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I am very much an amateur, both in terms of composing and the business aspect of music.

I had an idea of writing a musical piece based on a slightly obscure theme by a impressionist composer (who died nearly 100 years ago), as an "hommage". Would I need to request legal permission first to use this (very short) theme, even if I am using it for entertainment purposes only (but including public performances), and not for personal financial gain?

I seem to remember that, at least in Germany, something like the first five bars of a musical piece are usually legally regarded as "public domain" or such. Also it is less of an issue, if any use of a quote is transparently declared (so, there is not plagiarism or attempt thereof).

I guess this issue with quotes applies not just to "classical" music but also re-mixes, Hip-hop stuff with sampling and so on.

Thank you for any comments or signposting to other sources for advice.


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Hi Tillerich,

FYI, we don't allow copyrighted music to be posted here. I know you didn't indicate in your OP that you are considering doing so, just a heads up >


Gav Brown
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