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Controversial Plagiarism Issue

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  • Noob

Hi Everybody,

I'm new here so if I post this in the wrong section please advice me. :)


English is not my 1st langguage so pardon my grammar.


My Topic is: Can anybody here please help me identify the similarity between these two songs?

1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG--QGXqnlM

2 -

There's a national controversial issues going on in Malaysia where the first link is our 55th Independence song. People accuse it is a plagiarism version of the second link, but most of the accuser fail to explain the similarity in musical terms.

Maybe we can discuss here whether there is a case of plagiarism between these two song? if yes, maybe you guys can help me on describing the similarity of these two songs from more musicians terms and perspectives.

Thanks in advance

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Instantly, I hear the same chord progressions. To me, both songs sound EXTREMELY similar. The chord structure is the same, but the tempo of the Independence Song is slower.

Now, I could argue that there are many other songs that follow a similar chord progression. Not knowing the translation, I can't compare lyrics. I have heard other examples of songs extremely close to one another that weren't considered plagiarism. If the Red Hot Chili Peppers can release Dani California and not have Tom Petty sue the socks off them, then I think this is probably okay.

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You can't copyright chord progressions, but lyrics and melodies can be.

There was a recent controversy here over songs by Beyonce' and Kelly Clarkson being the same. Turns out that both songs were penned by the same writer and have eerily similar melodies. After it was proven that there were no copyright issues, both are getting radio airplay.

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If the chord progressions show some uniqueness to them and both works are similar...there is cause to look further into the issue. It's not easy to prove tho... If someone has enough money to fight it out in the courts... Lyrics obviously are a lot easier than music to "prove."

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On a guitar forum I frequent, there was a discussion recently about how modern music has become boring, mainly due to the use of the same melodies over and over again. In just about every genre, you can hear songs with nearly the same melodies.

Back in the early 1900s, Schoenberg, and a bunch of composers who agreed with him, stated that every melody that could be written on the conventional eight tone scale had been written. There were no more new melodies to be written on it.

So he, and they, came up with a 12 tone scale and wrote a whole bunch or new melodies. No one could hum them. Very, very, very, very few could stand listening to them (according to Wikipedia, 14 people have been found, so far, that actually can stomach listening to Schoenberg's 12 tone stuff. They all teach music theory, so they may be lying just to preserve their lesson plans.)

Then there is India and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. They are sources of new melodies no one can abide also.

As John Prine so rightly said, if it has more than three chords, I don't do it.

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I listened to about 1 minute of each video and there certainly is a similarity. As previously noted, the chord progression is very similar, but this is not a copyright-able feature. The melody is hard to catch in the second video (Tuhanku Maha Besar), owing to the group sing and recording quality, but the melody of the first video (Janji Ditepati), is very similar, and certainly the phrasing is almost exact, too close for coincidence. Additionally, these both remind me of a western pop song (I can't place the title just now) that was out a few years ago. I suspect that both of these Malay songs cribbed from the same "inspiration", rather than one plagiarizing the other...

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Noob

Thanks everybody for your opinion. Much appreciated! :)

So I boiled down the issue to:

1. The chord progression is very similar, but it is not a copyright-able feature.

2. The phrasing of the melody is almost exact.

My question is, although the issue is 'hard to win and not so copyright-able', do you guys agree with me that the above conclusion is just enough for somebody to brought up the case to the public to prove the morality of 'the composer'??

Another question is, my friend tell me that the theory behind those very similar chord is 'counterpoint', is it so?

What is the music theories that's going on to describe the similarity in those 'chords and phasing similarity'?

Thanks in advance. :)

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