Can the same musical idea give birth to two different compositions?

We’ve all heard the famous opening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:

Da-da-da-dum…. Da-da-da-dum….
And then a quick burst of energy as the lively tempo kicks in and we’re off to the races!

But what if Beethoven had followed those opening phrases with something more subdued? It‘s entirely plausible, and Beethoven was such a master musician that he could have followed these loud declamations with a contrasting, slower theme and make it seem logical. There’s nothing in those opening motifs that says the following music “has” to be fast. It only seems that way to us because Beethoven wrote the music in such a way that it feels inevitable. Great novelists do the same thing with the plots they write. An opening line of “It was a bright and sunny day” can be followed by many different plot developments.

Can the same musical idea give birth to two different compositions?

Absolutely, and Wayne Shorter did this exact thing with two tunes on his solo albums during the 1960s. Watch this video to see and hear me explain and demonstrate this fascinating phenomenon:

El Gaucho: Journey Through The Real Book #108

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

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