Hi all! I'm brand spanking new to this forum as of yesterday and thought I'd jump right in to the sticky stuff.
I wrote a piece to demo as a cue in a movie I've now gotten the gig to score. Hooray for me!
Anyway, a few weeks after writing it, I was singing it in my head and I had an "Oh Crap!" moment as I realized that the first 5 notes of the organ melody might be plagiarizing none other than John Williams. I would be referring specifically to his Jawa Sandcrawler theme from the original Star Wars movie. I obviously can't upload it here, but if you have the "Medley: The Dune Sea of Tatooine / Jawa Sandcrawler", it's about 1:50 in, where the part is that I'm concerned about.
Now, I'm just getting into writing the actual score for this film so I've got plenty of time to change this (even though I kind of like it), but I'm mostly curious as to what you think so I can use this as a baseline to judge other future instances against. I've been writing music in one vein or another for about 20 years now and haven't really come across something that seemed so blatant, a least to me, in my own work, but as I'm getting more and more composing work, I'm writing more and more music in shorter periods of time and not having as much of a chance to sit with it before sending it out into the world, thereby increasing the chance of letting something like this (assuming you think it's something to worry about) slip by. I not only don't want to really plagiarize anybody else's work (though I'm glad and proud to show off my influences), but I REALLY don't want to be accused of it in, heaven forbid, a court of law.
do you think this particular case is something I should worry about?
I've also been trying to look around for info on what constitutes musical plagiarism, as I never took any of the kind of classes that would go into that in detail, but haven't found much info besides references to past court cases, most of which were settled out of court, or where there wasn't much info given on WHY a judgement went one way or another. I guess it's still up to whatever a "lay" listener would think (I'm running this by some of those as well). Someone did point me to this, which helped a little:
but if any of you can point me to towards any other info on the subject, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Thanks! and I look forward to getting totally ripped apart by your comments ; ) Fire away!
(just a little self-effacing humor there. I'm really excited to be here)