“Well, there’s only so many notes, aren’t there?” It’s the preferred defence of every band who’ve just been caught pinching a tune from somebody else, but is it true? Are there really a limited number of possible songs out there?
The short answer is yes, there’s a limited number of sounds we can hear and thus a finite number of possible ways of combining them. Don’t panic, though. Before you start stockpiling melodies and burying riffs in your garden, you should know that there’s still a lot of them left. When I say ‘a lot’, I mean a number so big that it will make your brain hurt more than sticking your head between your speakers and cranking up Metal Machine Music.
YouTube’s ‘Vsauce’ crunches the numbers so you don’t have to, but to summarise his main conclusion: the fact that all of David Guetta’s factory-farmed produce sound exactly the same is choice, not necessity. New tunes are out there.