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> What Is Original And What Isn't?
Bogdan Radovic
post Aug 16 2014, 11:48 PM
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Hey guys - I have been thinking about something.

When artists compose songs, what can be related as original and what not? What got me thinking is that I met a lot of young musicians in bands, starting out with composing and sometimes it appears as they are "afraid" to do some things musically just because it doesn't feel "original enough". This often leads to pretty underground sounding bands and songs.

I'd assume that ALL musicians are influenced by each others music? We all on purpose or subconsciously play some things that we like and feel. It can be a lick, chord progress, melody. Is it bad? IMO - NO! Does this lead to some similar sounding songs (or maybe even too similar) - probably. To me, those are still unique songs and one is not better than the other even if they look alike, use a similar lick or chord progression.

My thoughts/questions having this in mind are :

* Is it ok to paraphrase stuff you like in other peoples music, when writing your own?
* Does the above make you more or less original?
* What defines an "original" song/music really? Does this even exist?
* Is it good or bad for young bands early in their composing carriers to barricade themselves out of "stuff that has been done" in ultimate quest for something "original"? This is in question especially if the "original" doesn't actually exist.

To me every band and song that is composed (and not really purposely stolen) can be considered as original. Barricading yourself out of stuff that hasn't been done is not a guarantee of being original (after all - how can you know that it hasn't been done?). Utilizing stuff that has been done can still bring out something new, that is the beauty of music and composing.

Sorry, this can be a mind boggling topic - I just wanted to see what you guys (and girls smile.gif ) think about it?


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Aug 17 2014, 08:21 AM
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Probably many things was already played. IMHO it's not ok to paraphrase stuff and to be aware that you are doing this thing. But not only because you will be less original than others, just because this kill your personality and prove that you don't have nothing to say. What you play doesn't reflect your feelings. You want the success that other guys already have, you like an image. You must have identity. You need to be able to play what it's inside you and demonstrate your own emotion at your instrument. But this it can't be made if you steal note by note what someone else already composed. Find your identity and then you can be original wink.gif
Jimmy Chamberlin said a great thing about identity "Nobody will ever remember a guy who played like Buddy Rich"

Look at this video Jimmy said some wise words about identity.

Starting at 1:25
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klasaine
post Aug 17 2014, 09:02 AM
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Huge topic. Most likely unanswerable.

My opinion ... it's the ability to let your individual personality come out and are you confident enough to do that?

The first Beatles records were mostly a bunch of Chuck Berry and Little Richard cover tunes but they made them fresh and new again (understatement of the century). Same for early Stones, Led Zeppelin, Clapton/Cream/Yardbirds/Faces, even Hendrix ... in the beginning they all recorded standard blues and R&B tunes (or took a main riff and wrote new lyrics). But man, did they do them 'their way'!

There's only 12 notes (give or take a 1/4 tone or two) but for 2000+ years we've somehow - unfailingly - been able put them together in new and unique ways. Palestrina uses the same notes as Black Sabbath, Moby and John Coltrane but no one would mistake one for the other.

I've heard and played so much music for so long now that there's NOTHING that's melodically, harmonically or rhythmically new to me anymore. I can always find a previous example. But that doesn't matter. I still find artists that 'use the tools' in unique and compelling ways.
It's gotta be the same for visual artists (and writers) too. Sure, everyone uses red but how do you use red.

The Black Keys rip everybody off but they're unabashed about it. It's an 'honest' (IMO) homage and they tweak a little here and there and it ends up as their song.

Bob Dylan was once asked about his writing process. He said, "I start off playing something I know, change it a little until it becomes something that I don't know". And you know what? As simplistic as that seems - that's kind of 'it' really.

Everybody has influences. Filter them through your own sense of what you like and what seems musically 'right' to you.
We all decided to play music so - speaking for myself - I have an opinion as to how it should sound. You (I assume) do too.
Do it that way.

*This all relates very well with this thread - https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...mp;#entry694081

Cool book ... 'Pinball' by Jerzy Kosinski

This post has been edited by klasaine: Aug 17 2014, 09:50 AM


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Mith
post Aug 17 2014, 09:47 AM
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I think we all paraphrase many things but I think there is kinda of a unwritten rule about whats ok to paraphrase and how much of something to paraphrase.

A lick or something that has become famous on its own right is probably best not paraphrased. I also think that you have to put it in different context.

i think its alot the same as lyrics. There are common lines that are in alot of songs but there are some that are so a part of a song that they shouldn't really be touched.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Aug 18 2014, 10:53 PM
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Very interesting views on this topic. I must notice they are very different too.
I wanted to talk more about paraphrasing and what I usually consider to fall under that term.

For example, when I compose songs sometimes I would come up with part which I can relate to some famous song(s).
I came up with it while playing the instrument and when thinking about it, it reminds me to something I heard and I liked in some other songs. In this case I really consider the music mine. I didn't intentionally listen to a song and learn it note for note and then used it in my song with little or no variation. The other possible scenarios are, sometimes when arranging the song I would intentionally add a certain vibe which would intentionally remind me of a certain band. For example, in one of the songs we added some nice harmony vocals which reminded us of Simon and Garfunkel. We thought it was awesome to have that kind of vibe in that particular song and it worked well. Does that make us less original? smile.gif
What we've got with the song was exactly what we wanted from it.

Sometimes I would just like to create something similar to what I find cool by the bands I like listening to. I think we would be amazed if famous musicians would talk more intimately about their composing process and how they come up with their stuff. There are songs I have composed that I can relate certain things, details or sections in them with some famous ones I like but it is very personal in a way. If I didn't tell - how could anyone know what inspired me or what kind of emotion I wanted to create or which message to convey. I didn't always get inspired by other musicians/music too, it can be something completely different in our environment.

This makes me think - is the path to ultimate originality just not listening to music at all?
Being completely isolated from other artists music, it would imply that we have an upper hand to be more original?

The more I think about this, I come to the thought that originality in music doesn't exist in "more" or "less" form even though it can be propagated all the time when people try to define "quality" of bands or artists. In the end, we are all original as long as we are composing music and creating our songs. I would often hear: that band is great and everything but they are not original...and IF that band tries to intentionally be too original we can hear comment like : "Nah, that band sucks. They don't have any good songs and sound out of tune.". Same with guitarists, we would hear "originality" term overused as excuse to make ones music existence and contribution less significant or valuable. In the end, it just boils down to taste of the listener. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. After all - music is played by humans and we are ALL original from our birth. There are no two alike on the planet smile.gif


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For GMC support please email support (at) guitarmasterclass.net
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Check out my beginner guitar lessons course! ; Take a bass course now!
My solo and band songs : Keep Going On, Night Vibe, Kad Te Vidim, Susret, Plava Silueta
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