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Topic: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Question Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    Sometimes when i listen to a new piece of music that i admire, something about it will remind me of some older familiar work.

    For example this Christmas piece posted by CJ Pro, which i love, has a sorta uplifting kinda bold adventurous something about it, that immediately reminded me of Elmer Bernstein's Magnificent Seven.
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...588#post523588

    Certainly i doesn't sound anything like M7, but is has that something.

    But whenever this happens, which is actually a lot, I'm hesitant to say so, because i didn't know if some may find it offensive in any way for a piece to be compared to another, or didn't know if it's not what a person would want to hear.

    What are your thoughts? Is it not what you would want to hear about a piece you posted, or would it make you wonder if the commentary was maybe saying some aspect of your piece was less than original, when that's not what was intended but maybe not communicated effectively.

    Sorry about the run-on sentence.

    David

  2. #2

    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    David,

    Speaking for myself, I'm not at all bothered by comparisons (unless they're way out in left field ). Sometimes, name dropping can help validate a targeted style or sound one is attempting, and other times, they allow one to entertain musical characteristics one hadn't previously considered.

    In any event, total originality is a pretty rare commodity. So it's a little difficult to understand how anyone could be offended by comparisons to existing composers and genres. In fact, I would venture most posters would take it as something of a compliment.

  3. #3

    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    I'm never offended either. One day I would like to have a voice so unique and recognisable as to be called the Stravinsky of the 21st Century, but, since I'm a hobbyist who devotes about 1 hour a month to composition (if I'm lucky), and have maybe spent all of 20 hours studying technique in my whole life, I'm grateful if my music is vaguely coherent, and flattered if someone thinks it sounds like an established composer.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    Well, frequently, comparisons are made of my works, often enough to composers that I either have never heard of, or whose works I am not at all familiar with. As long as there is not a suggestion of imitation or plagiarism, I find no offense. Richard

  5. #5

    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    I don't consider that offensive. All that says is that I compose in a style that you can connect others with.
    Colton J. Provias
    Film Score Composer, Location Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor
    Full-stack Web Developer

  6. #6
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    As long as it's not Barry Manilow...
    Ron Pearl

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    Hmm, Elmer Bernstein's Magnificent Seven? Maybe a touch in the rhythm but I'm afraid I don't hear it. As for offensive, we should be all mature enough to handle a personal opinion regardless unless the person is down right out right rude and or condescending.
    Heeeeyaaaaaa giddy up horse!
    Styxx

  8. #8

    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    Hi, David "Leaf" - What a thoughtful question. And interesting, reassuring answers you've had here.

    --I had to sit and double check with myself to make sure this is right, - and it is: I can't recall ever being offended by any feedback I've ever gotten in reaction to my music. Not out there in Real Life, or online in Forums like this.

    There's an oft stated sentiment in theatre, which I think is said in other circles also, that if you start believing your positive reviews, then you have to believe the negative ones also. The point is to take all "reviews" - which are just formal versions of feedback - to take them all with a grain of salt. And making specific comparisons is a common thing to see in reviews or feedback.

    When someone here in our Listening Room references a composer or a piece to help describe their reaction to something new which has been posted, it usually seems that the writer is trying to help explain more specifically what their listening experience was like. "Oh I like this, and it reminded me of such-and-such"--that being given as part of the reason they liked the music.

    Using comparisons and references is of course a form of "pigeon-holing" and that's just the way our brains often work in order to make sense of the world. Everything around us reminds us of something else. When it doesn't, it can be confusing and even off-putting. It helps us keep our image of the world and life as more orderly than they really are. It helps to categorize, to pigeon-hole things, even though it can be reductive and not quite fair to the thing or person being commented on. "He writes like a latter day Hemingway." OK, that helps explain an opinion about a writer, but if taken too literally, it probably isn't really fair to either Hemingway or the new writer. OH well. Big deal.

    Sometimes, of course, comparisons are brought up in order to be critical. "You're trying to sound like Mozart, but you sure ain't him." - those kind of implications are usually clear enough in the tone with which the comparison is given.

    One more thought - Once in awhile I've been a bit alarmed by a comparison, when made to describe something of mine. Not offended - but alert that maybe something I've done sounds too much like someone or something else specifically. Case in point is a certain passage in my musical, "Dorian," which a friend said sounded like Sondheim, and actually reminded him distinctly of a specific song by Sondheim. I had to double check myself to see if I was unconsciously using that song without knowing it, and if the comparison was accurate enough that I needed to re-write my piece. My friend was just being honest, and not meaning to be critical, and it turned out to be a rare time when feedback struck me as something I had to really think about.

    AAAaand so on.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    Thanks for all the input guys! I guess those fears are unnfounded. I thought if i ever had someone say that about a piece i posted i would be, as some has said, mostly flattered. With several threads having been made where someone fears their new creation is possibly not their own, but possibly something that was in their memory, i was wanting to be careful to not ever accidently suggest something has some unoriginality, when attempting to complement a piece.

    David

  10. #10
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Re: Curious if this is ever considered offensive...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpearl
    As long as it's not Barry Manilow...
    Lol..........

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