Accidentally writing song that sounds similiar to an already existing one

Started by FreezeFlame(Alchemy), August 01, 2020, 14:38:29

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Found this to be a rather interesting topic to discuss.

Whenever someone composes a track, there is always the chance that it might contains elements from other sources.
Sometimes, it can happen that the end product can sound similiar to an existing music track.
Its impossible to check, since there are so many different existing tracks, with more incoming from different composers and producers.

I am not sure if this ever happened to me, but its always bothering me whenever working on a track.
Mostly due to not wanting my effort to result in a unintensional cover, and if unaware of existing songs,
ending up uploading my track with much higher risk of legal issues.

What are your thoughts, people of the ModPlug forum community?
Blue Flames of the Night.

Was known as Alchemy before(with an Dialga picture).

Saga Musix

In an age where the entry level to making new music is extreme low, it's often likely that someone has already used a melody that is similar to yours, even disregarding obvious sources for similarity such as direct inspiration from another artist.. However, it's extremely unlikely that you would run into any legal issues unless you become a very well-known artist. Don't worry.
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This has happened to me several times and as much as I've meditated on it, I doubt there's a way to avoid it.  There's no way to "thumbnail" audio, you can't rapidly browse en masse and kind of let intuition work in your peripheral sense.  I love to compose music but broader audio work such as curating samples/instruments for the composing, and working on sound effects and soundscapes for game development, dealing with 100s of WAVs, while also enjoyable, just becomes overwhelming and time consuming for that reason.

So the example I have is - I didn't watch 'The Silence of the Lambs' since I first saw it when it was released and I was about 12.  Some 15+ years later I composed some music and, while I was proud and wanted to use it in the project, I just knew I had subconsciously contrived it from somewhere, I just didn't know where.  It bugged me as soon as I finished up and was revising it.  A few years later I rewatched the film and bam, there it was.  That got me thinking, "How easily this happened.  How many times have I done this before?  How many more times will this happen?  Is this more likely to happen as I grow older?  How can I possibly avoid it?  What is this 'inner orchestra' in my mind and how can I trust it?  Should I even compose anymore?"...  That's really frustrating and sad.  Are all the great melodies (no matter how quirky) already taken?

As for legal issues - that's a serious question, because in that particular case it was outright and would be seen as blatant.  Luckily it did bug me, despite being over 15 years ago, I had a gut feeling about it.  So then, if I have the same kind of creeping bellyache when I listen to my other pieces, is that telling me something?  As pretentious as this is going to sound, should I bin a piece of music because it's 'too good' and sounds too much like what could already be out there?  Again, this topic can really get me depressed.  So I guess I'd rather just continue, take that chance, trust my gut a _little_ and tweak some notes until it settles.  I still don't even know...


In evolution and science this is known to happen... in the case of evolution it is called convergent evolution, in science it is a well known event, but I am unsure if it has a name... either way, the fact is it is impossible to avoid it. I make a lot of house for example, and because of the genre structure it is inevitable that I am going to make something that sounds similar to something I or someone else have done before...

Do not let it bother you at all, most certainly do not let it stop you from creating art. The only people who have a problem with it are people who are not creating music that is a hit because they are anal about doing something completely new that inevitably no one likes, or people who are simply not creating any music at all... these are both extremely salty people and do not deserve to have their opinions take any time in the mind of a person who is actively creating music.
The turtle moves!

Alex TEHb

Probably, everyone who writes music, faced it.
Subconsciousness, at times, plays with us a malicious joke.
For myself I divide this theme into the realised and not realised repetition.

All of us repeats someone's product when we study.
I downloaded another's 1000 fashions-files to understand, how correctly to use the editor. Peeped and stole another's ideas to use in the works because most there was no experience and ability to do arrangement.
Unless someone did not do it at the initial stage?

Another matter when you try to earn on it. Material benefits or the status (position). Here also there comes legal responsibility.

There are also amusing incidents. One year ago has written a new melody, but did not leave sensation that I not the first... When переслушал it in a half-year (with a fresh mind), it has appeared that I have repeated OWN song which has written in school days... :)  But to understand it, it was required to me of half-year...

Today it is difficult to think up something new, unique. If the melody can be qualified to any style, it means is already similar to something.
If you manage to create something new, there and then there will be hundreds groups which will play your style.


When it comes to music, modern artists actually do this on purpose, which lead to an interesting development in music making.

If you make a song that is very similar to another tune, but still is significantly different, you can still claim to be inspired by that other tune while making something new, and you get away with it.

If your song is really the same as the other, not just the melody line but also the chord progression, then it becomes a cover and then you need to worry about labelling it as cover and see if you are allowed to make a cover. It can become a matter of buying a license to make a cover, or altering the song enough so its no longer a cover but rather an inspired work.

But as said, this is mostly something bigger artists face, and will come to play when you want to sell your music or make it available through streaming services.

So, if you have a melodyline that is very similar to that original tune you once heard, but there are a few different notes, and the rest of the song is also completely different, then you just have an insipired song, which is totally okay.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Saga Musix

Note that "getting away with it" is definitely something you should not count on especially the more popular become. There have been quite some high-profile court cases about famous artists sampling each other. As said before, if you stay underground it's unlikely you will ever get caught, because there's not much money to get from you to begin with.
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