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AYearInExile
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:47 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Estonia
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:54 pm 
 

How to conceptualize the issue of musical plagiarism? Once I, for example, found myself sitting on a good rhythmic section that went perfectly with the melody I had written. Then I found out that I had taken that rhythm section - pretty much 1:1 - from a quite sympathetic folk/trash metal band who had already used it. So I felt bad and abandoned the project but should I? From a technical standpoint this riff/rhythm is pretty dumb: a 3 chord progression played in a metal fashion. So it has probably been used by someone else aswell. It starts at 00:30, lasts 15 seconds and comes back numerous times later.


Now, on a more abstract level I think it gets pretty ridiculous. First, we have a somewhat fluid limitation on creativity (metal genre can mean aggression, speed, simplicity among other things). Then we have similar instruments for thousands of bands (electric guitars, drums, bass, few types of vocals, keyboard). Then we have commonly used scales which make variety of stuff sound similar. Then we have more musicians today than ever which makes plagiarism more likely to happen. Finally, we have trends like metalcore and such which add another layer of limitations to creative output. Knowing all this I am rather surprised that so much distinction or even originality has remained in the metal genre.

So it's a pretty pessimistic view on my part. I'm aware that it's rather impossible to come up with anything completely original anywhere but there seems to be a big area between outright plagiarism and complete originality where most new metal songs land. Are we likely to see this big area gradually decrease while the category of "outright plagiarism" grows and grows? This is pretty much what I think.

TL;DR: Is everything a remix? Feel free to post some interesting examples of plagiarism in metal.

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Opus
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Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2002 11:06 am
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:22 pm 
 

Nope, we won't run out of new possibilities to combine those twelve notes anytime soon. I can come up with at least twenty ways to change up that riff on the spot, and that's without even going in to changing rhythmic patterns.
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FasterDisaster
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Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:33 pm 
 

This topic has come up a dozen times. I have no doubt that other artists have "plagiarized" riffs or whole sections of music from other musicians, but with the sheer number of metal artists throughout time writing stuff, you're bound to get riff and song section similarities from time to time.

I will say though, it's always fun to hear similar sections in two very different subgenres of metal. It makes for a bit of an interesting dichotomy.
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mark of the devil
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Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:48 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:11 pm 
 

Watain 2nd track off Lawless Darkness has pretty much the same riff as Burzum Jesus Tod.

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maladie
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:42 am
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:53 am 
 

There are so many combinations and different scales that you basically can't run out of possibilities. If you go into atonalism and serialism, then you have several billion possiblities.

One of the more bizarre plagiarisms I've heard in metal is Estatic Fear ripping off Loreena McKennitt's Skellig.
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2Eagle333
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Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:24 am
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:40 am 
 

There's a lot of plagiarism in atonalism. That was kind of the point, from a Hegelian/Dickinsonian standpoint.

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Manic Maniac
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Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:58 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:00 pm 
 

The only thing I can think of is a prtion of Crystal Eyes's "Dead City Dreaming" ripping off a portion of Megadeth's "Hanger 18." Their's is slower & more cheesier. Admittingly, I was familiar with the Crystal Eyes song before I heard Hanger 18, & because so, I it doesn't really bother me.
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thrashinbatman
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:03 pm 
 

The prechorus of Sabaton's Panzerkampf which steals almost verbatim the prechorus from Accept's Stand Tight.
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The Animator
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:44 am 
 

There is nothing wrong with using bits and pieces from influences. But it becomes plagiarism when a song sounds like a cover of another song only with new lyrics.

Original
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83qBRmM00R4

Plagiarism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xse6ocUkLQ

Original
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUAyb995X7k

Plagiarism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iw4tY3he7w

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By_Inheritance
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 8:38 am
Posts: 416
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:44 am 
 

I think most bands do it unintentionally. Like people have said, there's that many bands out there, someone is bound to write a similar riff. There are bands that do it intentionally though of course. Gamma Ray are the masters of plagiarism. The amount of obvious Maiden/Priest riffs that they borrow is unreal. I love the band, but sometimes it's a bit much. I guess some people would call it homage, but you can only do it so many times before you're just ripping bands off, right?
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Arkhane
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:39 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:48 am 
 

The Animator wrote:
There is nothing wrong with using bits and pieces from influences. But it becomes plagiarism when a song sounds like a cover of another song only with new lyrics.

