#1
So I wrote a song with staccato piano and some timed guitar hits to add to the rhythmic phrasing of the piano. The only thing is that the chorus has the same progression as the intro progression of Phantom of the opera (and originally Echoes by Pink Floyd). I just discovered this fact so my questions are:

  • Since this is a short descending and ascending chord progression, can it be copywrited?
  • Is this a scale? if so what is its name?
  • Could I get into trouble if this song would become succesful? (one can dream)
  • Has anyone of you ever experienced this? writing an awesome song only to realise that a part of it uses the same "more complex" chord progression as something else? what did you decide to do at that point?


I really like the way this song is coming along so I don't want to cut that part out since I came up with a good vocal melody to it as well .

TL,DR:
I Wrote a song with the chorus having the same progression as "Phantom of the opera"/"Echoes", what to do?
#2
A chord progression is almost nothing. It can't be copyrighted. That's almost like saying, that using the same color as michaelangelo is copying his artwork.

A LOT of songs use the same progression. A progression is what it is, but what it's not, is what makes or breaks a song. What you have to worry about, is more copying melody. You even mentioned two existing songs you know that use that progression already.

But then again, blurred lines somehow got caught on copyright infringement. I don't understand that one, but maybe copying the general feel of a song is crossing some line? Idk what the technicality for that one was, but it was ridiculous. As for you, I really wouldn't worry about it, at all.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Feb 4, 2016,
#3
To me it sounds like you are talking about the descending and ascending chromatic melody line. I would say that's a pretty integral part of the song (Phantom of the Opera). If the rhythm is exactly the same, yes, I think that may be too close to that song (but you didn't mention rhythm). But then again, not every song is meant to be released. As long as you don't release it on an album and sell it, it's fine. You can steal from anybody as much as you want, as long as you don't make profit with it.

Also, don't worry about becoming famous because you will most likely not become famous. Just write songs that you like. If the song did really become successful and it really was too close to another song, then it would be up to the original songwriter/composer if they wanted to sue you.

But without hearing it we can't tell if it sounds too similar to other songs. So if you have recorded it, could we hear it?


Another song that comes to my mind that uses a similar kind of chromatic ascending/descending "progression" is Pink Panther. Actually, the chord progression it uses is i-VI in a minor key. The notes in between them are just chromatic passing notes.
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#4
Traditionally, only melodies can copyrighted. Few enough people recognize chord progressions that as long as your melody is unique, it'll go unnoticed.
#5
This is what the guitar will be playing during the chorus, then I'm going to add a Choire as well as pretty highpitched lead vocal a la Matt Bellamy. Hope you get an idea of what I mean

Quote by MaggaraMarine
To me it sounds like you are talking about the descending and ascending chromatic melody line. I would say that's a pretty integral part of the song (Phantom of the Opera). If the rhythm is exactly the same, yes, I think that may be too close to that song (but you didn't mention rhythm).


The intro sequence of "Phantom of the opera" and the chorus of "Echoes" is what I'm concerned about.
Attachments:
Chorus.gpx
Last edited by Zerath at Feb 4, 2016,
#6
If chord progressions were able to be copyrighted the person who first came up with C-Am_F-G, would own almost every doo wop oldies song written in the 50's and whoever came up with the three chords used in every blues song would be the richest person in music history. Infringement is based on melody (notes) not chord progressions. Deep Purple's "Hush" written by Joe South has the same chords and melody used in the Beatles "Day In The Life" and I never heard that he was sued. It has to do with how many notes were used from the original melody (I thought it was more than 7 consecutive notes) but someone here with publishing knowledge can weigh in.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Feb 4, 2016,
#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
To me it sounds like you are talking about the descending and ascending chromatic melody line. I would say that's a pretty integral part of the song (Phantom of the Opera). If the rhythm is exactly the same, yes, I think that may be too close to that song (but you didn't mention rhythm). But then again, not every song is meant to be released. As long as you don't release it on an album and sell it, it's fine. You can steal from anybody as much as you want, as long as you don't make profit with it.

