In most cases I would expect other ways to "know", on a musicology basis. We know Duning interpolated cues from Steiner and Fried into his scores, just from listening. Our unaided ears tell us. The score confirms it (these liner notes also confirm it); but we already knew just watching the episodes.
A musician could tell if one melody is an inversion of another, just from looking at the scores – it's obvious, it reveals itself without any explication from the composer.
I would expect a nod or reference to reveal itself.
And I still say that's too narrow and exclusionistic a way of defining a reference. I've heard many musical pastiches that were not as close as what you're insisting on here, like Ray Ellis and Norm Prescott's themes for Filmation's animated versions of Star Trek, Gilligan's Island
, and the like, which were designed to sound similar to the original themes yet be distinct pieces of music so they didn't have to pay any royalties. Or musical parodies and pastiches in countless comedies and cartoons over the decades. We know that Courage intended the Star Trek
theme itself to be a pastiche of "Beyond the Blue Horizon." It's not an inversion or any of the narrow range of things you're talking about -- it's just broadly similar in structure and style. And we know for a fact that it was an intentional homage. So I simply cannot understand why you are insisting on such a limiting definition of what constitutes an homage or pastiche.
Ok, that was the question I had earlier (way earlier) in the thread: is it reasonable to presume the two composers were familiar with each other's work on the series?
My point is: did these guys have time to listen to each other's scores, or even read them? We know that each composer had the Courage fanfare to reference when writing flyby's. But did they study each other's scores beyond that basic tidbit?
Look at the liner notes for George Duning's scores. He used Steiner's Romulan/Blackship theme for Henoch in "Return to Tomorrow," and used part of Fried's "Mr. Spock" cue from "Amok Time" as a Spock motif in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" and "The Empath." Also, Steiner used Courage's "Captain's Theme" from the second pilot as the opening and closing Enterprise
cues for "Charlie X" and the closing cue for "Mudd's Women." So we know there was cross-pollination beyond the fanfare itself.