Didn’t rip off Radiohead

March 26, 2012

I wrote some music that sits on a progression that evokes an old Spanish, flamenco chord progression that clearly places the music in Spain. Guitarists know this progression well*. But the progression, in, say, film music, could harken all things Latino/a. I evoke the progression in a conversation between Angela Peralta and the Captain, but as I listened to it, it wasn’t the Spanish component I was playing with.

Who was I ripping off?

I listened to everything Coldplay recorded and that was not it. Daniel got home from work and I played him my music, saying that I think I’m copying or evoking some pop song. I played it for him. After a few moments he came up with two Radiohead songs claiming that there may be more. Then we listend to my music again. It was not copying the two songs, although it used similar chords and emphasized similar scale degrees in the melody; but the overall phrase structure was completely different.

Here is “Everything is its right place” by Radiohead. I love the flat-6 in the melody; yes, I stole that, but not his tune; yes I evoke this chord progression, but no it’s not THIS chord progression, and after all, you can’t copyright chord progressions. But it was the Radiohead feel of this chord progression that I was after, and not a moment of Spanish fervor, dancing around a fire with a flamenco guitar with hoots and hollers. And if it gets translated in the mind of some listeners as: Flamenco music = Spain = Mexico = Angela, then I guess it’s not the end of the world, but it wasn’t what I had in mind.

No, I didn’t rip off Radiohead.

*Note: the musical example is not from my music, rather a sample Phrygian flavored chord progression, spelled simply. Radiohead repeats the first three chords, sometimes over the E pedal, sometimes not.

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