Also, don't worry about becoming famous because you will most likely not become famous. Just write songs that you like. If the song did really become successful and it really was too close to another song, then it would be up to the original songwriter/composer if they wanted to sue you.

But without hearing it we can't tell if it sounds too similar to other songs. So if you have recorded it, could we hear it?


Another song that comes to my mind that uses a similar kind of chromatic ascending/descending "progression" is Pink Panther. Actually, the chord progression it uses is i-VI in a minor key. The notes in between them are just chromatic passing notes.



I made a quick recording so it's easier to judge it's very crude though!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX0-m-E07yM&feature=youtu.be

Except for the chord progression I don't think it sounds that similar?
Last edited by Zerath at Feb 4, 2016,
#8
Too little, needs more song

But seriously, that's just one little snippet. You're fine if you can develop the rest of it.
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lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#9
Quote by NeoMvsEu
Too little, needs more song

But seriously, that's just one little snippet. You're fine if you can develop the rest of it.

Yeah, the rest of the song is more of a Muse and Supertramp fusion, it's only the chorus that I thought sounded like something else!
#10
I don't know about legally, but that screams phantom of the opera to me. The timing and everything, the way it goes up and then goes down in a timing exactly like phantom of the opera. If it was me, copyright or whatever else, I'd change it just because. I think if ever you made it big with that song, you'd also end up with a hefty fine of royalties you'd have to pay, but I still wouldn't worry about that.

That particular, progression, if you want to call it that, is really actually a strong melodic form as well. Even though it's just chromatic moves, I think the way the timing flows and how you have the chromaticism going up and going down with the same timing, you'd get busted for that.
#11
Just change the chromatic line. That's the only thing that needs to be changed. I agree with fingrpikingood. That sounds almost like a "sample" from Phantom of the Opera. Sounds like it was intentional.

The chord progression is just Dm-Bb-Dm-Bb. Just do something else in between. The vocal melody has nothing to do with Phantom of the Opera so that's fine. But the background is so obvious "copy" of Phantom of the Opera that I would do something to it. Remove the chromatic line and just play sustained Dm and Bb chords for example.


I mean, the Phantom of the Opera part is more than just a chord progression. It's more like a "riff". It's a distinct melody. Let me give another example - the riff of AC/DC's Highway to Hell is also "just a chord progression" but if you used exactly the same chords and exactly the same rhythm in your song, it would be a rip off. It's all about how important the part is to the song.


You may not get in trouble for that of course. But people will listen to your song and think "that's straight from Phantom of the Opera". That may be a good thing or a bad thing. Some people may see it as a tribute. But I don't think it would be that hard to change it. As I said, you could just sustain the Dm and Bb chords. Or maybe add something else between them.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Feb 4, 2016,
#12
Better yet, go with something truly innovative with the progression. I find out I'm playing parts too simply on songs, I add in notes that might work better with it all. Copyright rarely works with chords or notes that many songs use at once, unless ALL of those songs are hit with it, and then that takes way too long for most cases.

Simply put, do with it what you think is best ^^
#13
George Harrison was playing around with some chords and came up with a melody...ended up writing a whole song off the idea. He released it as a single after the band split up and was the first Beatle to achieve a number one solo hit. Unfortunately the song was actually a complete and total (unintentional) rip off of another song. He was taken to court and had to pay truckloads of money. (Compare "My Sweet Lord" with "He's So Fine")

More recently Sam Smith had to pay Tom Petty money on account of Stay With Me sounding too much like I Won't Back Down.

I wrote a melody and as I was writing it just felt really right and simple and like something a lot of people would find really easy to sing along to...only to realize it was pretty much "Oh My Darling"
Si
#14
Oh joy -3- Both of the guitar songs that I have done have had their influences, definitely, but I tried my best to keep them away from actual groups' songs and such. Seems to have worked :3 ...maybe I'll upload them sometime, even though they already are in tab form in the main song selections on UG