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Subject: Re: Am I late to the Fair?
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 1 Jan 2017 12:44:24 -0500

text/plain (53 lines)

Exactly so, Donald. ;-)

And so many times we tend to *hear* similarities because there are just certain natural 
ways that a note wants to lead to the next one, or a chord leads to the next one, etc. Basic 
progressions and turns of melodic phrase that seem inevitable. (I think it indeed was 
Leonard Bernstein that talked about new music wanting to sound "fresh but inevitable.") 
So we're inevitably bound to hear similarities in various pieces. Sometimes composers DO 
deliberately quote another piece, perhaps slyly, perhaps overtly. But more often than not, I 
think it might only be after that fact that a similarity is discovered - and by that point, I 
tend to think most composers ain't gonna change what they wrote even if it *does* evoke 
another piece. 

The initial theory that came up yesterday - that Nino Rota borrowed from Mussorgsky - 
well, probably not. Rota probably came up with his choices of how to use arpeggiated 7th 
chords independent of anything sung by Rangoni to Marina. (And I'm sure that related 
musical gestures - the piano accompaniment to Chicago's "Color My World," the iconic 
instrumental break in Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," and the opening phrase of 
Jerry Herman's "Before The Parade Passes By" - all based on arpeggiated 7th chords - also 
found their way in without any necessary knowledge of either Rota OR Mussorgsky lol.) 
Likewise, I think it's a real stretch to say that Bernstein was thinking of Peter's melody in 
Hansel Und Gretel when writing "Carried Away" (the two melodies are not identical in notes 
or rhythm, though yes, there is certainly a certain general link - but again, they're just 
both based on descending minor scales, which is certainly not uncommon), even if indeed 
Bernstein/Comden/Green were deliberately looking to do some fun operatic pastiche in 
that song. 

One of my favorites has always been the ending of Barber's "Sure On This Shining Night" - 
once you realize that the last phrase in the accompaniment really does evoke "Lullaby Of 
Broadway," it's hard to un-hear that. But I truly doubt that's what Barber had in mind. ;-)

A happy new year to all, and here's to many fun musical discoveries in the year ahead. ;-)

On Sun, 1 Jan 2017 11:01:07 -0500, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>but no, there doesn't need to
>be a reason for any of these things,  whether deliberate, unconscious,
>playful, or opportunistic, it must be remembered, that there are only
>so many different notes available, and some arrangements of them
>happen to work better than others, especially for a composer.

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