This is a blog where I post updates about learning guitar and music theory.

The Fear of Accidentally Copying Other Composers when Writing Songs

When writing music, I’ve always had a lurking terror that what I write is going to unconsciously rip off some other song. The worry that what I was writing might not be original was paralyzing.

Over time, I started to notice that the early works of many original-sounding composers often sound heavily influenced by composers who came before them, and I realized that it’s okay to show your influences in what you create.

Example: Wyschnegradsky → Scriabin → Chopin → Field

When I first heard Chopin, it sounded completely original to me. Years later I heard John Field and realized where Chopin got many of his ideas.

Here are some pieces by John Field.

A strong John Field influence can be heard in Chopin’s music, though Chopin took it in new directions.

Early Scriabin sounded like it was influenced by Chopin before he veered off into new territory.

Wyschnegradsky sounds original, but there are strong echoes of Scriabin. To me, it sounds kind of like Scriabin with microtones.

Of course they have many other influences too. I just picked a few obvious ones.