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So, what IS a parody?

Joe Offer 14 Aug 15 - 02:11 AM
GUEST,Kampervan 14 Aug 15 - 02:53 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Aug 15 - 03:22 AM
Joe Offer 14 Aug 15 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Kampervan 14 Aug 15 - 03:37 AM
WindhoverWeaver 14 Aug 15 - 03:46 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 Aug 15 - 04:09 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 Aug 15 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Grishka 14 Aug 15 - 04:24 AM
MartinRyan 14 Aug 15 - 05:24 AM
GUEST, Sol 14 Aug 15 - 06:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 14 Aug 15 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Gerry 14 Aug 15 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,henryp 14 Aug 15 - 07:41 AM
Snuffy 14 Aug 15 - 10:09 AM
EBarnacle 14 Aug 15 - 10:33 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Aug 15 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Sol 14 Aug 15 - 10:48 AM
GUEST 14 Aug 15 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 14 Aug 15 - 03:04 PM
PHJim 14 Aug 15 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Musket 15 Aug 15 - 03:14 AM
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Subject: So, what IS a parody?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 02:11 AM

We all know what parodies are - or do we? To my mind, a parody is a funny song that copies not only the melody of another song, but also the general structure of that other song. They are reminiscent of the other songs in many more ways that simply sharing a melody. Oftentimes, parodies are political - but not necessarily so.

But what about songs that aren't funny - can they be parodies? Would it be better to call them "derivative songs," or is parody a proper term in this case?

And what do you call songs that share a melody but nothing else with an earlier song?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Kampervan
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 02:53 AM

Interesting question.

Lots of very different hymns share a common tune,, but I don't think that there is a name for this.

I think that a parody generally shares the tune with the original song and frequently the structure of the words is similar, but I don't think that humour is pre-requisite.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:22 AM

As I remember 'parody' doesn't have to be humorous, although nowadays it often is. When a parody is taking a rise out of the original song that is 'burlesque'. To be a parody all it needs to have is the structural description you've already given, i.e., that the new song/poem is using the original song in some way, some of the text, the basic structure, and/or its tune, and it should be at least obvious at the time it is written what the original song was.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:34 AM

Is "Battle Hymn of the Republic" a parody of "John Brown's Body"?


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Kampervan
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:37 AM

No, I don't think so because there is no resemblance between the two sets of words - one doesn't derive from the other. They are two songs with the same tune.

IMHO


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:46 AM

Definition of "parody" from the Oxford dictionary:
"An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect."

Pretty much what I would have said, and implies a parody IS comic, at least to some degree. Interesting to note that a song could be a parody of a style rather than a specific song.

I like your idea of "derivative song", Joe. Don't know of an existing term for such songs. As for songs that share a common tune, seems to me that is so common it may not need a term (except, perhaps, for academic discussion).

One further thought: Is there a term for a parody of a parody? For instance, I have heard several parodies of the poem "You are old, Father William" from one of the Alice in Wonderland books, but that is, in itself a parody of a now mostly forgotten poem of the time. Since parody is from the Greek para (beside) and ode (poem), could one of these be a paraparody?


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:09 AM

I seem to remember a previous thread a year or 2 back on the same topic!
I'd agree with the definition above, and my understanding is that a proper parody would use the same tune and a lot of the original words of the song on which it is based. The fewer words changed, the better the parody.
A song to a known tune, but which has a completely different set of words is not a parody.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:17 AM

.......which is pretty well what Leadfingers said in the previous thread started on 19/08/14.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:24 AM

There is an old notion of parodia, meaning "reworking an existing piece of music for a different purpose, usually with unrelated lyrics". Together with the practice, that notion came out of vogue about 1800. Therefore, the English word "parody" should only be used in the modern sense.

However, the goal of modern parodies is not always to satirize the original author or genre. Many parodies preserve the melody and some key phrases of an existing song, and put them in a different context. I would use the term "parody" only if the contrast to the (well-known) original lyrics is an essential part of the message. Otherwise it should be called "recycling".


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 05:24 AM

We need a new word... "cousongs" ?

Regards


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST, Sol
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:00 AM

When I write a parody I generally start off with the lyrics of the original song and try and match each rhyme where possible. Even whole lines with maybe one or two word changes that twist the meaning.

Different lyrics that have no comedy or social statement connection to the original song are not parodies, IMO. They are different songs (i.e. Rantin' Rovin' Robin & Dainty Davey both poems by Burns with the same tune.)

Say with Scott Joplin's "The Sting" we change a couple of the expected notes to make it sound funny haha. Would that be termed 'a parody' or a parody purely lyrical?


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:19 AM

Parody? There was only ever the one...

Who'll Go To Morecambe? /The Last Resort


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:31 AM

"I seem to remember a previous thread a year or 2 back on the same topic!"

So, does that make this a parody of the older thread?


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 07:41 AM

King James' Bible 1611 Proverbs 24 30-34
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall your poverty come as one that travels; and your lack as an armed man.

Set to verse as The Sluggard by Isaac Watts 1715
'Tis the voice of the Sluggard; I heard him complain,
'You have wak'd me too soon! I must slumber again!'
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed
Turns his sides and his shoulders and his heavy head.

'A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;'
Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number,
And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.

