Rick Mabry wrote:
>I'm privately polling people not on this list, too, people I know who
>are either classical musicians or listeners, and so far about 80% of
>the respondents name the ATC theme.
>I confess that my main motivation here was to test for that very thing.
>This might be an old story for some of you, but not to all, evidently.
>Please share your opinions. Feel free to email me privately, if you'd
I'm not sure what you're asking for, but I, too, immediately thought of
the ATC theme.
>I believe it is either an enormous coincidence (the odds of which I
>couldn't begin to guess) or something I suspect happens a lot, which
>is that the author of the ATC theme had heard this quintet but paid no
>special attention to it, after which it resurfaced from his subconscious.
>Because it was not well-known, he did not recognize it and neither did
>the people whom he played it for, and he thought it was his own.
I rather prefer to think of it as coincidental, which happens often
enough. After all, it's four groups of two notes selected triadically
on a basic I-IV-V-I progression, with isomorphic halves. Not too many
variants possible on that.
Btw, the same melody (only slightly rhythmically different) occurs in
the middle of the Beatles' "I Will", circa 1968, which I am fairly sure
preceded the genesis of ATC.
>I once "discovered" a lovely melody that way. Too bad it turned out
>to be Mozart. Are there any famous instances of this sort of thing (or
Yes: Busoni came up himself with (and was quite proud of) a particularly
worthy theme in his Faust studies, or so he thought - but it turned out
to be Greensleeves. It's the only memorable tune in the work for me,
I've always felt that Paul Simon arrived at "American Tune" that way.
I doubt he had firsthand experience with the Hassler "O Sacred Head Now
Wounded" melody (how much time did he spend in church?), and his tune
goes off in a different direction after the twice-repeated line.
And of course, speaking of Beatles, there is the famous George Harrison
"My Sweet Lord" case.