Saturday, January 3, 2009

Coldplay's "recycling"

Earlier this year, Joe Satriani filed suit against Coldplay for using his chord progression & melody from "If I could Fly" in "Viva la Vida" (comparisons here and here). Dr. Desert Flower's iPod played Coldplay's "Politik" while we were taking down the Christmas tree today... and I noticed... 'this sounds just like the incessant chord progression in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later' (aka John Murphy's - In the House In a Heartbeat) , but less ominous and gloomy, when they do montages of deserted streets or while running frantically away from rage infected hordes. IMDb's exhaustive list does not include any mention of Coldplay in the 28 genre.

Perhaps Coldplay just loves to recycle. there are, afterall, a finite number of notes and combinations - granted there are millions of truly unique combinations (16(exp 8) = 4.3 Billion... 8(exp 8) = 16.7 million... 8(exp 8-1) = 2 million, and that's just if they're in a 4/4 time signature). And then there's the loudness and duration of each note...

The human hearing range is 20Hz to 20000Hz. Therefore range is 19980 (humans can't detect 10ths of hertz). Good human hearing can detect from 0.00 to 250.00 (any greater and you're deaf) decibels for short periods of time. So that's 25,000 (for the loudness distinguishing). 25000 * 19980 = 499500000

Planck's time (smallest unit of time) is about 3.3 x 10-44 sec... so that would be about (1.64835 * 10^53)*seconds of duration = number of possible songs.

For 2 second durations, there are a possible:
329,670,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 songs

Hmmm... I am not sure if Coldplay is really "recycling".


  1. Does it really matter if they recycle? It's not like Coldplay ever did anything original. So even if they're not transposing note-for-note, they're still highly derivative and unoriginal...a band that was conceived and formed solely to make money. And the band's name itself belies that fact. You can almost see the tin-eared graph-paper-brained record company execs & marketers in a back room trying to come up with a not-offensive-but-edgy name.

    This is the band that all the stupid yuppies listen to while buying up sterile loft units by the ballpark here in SF, sitting around in Starbucks thinking they're cool, and scowling at anyone with a smaller paycheck.

  2. I stumbled upon another artist they've ripped off... and Alizée not only sounds like Coldplay... but is ALOT better looking. Yes, I am a dirty old man.

  3. You can just turn off the sound and that video is almost...tolerable.

  4. hmm, i don't think my iPod nano can hold that many songs.

  5. Oh Joe M.......but Coldplay is just so pleasant to listen to while your downing your second Starbucks latte of the day and trying to make sense of data and cure disease......


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