Original
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83qBRmM00R4

Plagiarism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xse6ocUkLQ

Original
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUAyb995X7k

Plagiarism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iw4tY3he7w

I don't hear any bit of plagiarism in these examples. Just similarities.
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Porman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:31 am 
 

I wrote an entire verse and chorus that is very similar to the verse and chorus in Frozen by Dissection, but I did before I even heard that album.
Coincidence. I also (subconsciously) took an entire chord progression from Europe's Wings of Tomorrow (from the same album) and played it a different feel and got myself a new riff.

Stuff like that pretty much happens all the time.

I recently discovered that a riff that Vampire uses in one of their songs is very much alike a riff we had for one (scrapped) song in my band Phidion.
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Folkemon_
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:43 pm
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Location: England
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:40 am 
 

thrashinbatman wrote:
The prechorus of Sabaton's Panzerkampf which steals almost verbatim the prechorus from Accept's Stand Tight.


Quite alot of Sabatons stuff sounds alot like other bands songs

for example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95RFHR-8YuI sounds like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf1-n-RrhVc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_N7PSkwUmA sounds a bit like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWQ973Vnmkg
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LegendMaker
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:24 am
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:34 am 
 

Porman wrote:
I wrote an entire verse and chorus that is very similar to the verse and chorus in Frozen by Dissection, but I did before I even heard that album.
Coincidence. I also (subconsciously) took an entire chord progression from Europe's Wings of Tomorrow (from the same album) and played it a different feel and got myself a new riff.

Stuff like that pretty much happens all the time.

I recently discovered that a riff that Vampire uses in one of their songs is very much alike a riff we had for one (scrapped) song in my band Phidion.

You hit the nail on the head, there. Similarities are bound to happen, be it by sheer coincidence or due to unconscious plagiarism or, at the very least, what we could simply refer to as "influence" in the context of songwriting. The key to separate those similarities from outright plagiarism, for the most part, is in the songwriter's own talent and/or style.

If it feels like a rip-off, it often is and, more importantly, the song is likely ruined, for those who care about that sort of thing at least. For instance, in the examples The Animator posted above, the Angel Dust Mk III song basically screams "hey, we regurgitated Rainbow's "Kill the King"!" throughout. It's plenty different in many aspects, but the elements they lifted from Rainbow are blatantly used in the same way as in the original song, and that just feels wrong. The StormWarrior example is equally obvious, as you don't just happen to reproduce the main riff and the vocal melody line and the accompanying gang shouts from the same song (by your idols, no less) by coincidence; still, they changed the pace and the rhythm pattern and delivery are vastly different from Helloween's "We Burn", so they at least tried to make it their own rather than covering a song and calling it an original (even if they didn't succeed).

In contrast, you have stuff like Manilla Road's Mark Shelton lifting riffs from Angel Witch or Accept, among others, but making them entirely their own due to the concept and atmosphere of the songs he builds around them being both different from the originals and very strong in and of themselves. "Helicon" is a superb song in its own right, even if you can clearly hear the resemblance with "Princess of the Dawn". It's not a poor man's "Princess of the Dawn" like, say, Iron Savior's "Deadly Sleep" is a poor man's "Aces High".

Edit: This is sometimes just as true for lyrics. For instance, both Kai Hansen and Ralph Scheepers tend to incorporate bits and pieces of Judas Priest lyrics in their own, in a very obvious way, especially off of "Jaw Breaker". As long as their overall lyrics tell a different story, that type of stuff is okay, just a passing nod to their heroes, but sometimes it can be too much. "Heavy Metal Universe" by Gamma Ray feels too much like a paraphrase of Manowar's "The Gods Made Heavy Metal", for instance, and stuff like calling a song "Wings of Destiny" and having the line "on sad wings of destiny" in its lyrics, also by Gamma Ray, is way too much. Find your own tone and voice.

Bottom line, if you have something of your own to say, even if you occasionally use the same figures of speech or borrow a line or two from someone else, you're still worth hearing. If you merely recite speeches from others, you're little more than a parrot and please shut up.

