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Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune

GUEST,Bill Amatneek 14 Apr 11 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Betsy 14 Apr 11 - 03:25 PM
GUEST 14 Apr 11 - 03:44 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 11 - 05:10 PM
pdq 14 Apr 11 - 06:38 PM
Joe Offer 14 Apr 11 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,999 14 Apr 11 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,999 14 Apr 11 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,999 14 Apr 11 - 07:05 PM
pdq 14 Apr 11 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Bill Amatneek 15 Apr 11 - 02:12 AM
GUEST,Desi C 15 Apr 11 - 08:04 AM
Dave Hanson 15 Apr 11 - 10:34 AM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 11 - 11:56 AM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 11 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 15 Apr 11 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Doug Saum 15 Apr 11 - 12:44 PM
pdq 15 Apr 11 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 16 Apr 11 - 02:55 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Apr 11 - 02:02 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Apr 11 - 02:33 AM
JHW 17 Apr 11 - 05:00 AM
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Subject: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Bill Amatneek
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 03:23 PM

I wrote some lyrics to an already-existing tune, that is likely copyrighted and published by its creator.
What are the issues I should be looking at in putting these lyrics to the tune, performing them in public, ensuring ownership, etc.?

MTIA.
Best regards to all,
Bill Amatneek


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 03:25 PM

Contact the original creator,and discuss.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 03:44 PM

In order to get permission to use a tune with new lyrics, you must contact the publisher or the author of the original tune and request permission to use the tune. They will likely request the new words before they give permission. Some may just deny it outright.

Good luck,

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 05:10 PM

Adapt the tune significantly and hope for the best. There are seldom any completely new tunes nowadays. They're all influenced to some extent by what has gone before, moreso in folk than any other genre.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: pdq
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 06:38 PM

Bill Amatneek is a fine musician and the original bass player with The David Grisman Quintet.

As for the tune, if it is modern and anyone can recognise it, you probably need permission.

Some people claim that Wood Guthrie never wrote a melody in his life, but everyone recognises "This Land Is Your Land" as his. "Wildwood Flower" and "Great Speckled Bird" both have many melodic clones.

A parody, as far as I know, frees you from needing permission.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 06:44 PM

Hi, pdq -
Many people say that "This Land Is Your Land" uses the Carter Family tune, Little Darlin' Pal of Mine. To me, the tunes are similar but not identical.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,999
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 06:53 PM

Contact the copyright holder of the melody. If you use it without permission you are guilty of and open to prosecution for plagiarism. Period.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,999
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 06:54 PM

It means also that if you make $100,000 on the song, you owe half to the melody writer.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,999
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 07:05 PM

I have an example for you.

I wrote an English song entitled "I'm at the Mercy of Your Smile", both lyrics and melody. A friend of mine translated the lyrics to French. The song title is "Je suis envoutee par ton sourire" and he used my melody from the English song, "Mercy". He and I are now co-writers of the French version. On that one we split any royalties and the writer credit. I still own the melody royalties, but he now has the lyric royalties. Both songs are on a CD out in two days. In the olden days, if a 45 had been released and the songs were Side A and B respectively, the royalty split would be 25% for Pierre and 75% for me. Hope that's clear.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: pdq
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 07:14 PM

The connection between "Little Darlin' Pal of Mine" and "This Land Is Your Land" may be there, but anybody who hears an instrumental version as background music at the supermarket will think of Woody Guthrie's song.

A. P. Carter had his stuff pilfered a lot, but most of the Carter Family material was reworked older material anyway. He did a wonderful job of updating songs and eliminating various non-PC terms. Doc Watson and Bill Clifton are experts at that also.

There is no doubt that A. P. Carter's "Little Annie" has roots in Stephan Foster's "Gentle Annie" but I find the newer one a distinct improvement.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Bill Amatneek
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 02:12 AM

Thanks to all who responded to this post, and to you PDQ, for your kind words about me.

Best regards to all,
BA


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 08:04 AM

If it's no trad and fairly modern best to ask permission. BUt as I'm sure others have pointed out, there have been millions of tunes and logically they can't all be 'original' Many Irish tunes and country tunes are unwittingly copied and have standard patterns. Bob Dylan borrowed Dominic Behan's tune of The Patriot game to write God On Our Side. Behan did try to accuse him of Plageurism (spelling?) but Dy;an rightly ignored him as his lyrics are substantially different, and Besides Behan had copied an old trad tune in the first place.

But that is an important point, Dylan's Lyrics are sunstantially different and that to quote Pete Seeger is all part of the Folk process. If you use an existing tune and write a song on a similar theme you could be on legal dodgy ground. But if you're lyrics and/or theme then you're ok


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 10:34 AM

You are fairly safe with traditional tunes which are mostly long out of copryright, not so with tunes still in copyright.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 11:56 AM

Danny Boy is a good example. If you sing the song with the Danny Boy lyrics then the copyright owner is the writer of the lyrics. If you only play the melody then you are playing Londonderry Air which is trad.
PS to Desi C: Dominic didn't attempt to sue Dylan over the use of the Patriot Game tune which is trad, but rather on the basis of plagiarism ... compare both first verses.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:01 PM

Sorry, I should have said Behan's second verse and Dylan's first.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:03 PM

Try this....!


..and this..there are more, but I can only post two...

Have fun!

GfS


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:44 PM

To PDQ,
Did you mean to write " . . . Stephen Foster's 'Little Annie'"? Foster wrote a "Gentle Annie" and a "Little Annie." The first a slow lament, the second is rather lively.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: pdq
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 01:20 PM

You don't have to trust me on this one...get a copy of "Swanee ~ The Music of Stephen Foster". It was done at Highlands Records, near Los Gatos, CA, I believe. The CD has the two songs back to back. Go to www.joeweed.com to order. While there, check out The Vultures, a priceless collecion of acoustic versions of early 60s instrumentals like "Walk, Don't Run", "Pipeline" and "Alley Cat" with David Grisman, Rob Ickes, Todd Phillips and the late Norton Buffalo. Great stuff. They are NCD-205 and NCD-206.


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 16 Apr 11 - 02:55 AM

pdq: "...check out The Vultures, a priceless collecion of ..."

Excuse me, it was 'The Ventures'.

GfS


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 02:02 AM

Re similarity of early verses of Patriot Game & God On Our Side: the latter is surely not plagiarism, nor quite parody, but a deliberate reply, with implied acknowledgments, to the sentiments of the former: "My name is O'Hanlon, I'm just turned sixteen" ~~ "My name it is nothing, my age it means less": Dylan is assuming that his hearers know Behan's song and will recognise his differing attitudes to these autobiographical facts.

What significance this has re the theme of this thread may be a matter for consideration; but I don't feel a charge of plagiarism would lie.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 02:33 AM

... and to underline the obvious, perhaps: this surely shows that Dylan was also aware of, and acknowledging the fact, that his song was written to the tune previously used by Behan.
~M~


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Subject: RE: Adding lyrics to a pre-existing tune
From: JHW
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 05:00 AM

How do we decide between Homage and Plagiarism?


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