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Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?

Joe Offer 01 Aug 18 - 01:38 AM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 18 - 01:44 AM
Mr Red 01 Aug 18 - 03:34 AM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 18 - 03:46 AM
C-flat 01 Aug 18 - 03:53 AM
David Carter (UK) 01 Aug 18 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Knockroe 01 Aug 18 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,henryp 01 Aug 18 - 05:13 AM
The Sandman 01 Aug 18 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Knockroe 01 Aug 18 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Sol 01 Aug 18 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 01 Aug 18 - 07:09 AM
Dave Hanson 01 Aug 18 - 07:26 AM
Nigel Parsons 01 Aug 18 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,KarenH 01 Aug 18 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,johnmc 01 Aug 18 - 08:57 AM
Thompson 01 Aug 18 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Knockroe 01 Aug 18 - 09:48 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Aug 18 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Knockroe 01 Aug 18 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,henryp 01 Aug 18 - 10:44 AM
Jeri 01 Aug 18 - 05:49 PM
Bonzo3legs 01 Aug 18 - 05:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Aug 18 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Gerry 01 Aug 18 - 08:51 PM
robomatic 01 Aug 18 - 10:35 PM
Mr Red 02 Aug 18 - 02:56 AM
EBarnacle 05 Aug 18 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,paperback 05 Aug 18 - 04:11 PM
Thompson 06 Aug 18 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,paperback 06 Aug 18 - 06:24 PM
The Sandman 07 Aug 18 - 02:21 AM
The Sandman 07 Aug 18 - 03:11 AM
David C. Carter 07 Aug 18 - 06:13 AM
The Sandman 07 Aug 18 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,paperback 07 Aug 18 - 07:31 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Aug 18 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,paperback 07 Aug 18 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,paperback 07 Aug 18 - 11:26 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Aug 18 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,paperback 08 Aug 18 - 12:14 AM
GUEST,Knockroe 08 Aug 18 - 04:21 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Aug 18 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,henryp 08 Aug 18 - 02:07 PM
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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel laureate
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 01:38 AM

Somewhere during the last week, I heard somebody claim that Dylan's Nobel Prize lecture was most certainly plagiarism. And of course, the person followed by saying that so much of his music was plagiarism.
It's alleged that Dylan used descriptions of the novel Moby Dick from the SparkNotes commentary of the novel. I can't say that bothers me.

There's no doubt that Dylan built on earlier sources for his music. Jean Ritchie told us she won a lawsuit against Dylan for his use of the melody for "Nottamun Town" for his "Masters of War." Many people frown on that, but I think that's the nature of art - to build on what others have done before.
What do you think?

Two articles on the Nobel lecture:


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel laureate
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 01:44 AM

Here's the lecture, recorded 4 June 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zf04vnVPfM

Can't say I liked it. I like many of Dylan's songs, but when he opens his mouth to speak, he's just.....awkward.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 03:34 AM

If it is acknowledged it is referencing, if not - it's plagiarism.

If a Nobel Lecture - the Folk Process .................. ?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 03:46 AM

When I'm writing something and I want to talk about a book I read years ago, I'm likely to go to some sort of summary to make sure I remember the book correctly. Nowadays, I usually go to Wikipedia for that. And yeah, when I use a source like that, my words are likely to be similar to the source. When we write, most of us refer to sources to ensure accuracy. If I'm quoting a passage, I note the source. But if I'm paraphrasing, I won't cite the source unless it's an original source.
Summaries of Moby Dick are available all over. I see no reason to cite them as sources.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: C-flat
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 03:53 AM

With regards Dylan plagiarising music, musical notes could be compared to colours. Just because one artist may be using the same colour palette as another, the image they create will be completely different.
Different subject matter, different style, same colours.

There are greater limitations on the number of musical notes, further limited by the number of ways they can be arranged into pleasing musical passages. We can't mix notes on a palette to get an interesting shade of F.
Everything has been done before, we should judge the overall piece, subject matter, style, etc, instead of feeding the lawyers.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 04:12 AM

Surely the melody for Nottamun Town was collected by Cecil Sharp in the Appalachians ?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Knockroe
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 04:48 AM

So boring, yet again, criticising Bob on plagiarism. Even the great Liam Clancy mockingly once said "Little Bobby Dylan and his instant **** copyrighting machine". Now, Liam mostly only performed truly wonderful interpretations of other peoples creations.
Has poetry and art not always been about interpretation or recycling of what went before for present times? Besides his amazing well-known body of work, Dylan has written more original lyrics and melodies in largely unheard bootlegs than most artists have produced as their major works. Love C-flat's colours analogy above ...


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 05:13 AM

Nottamun Town was indeed collected by Cecil Sharp - from the Ritchie family. It's copyrighted by Jean Ritchie because she made up the fifth verse. Jean Ritchie wrote to Roger McGuinn;

The song … was collected at the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County, KY by Cecil Sharp around 1917 from the singing of my sister Una who was a student there (Una was 4th in our family of 14; I'm 'the baby one,' and am 77 now).

