#1
I was curious, is it bad to use progressions that sound like other peoples songs, there is this band called cheap girls who did an acoustic set of some of their songs and the one song was a simple D,G,Cadd9 progression and it sounds so good at the tempo they were playing at that i totally want to use it. Since they are not an acoustic band is it OK to use the progression for my acoustic project? Or in general how do you guys feel about using other peoples riffs or progressions but with your own lyrics and time signatures and such since nobody really owns music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m9UsCwF3FQ
check the song out it is actually really good.
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#2
It's better if you come up with the same chord progression on your own by coincidence, rather than blatantly ripping it off. If you do, try to make your song at least as different as Coldplay did when they ripped off Satriani.

I believe the courts found Coldplay not guilty, giving you a good metric of how much stealing is legally allowable.
#3
^^^ Coldplay settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Otherwise TS, are you under the impression that the chord progression in that song is unique? It's not. You can use whatever chord progression you want and make it your own by changing the melody.
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#5
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Coldplay settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Otherwise TS, are you under the impression that the chord progression in that song is unique? It's not. You can use whatever chord progression you want and make it your own by changing the melody.

what exactly is a melody, i probably know what it is just not the name of it.
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#7
Quote by Cloudkicker
I was curious, is it bad to use progressions that sound like other peoples songs, there is this band called cheap girls who did an acoustic set of some of their songs and the one song was a simple D,G,Cadd9 progression and it sounds so good at the tempo they were playing at that i totally want to use it. Since they are not an acoustic band is it OK to use the progression for my acoustic project? Or in general how do you guys feel about using other peoples riffs or progressions but with your own lyrics and time signatures and such since nobody really owns music.


This isn't legal advice. I'm not a lawyer.

However, I will say two things:

First of all, you know in your heart when you're creating your own song and when you're copying someone else. We all have the capacity for self deception, but let's be honest. You know. And when you know you're copying, don't.

Second, despite something somewhat distinctive about the strumming pattern, ultimately that guy is just playing a D/G/Cadd9 ... which is an incredibly common progression that you'll hear on a thousand songs. If you want to make your own progression which starts D/G/Cadd9, go for it. Just make the song your own.

You may find it hard to make your own song there because you have that song in your head, and it's naturally what wants to come out of you when you play those chords. In which case, don't do it. Come up with something on your own.
#8
Quote by intothe
I think that only melodies are under copyright, not chord progressions


I'm going with this. I doubt you'd get in trouble for coming up with a melody similar to X song as long as it was not longer then a bar. When you come up with Y song that has a very similar melody to X song, then I think you'd be ordered to change, or stop Y song unless X was copyrighted after Y song.

If progressions could be, a lot of songs are based on I IV V so every pop song is kinda screwed.

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#9
Quote by mdc
When you sing your lyrics, that is the melody.


or if you play a lead over the progression.
#10
Quote by mrbabo91
or if you play a lead over the progression.


well, really, it's whatever is the most prominent part. just because a bassline isn't the melody doesn't mean it's not instantly recognizable - look at that case with vanilla ice and queen.

but yes, typically it's the vocals that will have the melody.
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#11
Quote by mrbabo91
or if you play a lead over the progression.

This would be the case with some instrumental music. Satch immediately springs to mind.

But also some pop, such as Steve Lukather's "solo" on You Might Need Somebody". Some would argue that that solo isn't really a solo, because for a large portion of it, he's just quoting the melody.
#12
Music copyright and infringement by copying a substantial amount of a copyrighted work is quite a complex area of law. To completely undervalue the amount of serious study that goes into this area, I can say that the more distinctive part you copy, the more likely it will be found to be infringing copyright. There is no 'rule', but I can say that melodies are usually very distinctive, but it depends on the entire context of the work, as well.

That being said, it's a simple I-IV-V chord progression in G major. How many of those have you seen? Unless you completely rip off the rhythm and phrasing and percussion and melody... it's just up to you how far you want to copy someone else's work. It's not a good feeling, myself.
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#13
I can understand a beginning musician using other ideas, and Led Zeppelin took credit for other's material in their early work, but once you've written a few songs and have some playing ability, there's no excuse other than a subconscious accident.