Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Copying the arrangement of a song?


Dear Sir,

I'm reading Rod Stewart's memoir, published recently. In the book, he said you can 'steal' the arrangement, as distinct from the melody line, without being sued for plagiarism.

Is it true?

Thank you

Hi Liam :

I wouldn't rely on Rod Stewart as an authority on intellectual property law if I were you.

Even if you just nick the "arrangement" WITHOUT the melody, there's a good chance that someone has a copyright on the
recording itself which would leave you open to a legal action  in many instances .

You could write a "knock off" arrangement where you change a few things and get away with it, but unless someone is paying you
a lot of money to do so, why bother ?

You're better off attempting to write something new with a similar vibe.

my .02 worth ..and I'm not an attorney.

Phil Kelly

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Phil Kelly


I`m a semi-retired professional music arranger with over thirty five years in all phases of the commercial music production business. I can try to answer questions regarding music arranging, theory, orchestration , and/or composition for most acoustic ensembles .( jazz band or orchestral ) I can try to offer suggestions about studio music recording procedures and some basic MIDI applications , too. In the course of my career I`ve worked with such artists as Doc Severinsen and the old Tonight Show Band, Bill Watrous, Buddy Greco, John Gary, Mel Torme, Julius LaRosa, as well as the Pop programs of the Fort Worth, Dallas, North Carolina, and Houston Symphonies, as well as library music material for ABC, ESPN, and NFL Films.

©2017 All rights reserved.