Folkemon_ wrote:
Quite alot of Sabatons stuff sounds alot like other bands songs

A_LOT.* Two words. Sorry to pick on you, but out of the various huge English mistakes I see all the time on the Internet, that one is the most grating on the nerves for me, because the word "alot" doesn't even exist. So, unlike their vs there vs they're, its vs it's or stuff like "could of", a mere spell check can easily eradicate that one. Please activate your web-browser's spell check, people.
/ :nazi:
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:38 am 
 

Maybe I just listen to Angel Dust more than old Rainbow (no disrespect to the latter though), but that one song sounding like "Kill the King" doesn't invalidate the number of great albums Angel Dust did - or the fact that they're one of the better and more unique power metal bands of their time. I'm not a musician, so I just have a different perspective than some people. I don't really care if there's a riff lifted or a song uses similar chord progressions or even a similar structure, so long as I can hear the feeling and style in the music and get some emotion out of it. I dunno, certainly people who actually write music will have a different idea, but there you go.
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thrashinbatman
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:58 pm 
 

Porman wrote:
I wrote an entire verse and chorus that is very similar to the verse and chorus in Frozen by Dissection, but I did before I even heard that album.
Coincidence. I also (subconsciously) took an entire chord progression from Europe's Wings of Tomorrow (from the same album) and played it a different feel and got myself a new riff.

Stuff like that pretty much happens all the time.

I recently discovered that a riff that Vampire uses in one of their songs is very much alike a riff we had for one (scrapped) song in my band Phidion.

Speaking of our own plagiarism, many years ago I wrote a song that featured a riff which was the exact same as the main riff to Megadeth's Go to Hell. Even better, I had never heard the song when I wrote it, it was a year later when my bandmate pointed it out to me.
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Headless420
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Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:22 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:01 pm 
 

I was immediately turned off by Aura Noir after they shamelessly stole the greatest Slayer riff of all time.

starts at 1:53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPRAndczo0g
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:36 pm 
 

Well...that is the greatest Slayer riff, so they picked a good one at least.
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teh_Foxx0rz
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 9:38 am
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:15 pm 
 

It's not the greatest Slayer riff in the world...it's just a tribute!

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maladie
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:42 am
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Location: Norway
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:04 pm 
 

2Eagle333 wrote:
There's a lot of plagiarism in atonalism. That was kind of the point, from a Hegelian/Dickinsonian standpoint.

The point of atonalism was to strip the vestige of old tonality and its rule on art music since Bach's time. I'm not aware of any actual plagiarism that isn't mean and been explained as an homage (for example Berrio's work, or the use of the B-A-C-H motif in a lot of music even extending to Pärt's early works). I'd be more than happy if you can show me a few examples of said plagiarism and expand on the concept of Hegelian and Dickinsonian philosophy as I'm a music major, where we don't discuss that much philosophy.
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IanThrash
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:56 pm
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Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:16 pm 
 

Headless420 wrote:
I was immediately turned off by Aura Noir after they shamelessly stole the greatest Slayer riff of all time.

starts at 1:53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPRAndczo0g



Seriously? have you ever heard Sordid? or The Merciless as a whole? direct Celtic Frost cult/worship/plagiarism.
It's an awesome album nonetheless. Catchy as hell.
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CF_Mono
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Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:34 am 
 

Headless420 wrote:
I was immediately turned off by Aura Noir after they shamelessly stole the greatest Slayer riff of all time.

starts at 1:53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPRAndczo0g

That's what we call homage. The first detail in the description is that it's a "tribute to Sodom" and sure enough the first riff is like an obvious imitation of this song. It's a medley of thrash riffs. Come on.

The Angel Dust/Rainbow example wasn't really that close at all. Maybe it's because I pay attention to each and every note too much, but unless it's an actual note-for-note similarity it's not going to sound the same to me. If you want to hear an actual ripoff (which still doesn't actually bother me because they're still different songs) then you might want to note Racer X's approach to this.
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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:13 am 
 

CF_Mono wrote:
Headless420 wrote:
I was immediately turned off by Aura Noir after they shamelessly stole the greatest Slayer riff of all time.

starts at 1:53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPRAndczo0g

That's what we call homage. The first detail in the description is that it's a "tribute to Sodom" and sure enough the first riff is like an obvious imitation of this song. It's a medley of thrash riffs. Come on.

Yeah, that Aura Noir album seems to be along the lines of the entire career of the Norwegian Infernö. A game of "can you spot all the well-known thrash riffs in there?" more than anything else. I don't know about AN, but Infernö goes on to name practically all the members of the classic bands they "paid homage to" in their booklet's "special thanks", but also in a way that only those already quite familiar with the original material will get (stuff like "Tony, Tony & Tony" for Whiplash etc.). I get that it's different from your garden-variety plagiarism in that it's absolutely intentional and meant to be found out. Still, I'd rather they just covered the original songs or at least acknowledged their medleys properly. At the end of the day, they're still releasing an album's worth of other people's material, and they might attract new fans who will attribute at least some of it to them. That's "homage" alright, but done in a rather shady way in my opinion.

