#1
I just made this little analysis of the two, and turns out they're not that similar. What do you think?
#2
Quote by selkayann
What do you think?


The songs sound really similar and I wouldn't be surprised if Jimmy Page ripped the idea from Taurus, since Zep has stolen a bunch of other songs as well.

I don't really care for your analysis since I can just listen to the songs and tell you that they sound similar no musical analysis really needed.
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#4
Quote by Kevätuhri
no musical analysis really needed.

The thing is that the trial will probably focus on musical analysis, since it can be objective, however just saying "they sound similar" or "they sound differnt" is subjective.
Last edited by selkayann at Apr 18, 2016,
#5
Quote by selkayann
The thing is that the trial will probably focus on musical analysis, since it can be objective, however just saying "they sound similar" or "they sound differnt" is subjective.


I don't give two shits about the trial or if they lose or win. You asked, "Are Stairway to Heaven and Taurus Really That Similar?, and I gave you an answer, which is yes they are.
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#6
No 11. So in the key of A minor... a G note indicates the natural minor while an F indicates harmonic minor. Yeah, okay. I'm not sure how you're getting that.

Other than that, the idea isn't about or not the notes are the same song. You can have the same melody even if the notes are slightly different. Variations and all. Listen to Irish trad, old time, bluegrass, jazz, etc. In one song, you might play the melody 10-20 times, but it's a bit different each time due to the performers' stylistic differences (as well as the inherent stylistic differences between different instruments), but it is still the same melody being played.

Listen to this for example. All the instruments are playing the same melody, but with different variations. On paper the breaks all would look completely different, and they all sound very different. But to even an untrained ear, it's clearly the same tune being played throughout.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DtRNRH6nP4

Of course, your method of "analysis" of scrutinizing every single note would point out hundreds of differences and draw the conclusion that they are all 97% different, even though it is clearly the same tune throughout the whole piece no matter how many little changes are made to the melody.
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#7
It's not about looking at individual notes. Just because some of the notes are different doesn't make the songs different. So you can't just compare single notes. You need to see the bigger picture. I don't think your analysis of the songs is good - it focuses too much on individual notes.

Now, I think they definitely do sound similar. They have a similar "vibe" to them, and they do have the same chords. The tempo is the same and the tone of the guitars is the same.

But, that chord progression is a cliche. Spirit definitely didn't invent that chord progression. Another thing that makes them different is the fact that "Taurus" is basically the chords just played as arpeggios. There is no "melody" over it. "Stairway to Heaven" has a melody on top of the chords - it's not just simply chord arpeggios.

I think this case is comparable to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoyEVTN_h9I

They all have a similar "vibe" to them, even if they aren't exactly 100% the same notes. All of these songs have a generic "bitchin'" guitar riff. It's a similar kind of cliche as the chord progression "Stairway to Heaven" uses.


I think this lawsuit thing is getting a bit out of hand. I do think these are definitely closer to each other than "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" (and that was also about a "similar kind of vibe"), so there's definitely a chance that Led Zeppelin will lose.

I don't think Led Zeppelin did anything wrong here. I don't think this is comparable to "Dazed and Confused" or some other song that they actually stole.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 18, 2016,
#8
Quote by theogonia777
No 11. So in the key of A minor... a G note indicates the natural minor while an F indicates harmonic minor. Yeah, okay. I'm not sure how you're getting that.

It's about the E chord... a G note refers to a natural minor ending, whereas the F followed by the E sounds more natural when played on top of an E major chord (which leads to a harmonic minor ending).
Here's an example from the Song Remains the Same concert film, where it can clearly be heard at about 1:16
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q7Vr3yQYWQ
#9
Page stole it.

But I don't care, what he did with it was pretty awesome and beyond what Spirit ever did with it.

Regardless of Page's prolific thievery he's still a musical genius in my book.
Si
#10
When you look at the frets, they do indeed 'appear' different. If you'd look at the notes however, you'd see they are nearly a perfect match, with the major difference only being in octaves and the fact that the arpeggiated chords are played moving up the chord rather than down. Considering the chords match bar by bar nearly entirely, and its major melodic difference is just one being played an octave higher than the other I'm inclined to say it is indeed awfully, awfully similar.

I'm also inclined to say that during earlier musical periods it was not at all uncommon for composers to borrow melodies, make parodies and variations on those. They just had the balls to write that in the title of the piece. Which is just what I see here, a quote of a piece heard with (arguably) an added melody line. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as we're all being honest. I'm not saying mr Page isn't, nor am I saying that it's curious it took Taurus this long to notice their work being copied... Or maybe I just did. Who knows?
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#11
Quote by 20Tigers
Page stole it.

But I don't care, what he did with it was pretty awesome and beyond what Spirit ever did with it.

