Friday, February 9, 2007

Heard it before?

one of usWas your dad right? Do all those pop songs really sound the same?

Someone on bloody myspace has set out to prove that, yes, they do. They've put together a medley of songs that, they claim, all steal the same basic structure from one another. Listen to it here.

According to their theory, Joan Osborne's tortuous What If God Was One Of Us is the prime example of this musical sleight-of-hand. To prove it, they sing its hook over the other 17 songs in their megamix.

The theory is that all these songs use the bassline A minor, F, C, G and are therefore exactly the same. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

For a start, the bass can't play A minor. It is a chord.

Secondly, anyone who has sat through even the most rudimentary lesson on musical theory will know that some chords, when put next to each other, are more pleasing to the human ear. The Am, F, C, G sequence is just one such example. It is hardly a secret.

But what of the author's statement "It is clear that our twelve-note universe is about to reach its limits"? Sorry, but no.

None of the 17 songs they feature sound particularly similar. They have to twist the melody of "What If God Was One Of Us" completely out of shape to get it to fit over Avril Lavigne's Happy Ending and Madonna's Power Of Goodbye. The point being that a chord sequence is only the very basic foundation of a song - the options of where you go afterwards are almost limitless.

In fact, the "borrowed" chord sequence is why mash-ups work and, as any fule know, the juxtaposition of two songs can create a rather wonderful, totally new, third piece of music.

Which is all a very roundabout way of saying: "Hey! Listen to this amazing mix of Superstition and Bootylicious. It's aces!"

Bootystition [via]


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