If you will check in Sharp's book of Appalachian songs he collected, you will find the Ritchie version … as notated from the singing of Una and Sabrina Ritchie (Sabrina was our cousin).


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 06:10 AM

Dylan has also written meaningless mediocre lyurics , give me MacColl any time


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Knockroe
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 06:18 AM

Get out of that bunker Sandman .... seems you had a misspelt youth!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 06:48 AM

The comment above about the lawyers sums it up for me.
It gets ridiculous when John Fogerty is sued for plagisrising one of his own songs & Paul McCartney has to pay Sony the royalties everytime he sings "Yesterday". I know there has to be some protection to the composer (or the current 'owner' of the rites) but, come on.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 07:09 AM

Here we go again!
"Borrowing" folk melodies and bits of lyrics has been going on since Adam!
Woody Guithrie did it all the time. For example, Woody used the melody "Pretty Polly" for "Pastures of Plenty" and Dylan used it for "Hollis Brown".
Interestly, when Alan Lomax made field recordings of Muddy Waters back in 1941, Muddy sang a song which he claimed to have written, but Lomax knew that song "belonged" to another singer, but when challenged, Muddy said that he had the made the song is own by rearranging the verses and mixing in material from other songs.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 07:26 AM

It's called ' the folk process ' it's gone on forever, live with it.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 07:34 AM

It gets ridiculous when John Fogerty is sued for plagisrising one of his own songs & Paul McCartney has to pay Sony the royalties everytime he sings "Yesterday". I know there has to be some protection to the composer (or the current 'owner' of the rites) but, come on.

Not at all. McCartney gave up future (possible) copyright revenue in exchange for making a quick buck early on.
Someone else took a calculated gamble of the possible future income, and is reaping the rewards of that.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 07:39 AM

Blind Willie MacTell claimed to have written The Dying Crapshooter's Blues. But he didn't; it was released at least three times on a recording. However, maybe it is true that nobody sang the blues like Blind Willie did?

There's a link to an Elijah Wald lecture somewhere on here. In it, Wald plays an earlier version of what I know as 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right'. I didn't realise just how closely Dylan took material from elsewhere. Though obviously he referenced stuff a lot.


Here's the link again:

Wald Lecture

You would expect something better than Spark Notes from somebody who got a Nobel Prize for Literature.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 08:57 AM

When I hear Dylan singing his songs and constantly departing from his original
recorded melody, it tells me he doesn't have the same connection to melody that
his fans have. He is interested in not boring himself and so if the much loved version has to go, so be it. In other words, a tune is not quite so precious to him as to some others. Thus, he might use Nottamun Town as a basis but he won't have that
reverence for it that a folkie, say, might have.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Thompson
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 09:29 AM

I like Dylan's songs, but wouldn't really see them as literature. But the Nobel committee has its own odd logic; by my lights Jocelyn Bell should be a Nobel laureate…


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Knockroe
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 09:48 AM

Bob was awarded Nobel under their specific description "For having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"
Not "odd logic"


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 09:52 AM

I can just imagine the Nobel committee discussing the nomination and someone said "what is folk music?" and Googled, landing on Mudcat and all of the arguments here. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Knockroe
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 10:07 AM

Think it's time for a mudcat referendum on Bob: a) is Dylan a poet; b) is he a partial plagiarist; or c) no deal, he's just a song and dance man


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 10:44 AM

Take these folk songs away from me, I can't use 'em anymore
They're just a lark, a lark to me, feel like I'm lookin' for something more


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 05:49 PM

d) Who gives a fuck?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 05:55 PM

Exactly!!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 07:12 PM

Think it's time for a mudcat referendum on Bob: a) is Dylan a poet; b) is he a partial plagiarist; or c) no deal, he's just a song and dance man

I'd say he's just a poet, a partial plagiarist, and a song and dance man.

As that other Nobel prisewinner Rudyard Kipling put it

When 'Omer smote 'is bloomin' lyre,
He'd 'eard men sing by land an' sea;
An' what he thought 'e might require,
'E went an' took - the same as me!

The market-girls an' fishermen,
The shepherds an' the sailors, too,
They 'eard old songs turn up again,
But kep' it quiet - same as you!

They knew 'e stole; 'e knew they knowed.
They didn't tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at 'Omer down the road,
An' 'e winked back - the same as us!

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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 08:51 PM

"Woody used the melody "Pretty Polly" for "Pastures of Plenty" and Dylan used it for "Hollis Brown"."

Dave Rankin used it for "Poor Man" (which I called a model for "Hollis Brown", back at https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=55088)


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: robomatic
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 10:35 PM

In this case I'm with Dylan.


I couldn't finish Moby Dick either.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 02:56 AM

So!
Dylan doesn't go to Starbucks eh?

Or when he did, he could finish his double latte with choc?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 11:59 AM

Dylan is a songwright in the same sense that I am a playwright. He crafts other materials into a version of what he wants to say. I would hate to get into a discussion of what constitutes an original play that I am attempting to sell when it is all based on original materials that others have created. The art is in the crafting, whether or not I am a fan of his work.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 04:11 PM

Crafty Bob Dylan

Excerpt from above article:

It was Louis Aragon, I think, who said that setting a poem to music was like moving from black and white to color. Aragon, the poet sung by Léo Ferré and others, believed that a poem unsung was half dead.

