I was listening to a radio broadcasting of Allan Cross one night, talking about the current state of new music. Currently, we’re in the electric guitar age, which makes sense, as it seems to be the predominant musical instrument out there. You can argue that soon Techno will be taking over with turntables and computer synthesized music, but I dont buy it. People have been prophesying the ubiquity of Techno and Electronica music for years, even decades but it hasn’t happened. You know what has happened though? We have started integrating “technology” into our music, and into our musical instruments. Gibson and Fender have even come out with guitars that tune themesleves! But that doesn’t mean that artists have diverged away from that raw acoustic sound. If you look at the DJs out there, a lot of their music is of pre-recorded acoustic instruments. Take coldplay for instance – a relatively new band, but they incorporate many acoustic instruments for that orchestral sound. Sure its put together digitally but the original sound is acoustic.
The problem, however, of still being in the “electric guitar age” is that the guitar has a finite number of notes, and due to the nature of music, a finite number of notes that sound good in unison (chords). As Allan Cross claims, this leads us down a scary path because it means that there will come a point where music repeats itself. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles and Why Don’t You Get A Job by the Offspring have the exact same chord progression and similar vocals, just to name one. Or Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ and Sum 41’s ‘Pieces’. Both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Avril Lavigne were in legal troubles over melodies that were questionably similar to that of other bands. Is this a sign that we’ve reached music Armageddon!? or just the writers subconscious thinking up a tune they already know? I’ve talked to many people about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that reaching the end of new music is highly unlikely, considering all the types of ways to play a guitar, as well as intertwine it with other instruments.
On a bit of a side note: If the coils on your guitar’s pickup loosen, it starts to pick up noises other than the vibrations of the strings.. and I’ve *SEEN* some artists take this to their advantage by singing into their electric guitar WHILE playing it. One artists plays his electric-acoustic while singing into the mic in the sound hole, AND tapping on the back of the guitar to simulate drums… absolutely insane.
Getting back on track – it seems almost inevitable that melodies, or art, or ideas, or anything really will be inadvertently replicated at SOME point in time.. and when it happens its usually because its a good tune (or design or idea). As long as they arent blaitantly copying you, respect that they have come up with the same idea and represented it in a new and interesting way. They’re not out to steal from you, or control the world (well.. maybe Kanye West is). And instead of throwing a hissy fit about it, let them know about it and they’ll probably throw Kudos your way. Look at that song that the Red Hot Chili Peppers accidentally plagiarised from Tom Petty- “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. Tom Petty didn’t sue the Chili Peppers for royalties, but just by this issue coming to light, it breathed new life into a once good, but mostly forgotten about song. And thats the take-home message from all of this… Kanye West wants to rule the world.