I have some scoring tools libraries that contain pre-mixed instrumental loops. I am sure there are clauses in the library license that have the standard “you cannot use these sounds alone”, “You must add enough original content to produce a new work” blah blah blah.
So obviously I can use these however I like as long as the work becomes “mine”. However, I feel like this is “cheating” to use these. Maybe this topic has already been discussed, but I’d be curious to hear others’ views.
I don’t see it as cheating because that libraries wouldn’t exist if it weren’t meant to be used.
But I I understand the feeling of: Is this my composition?
I have the same feeling often when I compose. When I listen to what I have done I tend to think is this really mine or have I subconsciously picked this up from somewhere else.
But I’m not a pro so I just ignore the feeling.
That’s exactly how I feel! Possibly meandering off the topic a bit - I always run my melodies through musipedia to see if perhaps it is similar to an existing work. Not sure how extensive their library is, but other than hiring a musicologist I don’t know where else to check.
I guess you’re correct about the loops just being another tool to hasten the writing process. I guess if drum loops are acceptable, so too are the instrumental loops.
For the record, I have made compositions in the past many times that people commented something like “oh I see you are inspired by X or Y”. When I know that I have NEVER heard those tracks ever before. It’s just so much music out there that your track will always be comparable to something else for some listeners.
Afaik it is reliable, although I’ve never done any real “calibration” tests with it. It is online, so you should be able to try it out here: http://musipedia.org
There are definitely a lot of historical works entered. It’d be interesting to see if there are any John Williams etc. compositions entered.
If you think about it, where do you draw a line between:
Doing a cover… Doing your own composition but strongly inspired by someone else…Something inspired by several others…Doing your own original thing with your own sound.
I suppose there´s a spectrum here where one overlaps the other.
I know a guy that works with mixing who says that if you feel like you have heard a composition before that´s a GOOD thing.
This was actually an obstacle for me in the beginning. I had a hard time to proceed when I thought it sounded familiar. Now I just keep going and see where it leads to.
I don’t think it’s cheating. Any tool to help inspire and create is my mantra. It’s one thing if you just string together a bunch of prerecorded loops and call it a day, but using a couple here and there underneath some original parts is fine. Don’t forget, you can always add FX and whatnot to completely change the loop. Here’s a piece of mine that uses some loops and some parts I performed myself. Can you tell which is which?
You can call it cheating if actually someone else recorded it for you and your job was only to press a button, it’s still on you. These libraries don’t care about who and how their loops are used, they only give permission to use.
The only issue for you, if you don’t do nothing a.k.a. changes to the pre-mixed files is that someone else has used it and did nothing to it, so it’s weird to listen to the same sample in two different tracks.
Try to change something, even if you use a band-pass filter, it’s better than leaving the original one, as chances are high that someone else uses that too. There can be problems with copyright, as your work could be identified as from someone else. I don’t think you gonna love that!
Many an attorney has gotten rich off of people trying to answer that question!
Taking someone else’s work and simply putting your name on it is plagiarism. No doubt.
That said if you take different ideas from different places / sources (a skill called assimilation) and create something new (synthesis) you’ve moved well up the Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid. You have applied your own thinking and transformed something (a concept, or in this case, an instantiation of a concept which is the loop / sample, etc.) into that which didn’t exist before.
That’s the academician in me talking. I would also insist on citing proper sources to give credit to those whose works I referenced. Anything less would be claiming their work / research as your own.
Since these companies created and marketed these samples / loops as royalty free for the very purpose you’re asking about I contend they have removed themselves from the “is this stealing” discussion. They’ve waived their rights.
I like what Spitfire has done with the “free” version of their BBC Orchestra samples. They’ve given the option to contribute to a fund from which they pay the musicians whose talents were used to create the samples. I use that library and love it. I also paid the small stipend to make sure those musicians receive something (maybe just enough to buy a Happy Meal) for their time and talent.
Sorry for the diatribe. These are my immediate thoughts. This and twenty five cents will buy you part of a postage stamp.
Agree Stan. I think it is just a psychological thing with us composers Of course we want our music to be creative and be proud of what we wrote, but if you use some loops or other similar samples, you have this thing in the back of your mind that maybe you’re just not creative enough. But even if you use loops, you’re still going to try to use them in a creative way that others haven’t. It’s not any different than using orchestral libraries—they are loops essentially, if you consider round robins and all. Otherwise anything other than writing your ideas with pencil on manuscript in a candle-lit room is cheating
Thanks for all of your responses. Suffice it to say, indeed if I had to create all my work on paper I’d just have to take up another skill! I would say art, but I am color-challenged there (red-green color blind)!
I usually don’t use loops because rarely do they fit what I’m hearing. They are good for a starting point at times particularly if I’m spitballing a new idea trying to find the right setting.
It may take longer to roll my own but a) I’ve always learned something when I’ve done it, b) the end result fits better with my initial conception, and, c) I feel closer to the individual parts that make up the phrase.
I resisted using DAWs for a long time. I found when I copied parts by hand I found errors or awkward, non-musical lines that needed (to my persnickety way of thinking) needed adjustment. I probably generate more music / scores / parts now but I don’t know that the individual parts / lines are as human and instrumentally friendly.