Probably nothing in the world, whether in music or literature or even science, is truly original anymore. With so much music and written language concoctions floating about everything creative probably contains something of one or more of the others. Sometimes it’s coincidence; sometimes deliberate. The plagiarism aspect of a complaint can only be maintained if the “copying” is sustained (as I humbly see it). From a cursory listening it sounds like Cold Play made the entire theme of their song, Viva La Vida, from a 70 second thematic section of Satriani’s If I Could Fly. The theme in question is clearly the main theme of Satriani’s song, though it’s development is supplemented by variated riffs. The main difference between the two themes is that while Satriani’s is melodically guitar based Cold Play’s is orchestrated. Anyway, there’s a much better analysis below. Hey, we report, you decide (sound familiar?)…
The comparison of a key part.
Joe Satriani playing If I Could Fly. The controversy stems from approximately the 50 second mark to the 120 (this interwoven theme phrasing comes in later too during the variated riffs).
Here’s Cold Play’s Viva La Vida
Here’s Part 1 of a technical analysis by Creative Guitar Studio