Want to use a popular song for your soundtrack, with or without the original lyrics, but don't have the money to get the rights? You can always get some studio musician to record a suspiciously similar song — an instrumental version of the tune with a note tweaked here and there, designed to sound as much like the original as possible while being different enough not to violate copyright.
Strangely enough, this sometimes happens with tunes which are clearly in the public domain in at least some countries.
A staple of shows that frequently feature parody songs or skits.
Note that, under United States copyright law at least, it is perfectly legal to use the same exact tune as the original song if
the derivative work is clearly a parody of the original (parodying a work is a protected form of expression; using an original tune to parody something unrelated is fuzzier) — though this did not become official until it was upheld a 1994 court ruling, and would obviously not apply to instrumental versions or songs that were instrumental to begin with, hence most of the examples on this page.
So as to avoid Complaining About Shows You Don't Like
, note that apparent cases of this are often not intentional plagiarism, but accidental replication of a song the artist didn't consciously remember; or (especially for partial matches of just a few notes) the two artists may have simply had the same idea independently.
Contrast with In The Style Of
where the song is covered, in a style as far from the original as possible. When one song recycles the tune of another it's To The Tune Of
. In the music industry, this is called "sampling
", and usually requires permission...but it ain't always given. Basically Captain Ersatz
for music pieces. Also contrast Musical Pastiche
as the Jimmy Hart Version
after Jimmy Hart
, who, while in WCW, made a lot of these for the wrestlers' themes. Pay attention to that while the potholes named as such are no more common on this wiki, the Professional Wrestling
articles may still include a mention of the former Trope Namer, this way or the other.
Note that if you're just reworking your own theme
, that doesn't count since it's your own
copyright you would be violating. And nobody cares about that.