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Re: Musical files and chords

Scripsit Raphael Goulais <raphael@nicedays.net>

> I made an ITP for a software named mma. This one generates musical
> accompaniment based on chords. The generated files are midi files.

> The upstream does provides examples, based on music that are not free.
> He thinks that distributing chords, and not melody, is legal. I tried to
> find some references about this and did not found anything useful.

I don't think there is a single answer to this which holds in
general. Many popular tunes work with chord sequences that are so
generic and nondescript that it would be ridiculous to claim a
copyright on them. For example, something such as

    C    Am7   Dm7   G7
    C    Am7   Dm7   G7
    Em7  A7    Dm7   G7
    C    Am7   Dm7   G7

is fair game by any account. On the other hand, there are *also* songs
where the harmonic structure forms a significant part of the
composer's artistic expression. For example, one might probably get
into trouble for mass-distributing the chords for _The Shadow Of Your
Smile_ without permission.

Somewhere in between those two examples there is a line, with a wide
and fuzzy grey area around it.

For the purpose of providing examples, it would be prudent to stick to
very generic changes, and music that has passed into the public domain.

Henning Makholm                    "What the hedgehog sang is not evidence."

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