Regardless of Page's prolific thievery he's still a musical genius in my book.


Yes, I think this is a strong argument. Page expanded the idea way beyond what Taurus originally was.

Quote by FretboardToAsh
There's nothing wrong with that, so long as we're all being honest. I'm not saying mr Page isn't, nor am I saying that it's curious it took Taurus this long to notice their work being copied... Or maybe I just did. Who knows?


Page is on record saying that "I've never heard that song before in my life", which I believe to be a pretty blatant lie. And iirc, it was the estate of Taurus' musicians who sued Zep, not the band itself? Or do I remember this wrong?
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#12
I think these two posters tell quite a story. One facet of plagiarism is proving that the plagiarists had the opportunity to hear the material they are accused of stealing. This is the proof and there are lots of other posters from this tour.

It also wouldn't be such a big deal if Page and Plant didn't have a long history of doing this kind of thing and not acknowledging it. I love Led Zep but let's be honest, most of the stuff on their first album was ripped off from other writers. There are plenty of YouTube comparisons to prove it as well as previous lawsuits. All you need is ears.
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#14
^The bassist of the band filed suit on behalf of the estate of the late guitarist Randy California who wrote the piece of music in question. They knew it was a rip off long ago and Randy California was on record acknowledging that it was a rip off. There are numerous interviews in which this was stated in the past. But he never sued.

And yeah, Page said he had never heard the song. The record was in his collection but he can't remember how it got there and said he never listened to it. Led Zep opened for Taurus in their first US concert in 68 and played at multiple music festivals with them in 69. Proving Page had access to the song prior to Stairway being written in 1970 is pretty easy despite Page's insistence to the contrary. It appears he is lying outright and that just makes him look more guilty in my book.

He has a better defence claiming that a chromatic descending bassline with a ascending counter melody is nothing new in music. However, nothing is new in music and when you boil it down to that kind of simplicity then everything is obvious and simple. If there were 10 examples of the same descending bass line over the same chords in other songs then he would have a case.

If on the other hand the following were true:
The particular arrangement of a descending bass line over essentially the same chords occurred only twice in recent history.
Those two times occurred within two years of each other
In the two years between the first instance being written and the second instance being written the artists that wrote them played on the same stage in concerts and festivals
What's more, the second "writer" of the arrangement also had a copy of the other band's record in his collection (not to mention an extensive history of taking ideas without giving credit)
...well, the evidence is pretty damning.

What's the purpose of the suit though? The bassist, I sincerely hope, should not get any money or personal gain out of the suit. However, if it's just to get his dead buddy a songwriting credit then in all honesty he probably deserves some credit. Page refined it and turned it into something else completely but without Taurus, Stairway to Heaven might not exist at all.

On another note will the writers of Summer Nights be suing One Direction for "That's what makes you beautiful"?
Or will the Clash be suing One Direction for "Live While We're Young"?

What Page did with that intro is amazing. He took it to a whole other level. He took something that was, let's be honest, pretty average and turned it into one of the biggest songs of all time.

1D took song iconic intros with proven success' and turned them into successful boy band pop songs.
Si
#16
Thing is, if you look at what Stairway is doing, simplistically... I think that you can make a case that its not really a whole lot except for counterpoint lines travelling in opposite directions (CONTRARY MOTION). That should be understood as the genesis of this. The chord names names are incidental. Its a repeating motif with a chromatic descending bass line and melodically ascending melody line. I can't say that anyone has an exclusive claim to using an idea like this.

It's very possible to have arrived at this independently, in my opinion.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Apr 19, 2016,
#17
When you reduce the intro to a single sentence description then it sounds very simple. I do agree however that it is possible to have come up with it independently. That's not a sufficient defense (remember this is civil not criminal).

The two pieces of music were written within two years of each other. 1968 and 1970 respectively.

In 1968 Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit in their first US concert and Spirit played Taurus in that concert.

Throughout 1968 and 1969 Led Zeppelin played on the same stage as Spirit at multiple festivals (see billing posters above for examples) and Taurus was played.

Jimmy Page had a copy of Spirit's album which has Taurus on it

The circumstances don't do much to support a claim of independent origin.

It is reasonable to believe Page had access to the song Taurus before 1970 when he wrote Stairway to Heaven. There is a clear similarity to the average listener.

Whether the idea is able to be copyrighted is in my opinion the best argument defence Led Zeppelin has.

I am not sure that it is enough to warrant copyright. It's not the contrary motion that is in question. Taurus doesn't have the melody notes and contrary motion heard in the Stairway intro. The similarity is a result of the descending bassline and arpeggiated chords. I think it was undoubtedly copied but am not sure that it is enough of an idea to warrant copyright protection.

The judge ruled that it was enough at least for the case to be heard.
Si