As for the "Kill the King" rip-offs, I actually think that Racer X song is less overt and adds more to the table in the parts it ripped off than the Angel Dust Mk III song does. We're definitely not paying attention to the same aspects, it seems. It doesn't necessarily have to be note for note to sound similar, and sometimes it can actually have a very different feel even if it's note for note. Bottom line, there are parts in the AD song that instantly bring the Rainbow song to mind, whereas the RX song, not so much (at least to my ears).

Sometimes it's likely the band included a riff deliberately, as a "homage", and while I get what they're going for, it can still ruin the song, especially when it doesn't even fit with the rest of their song. For instance, I think the inclusion of that other Rainbow riff in this otherwise great and pretty different Gamma Ray song was really unnecessary.
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Twisted_Psychology
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:15 am 
 

From what I've experienced, it doesn't get more obnoxiously obvious than Dream Theater's Never Enough being a complete ripoff of Muse's Stockholm Syndrome. Also doesn't help that the lyrics to Dream Theater's song are just a bunch of lines bitching about their fans.
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HowDisgusting
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:39 pm 
 

Every single slam death pit riff ever written is plagiarized from "Liege of Inveracity"

So there.
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ze_mau
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Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:17 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:03 pm 
 

What about this:



oh it sounds a lot like:


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PvtNinjer
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:16 pm 
 

People always talk about how there are "endless" possibilities in note combinations. This is technically true, but you have to remember: there is more to writing and playing music than the sequencing of notes and chords. That fact is, especially in certain given subgenres, you can't just combine any notes and chords and have something that sounds good and flows. You can "tweak the riff" too but that's a cop out as well. Think of speed metal, for example. There's certain rhythms, chord changes and scales that are undeniably SPEED METAL. But how many times can you "tweak" that before it just sounds like a stale rehash? How many times can you tweak the typical atonal death metal tremolo riff before it starts to just sound procedural and random and, more importantly, stale and boring?

It's extremely hard for bands, especially in traditional genres, to write things that stand out because it's hard to sound original while still maintaining the tropes that align with whatever genre they decided they wanted to play. So yeah: there's a virtual inumerable possibility of note combinations, but that doesn't mean that even 90 percent of it will sound good or satisfying to the human ear, even less so if you've pigeonholed yourself into a certain style as a songwriter.

Personally, I don't really give a shit. No music is 100 percent original. Bands take influence from all sorts of things around them. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm perfectly ok appreciating being in the moment, listening to what might be a derivative band without mentally comparing them to this or that as long as they craft catchy and memorable songs.

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CF_Mono
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:55 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
As for the "Kill the King" rip-offs, I actually think that Racer X song is less overt and adds more to the table in the parts it ripped off than the Angel Dust Mk III song does. We're definitely not paying attention to the same aspects, it seems. It doesn't necessarily have to be note for note to sound similar, and sometimes it can actually have a very different feel even if it's note for note. Bottom line, there are parts in the AD song that instantly bring the Rainbow song to mind, whereas the RX song, not so much (at least to my ears).

Sorry, I meant to point out how similar the Racer X song and Angel Dust song were.
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maladie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:53 pm 
 

PvtNinjer wrote:
People always talk about how there are "endless" possibilities in note combinations. This is technically true, but you have to remember: there is more to writing and playing music than the sequencing of notes and chords. That fact is, especially in certain given subgenres, you can't just combine any notes and chords and have something that sounds good and flows. You can "tweak the riff" too but that's a cop out as well. Think of speed metal, for example. There's certain rhythms, chord changes and scales that are undeniably SPEED METAL. But how many times can you "tweak" that before it just sounds like a stale rehash? How many times can you tweak the typical atonal death metal tremolo riff before it starts to just sound procedural and random and, more importantly, stale and boring?

It's extremely hard for bands, especially in traditional genres, to write things that stand out because it's hard to sound original while still maintaining the tropes that align with whatever genre they decided they wanted to play. So yeah: there's a virtual inumerable possibility of note combinations, but that doesn't mean that even 90 percent of it will sound good or satisfying to the human ear, even less so if you've pigeonholed yourself into a certain style as a songwriter.

You just understood what it means to be a good composer/songwriter. This is the exact challenge of being a songwriter and yes it IS possible to be original. People like J.S. Bach and Mozart wrote in much much stricter genres than speed or black metal yet still managed to be highly original, so I don't really get why it's not ok to expect something more original and creative from bands.
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tomcat_ha
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:02 pm 
 

isnt there this Ensiferum song that is basically a specific Running Wild song with different lyrics

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