There are only twelve tones in Western music, if you ignore octaves. Twelve. That means that every combination of notes has probably been played in many different places on many different instruments. It also means that music has likely long since stopped being original, and this CBC Music mini-documentary presented by CBC Radio 2 presenter, Tom Allen, proves it with the origins of the ‘Star Trek’ theme song, which doesn’t really date from the 60s.
But wait, you say. What about Alexander Courage in 1966? He wrote the theme song! I’ve never heard anything like it before or after!
Technically yes, but what would you say if we told you that the song is derived from a long lineage of composers paying homage to one another?
In the video which you can watch below, Allen shows how the simple progression of down a fourth, up a half step, down a fourth and so on on (think the bells that start off the theme song) were derived from Gustav Mahler’ Symphony No.1 which was written in 1888! But wait, it doesn’t stop there! Apparently, it was an homage to Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No.2 which was written in 1877.
But where did Brahms get it? Ludwig Van Beethoven’s opening of Symphony No.4.
That’s right. ‘Star Trek’ hearkens back to the classical greats of Mahler, Brahms, and Beethoven. But who will steal it in the future?
Tom Allen ends the documentary about all this stealing and copying with this:
“But one thing is certain. Singable, hummable, steal-able tunes have gone with us to all the places we’ve already been, and we’ll go boldly where no tunes have gone before!”
Source: Trek News