Accidental Plagiarism

Songwriting, songwriters, etc

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frozenbread1
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Accidental Plagiarism

Post by frozenbread1 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:54 pm

Anybody out there had this problem? After writng a lot of songs I've discovered that one song has an exact melody line as another famous song.
Any suggestions for changing that melody line?

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by sansharbour » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:00 am

If you have written a lot of tunes and one of the tunes has the exact same melody as a famous song then I would say, now that you are aware of this is to scrap it and start over.
I once entered a Canadian songwriting contest for Hockey Night in Canada. I liked the song and someone commented that it sounds like Some Guys Have All the Luck by Rod Stewart. I didn't do this intentionally but once I was aware of the sameness of the melodic line I just scrapped it .

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by frozenbread1 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:45 am

Thanks for your reply. I haven't had to scrap all the song. I've discovered that by altering the underlaying chord progression you can subtly pull away from the offending melodic line.
I think the reason for the accidental plagiarism is that the chord progression naturally promotes the melody.

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by frozenbread1 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:54 am

I should add that the famous song, in question, turns out to have plagiarized another song.
I think this sort of thing comes with the territory when one is writing prolifically.

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by Fox » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:38 pm

I check tabs to what songs I think my idea might sound similar to, if not the same. Its hard to come up with something truly original nowadays where it hasn't been milked before. Sometimes the vocals are what truly set the song apart. I would suggest doing what I do and checking the tabs to the songs you think your song might be sounding too similar to.

Compare and contrast basically.

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by burpo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:07 pm

A two-note tweak makes ALL the difference.

Many famous melodies share the very same pieces.

Similarity isn't plagiarism.

Best of luck.
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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by Kolstad » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:31 pm

Yes, try to write or improvise a counter melody, then delete the main melody, and develop a new main melody from the best of the counterpart.

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by admin » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:45 pm

I just saw this thread and thought I'd add something I read years ago. Melodies become ingrained after we hear them over and over. Though we may not hear them for years, they live in the recesses of our minds, only to pop up when writing a song. Makes sense, and I don't doubt that similarities are unintentional.

We hear submissions somewhat often at TAXI where the song as a whole may not sound like it was "borrowed," and probably not intentionally, from another song. The problem may or may not be a legal one depending on several factors, but when listeners hear even a short melody go by and ask, "Haven't I heard that somewhere before?" the song becomes less likely to get cut or become a hit.

Then again, The Beatles were definitely influenced by Carl Perkins, Elvis, Chuck Berry and others, and things seemed to work out well for them ;-)

If your song sounds TOO familiar, move on, IMHO. Stylistic influences are one thing, familiar melodies are another.

Best,
Michael

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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by mojobone » Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:53 pm

Sometimes, a melody is just in the ether; back in the early eighties, I got one of those heaven-sent songs that dropped into my mind at work one day, whole and complete; I never demoed it, but about eight months later, I heard it again, whole and complete, in what was then a brand new, unaired episode of Miami Vice. Interestingly, I was living in North Ft. Myers, at the time; about 160 miles from Miami, on the opposite coast. Go figure.
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Re: Accidental Plagiarism

Post by Len911 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:50 pm

A melody is just a stand-in for a lyric,imo. Once you start filling in the lyrics, if it isn't an instrumental, very likely the rhythms and pitch will change anyway to conform to the language and meaning of the lyrics. And an instrumental would have even more flexibility in that regard.
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