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Advice: adding own lyrics to a song

Joe Offer 21 Feb 15 - 08:06 PM
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Subject: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 15 - 08:06 PM

Archive saved by punkfolkrocker
Subject: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST, VaTam
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 04:56 AM

Yesterday I learned a bit of song (more intro as it has different melody and message to the rest of the song) written by popular folk musician dating back to the 60s and 70s. The artist is no longer alive, but members of the extended family still sing the song in its entirety.

I love the song intro so much I didn't want it to end. This morning I suddendly started adding my own lines to the story. Very much in the vein of the orginal lines.

Now to the crux of my problem. Is it wrong to perform these added lines in an informal sing around setting? Or should I just erase them from my copy?




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 05:09 AM

If what you are doing is NOT Commercial (Making YOU money) and you credit the original source of your ideas , I cant see any one objecting . If you intended recording and selling , that would be a different matter !




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 05:44 AM

There are plenty of precedents in the tradition for doing as you propose. People have been making changes in songs (deliberately or not) for centuries, ranging from small changes of just a word or two (or a note or two in the tune) to complete rebuilds that keep only a few vestiges of the previous version. The only caveat is copyright, and I think Leadfingers has addressed that one appropriately.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 10:01 AM

I think it's more about whether the song works, whether people like it.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 12:26 PM

Be honest about provenance. As long as the text is not personal it is all about fit.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 02:08 PM

Is there a problem with contacting the extended family to ask what they think?

Perhaps if we knew who the writer was and what the song was our responses could be more specific.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 02 Jan 15 - 03:42 PM

do it if you like it but mention which verses are yours in case people want to do the original.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 03 Jan 15 - 03:34 AM

I do that myself sometimes. I like to think that you can personalise a song, add or clarify its lyrical content, and hopefully add some interest to familiarity. I suppose if the original writer or song owner objected I would drop it.....probably the whole song....but as I is pretty unknown ,and performing in unpaid, small local venues, I don't foresee a problems.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 03 Jan 15 - 03:52 AM

JUST. DO. IT.
Have Fun ! ! !




Sincerely,
Gargoyle

So much of the "drama" in your life appears to stem from unwarranted, imaginary fears.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 15 - 04:43 AM

Its called the "folk process".




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Jan 15 - 05:29 AM

I've decided that I will sing the verses I added at home on my own. I think in public I will just sing the original first 3 verses of Lal Waterson's Child Among the Weeds, which tells of a woman singing a lullaby to the men (baby, father and partner) in her life. It is powerful enough in it's own right.

The verses I added tell the story of the young girl learning the lullaby which she will sing her whole life, the young mother so busy she doesn't notice that no one sings the lullaby her, and old gran singing the lullaby as a prayer at "the end of her day" life.

I am not comfortable typing in complete verses online as they might confuse searchers of the Lal Waterson lyrics.

Thank you all for your contributions and encouragements.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 03 Jan 15 - 08:43 AM

Traditional songs, which have been sung and changed by hundreds of people as they've been sung over time are certainly open to 'the folk process'. But 'Child Among the Weeds' isn't traditional, it's got a known author, Lal Waterson, who wrote and then recorded it in exactly the form she wanted her song to take. It certainly can't be considered open to 'the folk process'.

It may well be that Oliver Knight, Lal's son, who worked with his mother on her last two albums could have clear views on this, as might her daughter Marry, who often sang with her mother.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Jan 15 - 12:50 PM

Thank you Georgia for verifying my final decision. The song was so affecting I couldn't help adding to it.   But it will be my private addition, which I will only sing in the privacy of my own home.

The Lal Waterson lines I will share in small sing arounds.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 15 - 12:02 AM

All songs were made up by someone. Then they get changed, which is why we have so many songs and so many variants.

Just because we might know who made the song up first doesn't give it special status so that it should be embalmed.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 15 - 12:17 AM

I mean they shouldn't be enbalmed!!




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,bk
Date: 04 Jan 15 - 01:29 AM

I am 70. A "folkie" since my teens. I have NEVER seen the "folk process" limited to only "traditional" songs. Just credit what you sing, openly & accurately, & let the audience response teach you what it will.. [do try to learn from it]. caveat: Get a broad sample before you make any major conclusions. My wife of 42 years & I agree on most musical issues but disagree strongly on a few songs & singers - and always will. Personal taste/opinions varry a lot.

For many of us music is, in the end, about emotions. If your emotional response to this song [I don't know the song or writer] takes you there that's a good thing. It's part of your relationship with the song. It gave, you took. Now you're giving back. Be grateful for the creative response it evoked in you. Embrace it.

BK




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 04 Jan 15 - 05:10 PM

If you are happy to only sing your own creative input at home , good on you, but I hope that if you want to add lyrics in the singaround, you don't feel pressured to omit what sounds to me to be creative imput.       Pete.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 05 Jan 15 - 11:39 AM

Pete Seeger was all for adding, even changing Folk Songs, keeping it alive as he put it. But take care of copyright and in the case where you mentioned it might be nice to ask the family if they mind?




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jan 15 - 11:54 AM

Why so timid? Express yourself.

If you were to record the songs of Lal Waterson, you would then have a legal as well as an ethical responsibility to present them precisely as written (or as performed by the composer).

Otherwise, no one will come after you if you just sing the song for your friends and family in any way that pleases you.




Subject: RE: Advice:adding own lyrics to a song
From: wordfella
Date: 06 Jan 15 - 11:47 AM

I always thought "Put Another Log on the Fire" was too short, so I added a verse, with full disclosure:

Don't I buy you nice things on your birthday?
The bass boat and the giant-screen TV.
You always get the first beer from the six-pack--
Is anyone more generous than me?
And don't I love to watch you skin the possums?
I hardly ever make no smart remarks.
So don't be such a grouch--just stretch out on the couch--
We'll fool around until the ballgame starts.

Audiences liked it, and I doubt Silverstein would have minded.


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