Well, then, it seems that Dylan was the only one of his era to have been able to embody fully the musicality that is essential to great poetry, the second voice that haunts every poet, but which he generally delegates to those who recite or read him, the power of song that is his ultimate and secret truth and that some have gone mad – literally and tragically mad – trying to pull from cage into canto.

Bard and rhapsodist both. A poetico-musical revolution in one man and one body of work. I like to think that it is this tour de force – this prolonged stroke of genius that is forever young – that the Nobel committee has recognized in its selection.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: Thompson
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 05:25 PM

But does Aragon's idea work the other way around? Is it great poetry if you take the music away and it doesn't still move you and stir you intellectually?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 06 Aug 18 - 06:24 PM

Blowing In The Wind


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 02:21 AM

" He crafts other materials into a version of what he wants to say."
my criticism of his song writing is that sometimes hit is not clear what he is trying to say, like most song writers he has some poor efforts as well as some good ones. in my opinion some of his songs are deliberately unclear in what they are trying to say.
Dylan would probably say "man ,you have to find the neaning yourself", what a clever cop out.
In the footsteps of James Joyce


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 03:11 AM

Donovan[ in his early songs,understood that folk music at its best has simplicity, here is an example of a beautifully crafted simple pop song that has much in common with folk song

Your smile beams like sunlight on a gull's wing
And the leaves dance and play after you
Take my hand and hold it as you would a flower
Take care with my heart, oh darling, she's made of glass

Your eyes feel like silence resting on me
And the birds cease to sing when you rise
Ride easy your fairy stallion you have mounted
Take care how you ride, my precious, you might fall down

In the pastel skies a sunset I have wandered
With my eyes and ears and heart strained to the full
I know I tasted the essence in the few days
Take care who you love, my precious, he might not know.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: David C. Carter
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 06:13 AM

Donovan!!!    Oh pleeeeeze!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 09:56 AM

there is a pre judgement, what about those particular lyrics


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 07:31 PM

Your smile beams like sunlight on a gull's wing: spoken like a man in love
Click   

Whitman wrote: Flaunt of the sunshine I need not your bask—lie over!
You light surfaces only, I force surfaces and depths also.

Not Dylan but Dylan-esque


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 11:17 PM

As a young teenager I preferred Donovan to Dylan...
then grew out of Donovan, getting more into electric Dylan in my late 20s...

... and eventually stopped caring about either for a decade or two;
until Dylan became a mischievous old man making an entertainingly rubbish art movie
"Masked and Anonymous" (2003)
with an excellent alt county and world esoterica soundtrack

..That's when I really started liking what Dylan was doing...

Old man Dylan has earned the right to do what the eff he likes now for all I care.
If I enjoy some of it, that's my gain...

But it was Donovan who sparked my initial interest in folk music,
and why I eventually ended up here at mudcat...

So that's something else some mudcatters can blame Donovan for...


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 11:23 PM

And if Whitman don't ring your chimes Dickenson is Dylan-esque too

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –


(it may be the American thing your not getting)


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 11:26 PM

Donovan always seems like the guy to be, when I was at that age.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 11:45 PM

Donovan was mostly the wrong side of twee..
I tolerated that even as a teen fan...

But there were enough stand out rock and psychedelia tracks on each LP
to keep me loyal..

..even during later 70s punk rock...

There was some reason I found Dylan off putting and annoying..
but I can't remember exactly what now I'm nearly 60...

Apart from some of his devout fans I knew back then who were too overbearing and boring.....
regularly taking over parties and playing his LPs on repeat...
for our 'edification'...
I hated "Desire" for that reason...


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 08 Aug 18 - 12:14 AM

Bob Dylan copied spark notes?!

Walt would've probably said something like this about Bob-

"Behavior lawless as snow-flakes, words simple as grass, uncomb'd
head, laughter, and naivete,"


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,Knockroe
Date: 08 Aug 18 - 04:21 AM

Can't believe Donovan and Dylan actually being compared in this thread. Body and general quality of work from 1962 (Bob Dylan)- 2012 (Tempest) puts Dylan in a totally different stratosphere from Mr Leitch. Dylan never content just to be safe, so odd bummer LP is ok. That's one of the reasons he's a genius, always wants to be creative. When was Donovan's last LP of any significance?
A lot of mudcatters seem to only know/heard a lot Dylan's output as a folk singer in the 1960s.
Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is .......


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Aug 18 - 08:12 AM

GUEST,Knockroe - Donovan is British and, if I remember correctly, got far more live exposure on UK TV
in the late 60s early 70s...
and his music was available on very low price budget LPs....

key factors for influencing young kids with new guitars...

next - comparing Dylan to John Denver...???


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel lecture plagiarism?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 08 Aug 18 - 02:07 PM

Dylan meets Donovan


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