A political parody; a Chartist poem from The Northern Star 1841
'Tis the voice of the people I hear it on high,
It peals o'er the mountains - it soars to the sky;
Through wide fields of heather, it wings its swift flight;
Like thunders of heaven arrayed in their might.

A comic parody; from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 1865
'Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
"You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair."
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:09 AM

I wrote this about 20 years ago: I don't think it is a parody (as usually understood), but following the practice of such as the Salvation Army, Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Dylan, etc. of using a familiar tune and structure to ease the digestibility of the message you're putting across.

And did those teeth in ancient times crunch upon England's apples green?
And was the Bramley apple pie on England's dining tables seen?
And did the cider pure and strong pour forth in pints, and quarts and gills?
And did the apple bring good health to folks in dark satanic mills?

Bring me my Cox of burnished gold; bring me my Worcester, firm and sweet.
Bring me my Pippins, new or old; bring me some English fruit to eat.
I shall not eat that tasteless pomme, nor shall a French fruit soil my hand,
Till English apples rule again in England's green and pleasant land.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:33 AM

Obviously, one of the reasons we reuse old melodies is that people are familiar with them.
Many years ago in my correspondence with Gordon Bok, he commented that almost all of my musical writings were parodies and that I should focus on writing my own melodies. He did like the words, though.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:42 AM

One of the best I've ever come across
Carroll Mackenzie Collection
Jim Carroll

I Don't Mind if I do
King George met Joe Devlin a short time ago,
And he said 'Good morning, how do you do, Joe?
Will you drop into breakfast, and see Mary, too?'
'Oh, be God then', said Joe, 'I don't mind if I do.'

To the palace they rambled – T.P. he was there,
John Dillon he sat on a plush-covered chair,
'Will you all', says Queen Mary , 'have some Irish stew?'
Oh they roared in one voice, 'We don't mind if we do.'

'Sinn Feiners', said Georgie, 'are spoiling my plan.
DeValera, their leader, he seems a strong man.
Will you tell him his flag should be red, white and blue?'
'It's no use', says T.P., 'he won't mind if I do.'

'Behind prison walls they should all be', said Joe.
'When you had them in there sure you let them all go.
To spread their sedition each county around,
And to knock out the men with the four hundred pounds.'

'That's right', said T.P., 'I agree with you there.
The rod on the rebels, oh Georgie, don't spare!
The whole world over sure they've knocked me flat,
I am back from the States with a big empty hat.'

The flag of Sinn Fein everywhere it do fly,
And 'Down with the Party' is now Ireland's cry.
The green, white and orange, alas and alack,
Has taken the place of the old Union Jack.

'Recruiting', said Mary, 'is now very low.
To the trenches in Flanders the Irish won't go.
Why not try conscription – oh John, what says you?'
'Oh be God then', said Joe, 'there'll be hell if we do.'

"According to historical accounts the 1910 British General Election left the Liberals as a minority government dependent upon the votes of Irish Nationalist parliamentarians so, in order to gain their support, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, introduced legislation that would give Ireland Home Rule; the bill was opposed by the Conservatives and Unionists. Desperate to avoid the prospect of Civil War in Ireland, King George V called a meeting of all parties at Buckingham Palace in July 1914 in an attempt to negotiate a settlement. After four days the conference ended without an agreement so, on 18 September 1914, the King, having considered vetoing the legislation, gave his assent to the Home Rule Bill after it had been passed by Westminster. Its implementation was postponed due to the outbreak of the First World War. Joseph Devlin, mentioned in the song, was an Irish journalist and influential nationalist politician, a member of the British parliament for the Irish Parliamentary Party. This wonderful parody commemorates 'The Buckingham Palace Meeting'."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:48 AM

The reason that parodies work so well is that the listener can immediately give their total attention to the lyrics.
As they are already familiar with the tune, it releases their brain from the burden of creating its own new melody register - if you know what I mean.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 02:35 PM

Bizarre thing about the Home Rule Bill of 1914 is that it's the only Bill not published on Britain's official website for all laws.
The much-modified later version was published, but it's impossible to see exactly what was in the 1914 Bill without going and photocopying the whole thing.
Odd, really.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:04 PM

Good one snuffy.


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: PHJim
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:51 PM

There are songs like Great Speckled Bird and Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes and Wild Side Of Life that are certainly not parodies, but do share the same tune. Then there are answer songs like It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels; not really a parody either although based on The Wild Side Of Life.

Homer & Jethro were masters of the parody.
A group called The Frere Brothers from Prince Edward County in Southern Ontario have made some wonderful parodies.
Four Two-Fours of Molson Export is a parody of Four Strong Winds about cross border shopping:
"Think I'll go down to Rochester,
Shopping's good there in the mall
Got some friends that I can go shopping for. . ."
or the one about the Mushroom plant in P.E. county to the tune of I'll Tell Me Ma
"She's big and fat and she's my aunt
And she works down in the mushroom plant.
She picks mushrooms one two three
Got a light on her hat so she can see."


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Subject: RE: So, what IS a parody?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 15 Aug 15 - 03:14 AM

I used to write quite a bit of topical parody which was reasonably funny if performed contemporaniously but with a shelf life.

Yet the only one I am rather proud of was changing one word in the opening line and if you sing it through, Kris Kristofferson provides the rest of the punchlines for you.

Take the ribbon from your fur 🎶



I especially like "I don't care what's right or wrong


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