Remember when I posted about watching TV during my vacation a month or so ago and being surprised about hearing that snippet from Victorian Romance Emma come up? Well, I did get a response awhile ago when I e-mailed the folks at Bloomberg, and here’s what they had to say:
The song during Judy Woodruff is called Ruby Rain.
So basically, they’re saying that the song originated from a work composed by Igor Dvorkin and Duncan Pittock!
Now, there’s no date as to when “Ruby Rain” was composed, so it’s going to be difficult to nail down which came first: Kunihiko’s “The Season” or Dvorkin/Pittock’s “Ruby Rain.” Furthermore, the booklet for the Emma soundtrack doesn’t come with any liner notes that could be translated so you really aren’t able to see into Kunihiko’s mind and determine where he derived inspiration from when he composed the piece.
Obviously, when you compare the two tracks, the only similarity is in that short motive so plagiarism is the furthest thing from my mind. But hearing that does emphasize just how often composers quote other pieces of music.
Prominent artists like Yoko Kanno have been known to engage in musically quoting. If you’ve listened to her works on Macross Frontier, you’ll be able to pick out some prominent themes from the soundtrack such as “The Target,” which uses a part of John Williams’s melody from Star Wars and, of course, “Big Boys,” which derives a large part its music from Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator soundtrack (Pirates of the Caribbean would later use the same theme). And those compositions that borrow the same technique from Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana? Those are far too numerous to count.
Big Boys[audio:Macross Frontier – Big Boys.mp3]
None of this is a cause for alarm – unless it’s frighteningly close like Satoshi Kadokura’s compositions for Gundam F91 – nor should it result in less appreciation for compositions by Kunihiko, Kanno, et al. Rather, it reminds us just how music from new composers continually builds upon the works of those who came before, whether it’s by quoting or writing a variation upon a theme. Through that, it’s really easy to appreciate how the world of music is intertwined between contemporary artists, artists from different cultures, and artists from different eras. After all, Beethoven operated no differently (the well-known theme from his 9th Symphony can be heard in a Mozart work) and so, one shouldn’t expect anime composers to be bucking that trend. It all comes together into the sticky, but wonderful body of music compositions anyhow, and as long as current musicians continue to add their own flourishes and quirks to their own works and not descend into the perilous path of plagiarism, I’ll stay a happy camper.
This post features Ryo Kunihiko’s name rather than Yoko Kanno or some other composer, and for good reason: Kunihiko’s been on my mind as of late. It shouldn’t be too hard for you all to guess why that is. And no, it’s not Aion’s soundtrack either.