In our profession, it’s inevitable that sometimes we’ll write something that sounds just like something else. Sometimes we haven’t heard the other piece and when someone points it out to us, we’re kind of peeved that someone else had the audacity to write that piece of brilliance first. How dare they! Other times, however, we know that what we’ve written sounds like something else but it’s just inevitable in our music that it has to sound that way. The flow of the piece just brought us to the point where we have to borrow a bit of someone else’s work. To do otherwise just may not make sense musically.
Well, playing Morrowind years ago I was always struck by one particular snippet of music that sounded just like a part in Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. I finally sat down today and listened to both works side by side and they’re not only incredibly similar, but the snippets are in the same key and both come at very important points in the music, the ends of phrases. I think that’s pretty funny. Jeremy Soule is a terrific composer and I don’t want this to be a knock on him at all. We’ve all been there. But he has to know that he lifted this particular phrase from Jupiter. Have a listen:
Morrowind Snippet (Call of Magic):
Again, not a knock on Jeremy Soule. This is just one of the more obvious examples of music… tributing… I’ve found in games. It goes on in music all the time. The Planets was generously… tributed… in Gladiator. John Williams has … tributed… many many composers in his work (check out Prokofiev’s ballet Cinderella for a motherload of material Williams… gives tributes to).
Anyway, this topic came to mind yesterday as I was writing a piece of “Hollywood Egyptian” music. Something was sounding an awful lot like Philip Glass. So I changed it. A bit. It still kind of sounds like him. But not exactly. I hope.
If it does, well then… it’s a tribute.