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Thread: John Williams' "Imperial March" is a Chopin ripoff

  1. #1

    John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ripoff

    While not ALL of "The Imperial March" is a ripoff, but the main bit of the theme is almost exactly the same as classical composer Chopin's "Funeral March".

    Almost impossible to say if this was inadvertent or indeed a ripoff, but it's still fascinating.
    What, me worry?

  2. #2

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    No it's not a rip-off.
    That's just art; there's a difference between outright stealing someone else's theme and being inspired by it. You see this in all genres of music, art, literature all throughout history.

    Ever see Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress? There are all sorts of elements Lucas was inspired from in that film. Even Lord of the Rings; read the Prose Edda and you'll find all the names of the Dwarves from the Hobbit, as well as Gandalf (or Gandalfr), and a hall named Gimli.
    "Your focus determines your reality."

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    Quote Originally Posted by Master_Kwinn
    No it's not a rip-off.
    That's just art; there's a difference between outright stealing someone else's theme and being inspired by it. You see this in all genres of music, art, literature all throughout history.

    Ever see Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress? There are all sorts of elements Lucas was inspired from in that film. Even Lord of the Rings; read the Prose Edda and you'll find all the names of the Dwarves from the Hobbit, as well as Gandalf (or Gandalfr), and a hall named Gimli.
    Well now maybe ripoff is too harsh a word. I love Williams and respect the man, but fact remains that he did not invent the main bit of The Imperial March theme.
    What, me worry?

  5. #5

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    Quote Originally Posted by Eight_Nunb
    Quote Originally Posted by Master_Kwinn
    No it's not a rip-off.
    That's just art; there's a difference between outright stealing someone else's theme and being inspired by it. You see this in all genres of music, art, literature all throughout history.

    Ever see Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress? There are all sorts of elements Lucas was inspired from in that film. Even Lord of the Rings; read the Prose Edda and you'll find all the names of the Dwarves from the Hobbit, as well as Gandalf (or Gandalfr), and a hall named Gimli.
    Well now maybe ripoff is too harsh a word. I love Williams and respect the man, but fact remains that he did not invent the main bit of The Imperial March theme.
    As a musician (& I use that word lightly) strictly speaking, by this time in musical history, practically every
    concievable combonation of notes has been done by someone, somewhere at sometime( & that's not like the famous story about how Einstien's boss at the patent office wanted to close it down because "there's nothing left to invent"). It's a mathematical probability.

    Sometimes when my band & I are trying to write something, we can be a few hours in to it when somebody says " Wait a minute, we just ripped off Sabath" & then we decide if it's a true ripp off or if it's different enough to keep going.

    Anyone who thinks that's ethically questionable should listen to any classic Led Zepplin song & then go back & listen to some of the old blues recordings of the 20's & 30's.

    I believe "The Funeral March" & "The Impirial March" are very reminiscant of each other by design, hell even the titles prove that, but it's different enough to be "different". John Williams' peers would've been the first to hear the similarities & call "rip off" but the didn't, because they saw it for what it was, a tribute/re-imagining of a classic piece of music.
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."-Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    Definitely inspired by, but not a ripoff.
    I think if you're going to 'borrow' or 'be inspired by' someone, it may as well be one of the masters!

    Duel of the Fates is definitely inspired by Carmina Burana - and that's not a bad thing.
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  7. #7

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    It's not so much a rip-off than a use of a popular motif heard in a lot of Chopin's work and even more work of the subsequent era. I've heard some crazy rip-offs between two or more classical works in Music History and Music Theory classes I thought would be fun.

    Just like how our modern rock songs of the last century all have the same three chord progressions, verse-chorus (a,b,a,c,b,a) style and standard open 440 tuning.

    Not to mention John Williams under the direction of George, purposely drew heavy from classic works. And I've seen him admit as much.

    Now if you really want to talk about Star Wars music ripping off existing work, let's talk about Kevin Kiner's work on the Clone Wars. Yeesh.
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  8. #8

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    Quote Originally Posted by Eight_Nunb

    ...but fact remains that he did not invent the main bit of The Imperial March theme.
    Huh? Even the small part that uses a similar set of notes has a WAY different mood to it. Very somber. The Imperial March is completely upbeat by comparison.




    A few songs I've noticed that share some close similarities:

    Ice Ice Baby
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rog8ou-ZepE

    Under Pressure
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtrEN-YKLBM


    Also...


    You Spin Me Round
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJv5qLsLYoo

    Spin Me Right Round
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re2FQZK54oA


    Leif
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  9. #9

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    Btw... I think if the issue were disected, it would be similar to other forms of artistic expression seemingly borrowing from other works of art.

    Anyone seen the movie "Flash of Genius"? Good movie, based on a true story. The main character developes a working intermittent windshield wiper back in the 60's. Ford (and other auto manufacturers) essentially steal it. Their defense is that the electronic components used to create the device is not owned by anyone. The inventor successfully uses the analogy of a written work of art. The words are not owned by anyone, but the combination of those words into a specific order form a work of art that is 'owned' by the author.

    Leif
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  10. #10

    Re: John Williams\' \"Imperial March\" is a Chopin ri

    Quote Originally Posted by Leif_G
    A few songs I've noticed that share some close similarities:

    Ice Ice Baby

    Under Pressure



    Also...


    You Spin Me Round

    Spin Me Right Round



    Leif
    Close similarities??!!

    Those are DIRECT rip offs. They directly sampled( used the actual recording of music performed by another artist) & put new words on top of it. That's like taking a great book, making a new cover for it & changing a few words & calling it your own. It's not even good karaoke.
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