John Williams: Paraphraser or Plagiarist?


The film scores of John Williams (b. 1932) often remind us of works by other concert and film composers, yet the casual assumption that Williams often plagiarizes from familiar works has never been fully evaluated. Examples of the different ways Williams alters source compositions show him to be a clever paraphraser who uses pre-existing material as a creative template to compose new music at a remarkable pace. Not only can Williamss methods be deemed respectable within a progressive attitude toward creative production, he can hardly be accused of plagiarism or aesthetic impropriety even in a Romantic sense.

Publication Title

Journal of Musicological Research