Mudcat Café message #1954308 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98509   Message #1954308
Posted By: Scrump
01-Feb-07 - 04:48 AM
Thread Name: Folk Process - is it dead?
Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
To reply to Barbara's post above: I would have thought it depends on the nature of the changes.

George has said he was happy for small changes to be made to his songs, but would he have been so happy if someone made substantial changes, maybe rewriting a couple of verses and perhaps changing the meaning?

Any of us could add verses to a song, or rewrite a verse, etc., but what we change may not be as good as the original version. I'm not sure where you would draw the line between 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' changes, but I would have thought it was at least implicit that the author of the original song would have to give his/her approval to such changes (as George has done in his examples).

I've made minor changes to other people's songs but in each case I've sought the author's approval (and happily, got it). I feel happier singing the song if I do this - I'd feel I was taking liberties otherwise. But I don't know if everyone else would bother, or care about this?

I guess some songwriters would care more about changes to their songs than others. After all, if a songwriter has put a lot of effort into honing a song, he/she might feel a bit miffed to discover somebody had changed it without their knowledge. Some songwriters might not care at all, some might not want any changes made at all, while others may be somewhere in between.

Of course all this only applies to living writers. If a song's author is known, but is dead, then maybe it doesn't matter as much (or does it? should you consult their family or something?). And for traditional songs by unknown authors (or Seth Lakeman of course) it would be fair game to change anything you like.