
168

I understand now. Somehow I didn't get what you were saying. I was confused...


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
169

comity!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
170

You people stayed on-topic for an awfully long time. Was there something wrong with the original post?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:27 PM
horizontal rule
171

I don't post that frequently, but when I do it's been pointed out that somehow it's on posts that stay on topic. Causation or correlation??


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
172

You people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-08 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
173

139 - 160 (ish)+:

Pwned mightily by 37. Pwny pwny pwned. If you are interested at all in the notes being played, it's worth checking that link [my mate A. transcribes music for a living].

Executive summary: The Coldplay song is in Ab major, the Satriani song is in G lydian. When the two songs are transposed into the same key [and the modal difference dealt with], the progressions are the same except the Coldplay tune uses the relative minor for the first chord.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-08 12:40 AM
horizontal rule
174

173: pwnage barely counts if there is a 100+ comment gap. You can't expect people to read everything, now can you?

That aside, the link is good.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-17-08 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
175

the link is good and elaborates on my basic point. I would have described the chords in terms of non-chord tones instead of 7s and 11s, but I suspect that just shows a different background/same results.

Also, I refer you to 128 for my response to the pwnage.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-17-08 8:38 AM
horizontal rule