Forums > Personal > What's a cover after all?

forum rss feed
Author

Yara user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1430 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 14 Jun 09, 11:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi, people!

How are you?

A recent exchange on the serious board prompted me to create this topic: what is a cover of a song? The question was raised when the following doubt was brought up: "Does Queen cover God Save The Queen"? Does Queen cover a cover of it? Or is it something else we're talking about?  

Dear user Thomas Quinn provided some great and simple guidelines for us which I think are precious:

1) Originals; the performer is also the author
2) Covers; the performer is not the author, the author is known
3) Traditionals; the performer is not the author; the author is unknown

Another dear user said something interesting: "x did a cover of Bach". Something didn't sound right to me: is it a cover? I guess not.And it may shed - I hope! - some light on the national anthem question.  

I then thought it'd be nice, with all due respect and asking for the blessing of Queen YourValentine and pledging the protection of Knight Sir GH, to introduce a 4th category (this is mine: all the stupidity of it must be ascribed to me, not to dear Thomas)!

4) Readings; the performer is not the author and doesn't have access, however poorly, to the sound of the original.

So it'd be like this:

a)I do cover of tunes - I have committed to memory the sound of the performance of the song by its author - and I can even cover a cover! One could be ridiculed, as it has already happened, for covering (yes) a given reading of a Bach's piece (a guy trying to be Glenn Gould...) :)

b) I do a good - let's dream a bit! :)) - reading of the written remains of a musical past: e.g., Bach's X Partita - I have done a good deal of research, I went to a prestigious music school,  I tried to get the best and most authorative scholar editions of his works and listened to some of the various readings, and then I present mine. I get raving reviews and Yara becomes a STANDARD. lol

I'm playing around a bit with an important distinction, since scores don't speak for themselves and they only become music when a human being - or a machine - comes in, reads it and plays it:

Note vs Tune

The note is the written representation of a tune. The tune is the sound itself. 

The term "cover" is applied people who reproduce in their own way the sound of a song they didn't compose. 

The term "reading" is applied to people who only have access to the music through written documents. The written account of the music can be more or less useful but it can be almost an engima - as a 17th Century notation when there wasn't even the piano as we know it, for instance, and the process of coming up with a convention for the organization of the sound material based on the division or fraction of the octave was still in the making. 

Why don't we say that X did a cover of Bach's X Partita? Because of this simple distinction, I think. 

Is it an argument from authority? "Mr. F doesn't use this term to refer to a certain recording, therefore..."? No. The argument is authorative because, I think, it's based on a very good, helpful distinction. 

Does Callas cover Verdi? No. She presents her reading of Verdi's music. Reading in a very literal sense - the source is a piece of paper! Does Glenn Gould covers Bach? No. Giving a certain reading to a piece of music from the past, the sound of which we don't have access to, is so hard that there are often schools of interpretation. 

Do the Cardigans cover Iron Man or Hendrix cover All Along The Watchtower? Yes! In this case, they committed to memory the sound of the original performance of the songs and tried to replicate it in their own way, with more or less creativity.  

Before I present my reading of a piece as an assignment given to me by the professor at the music school, I must do a huge amount of reading, research and listen to the many different schools of interpretation of a certain musician - after I do all that - if I want to get a good score I have to do it - it's regarded as a good thing, though not necessary, if I write a paper or simply say why the hell I think my reading is worthy. Then, and only then, I present the piece, I play it, I make music happen out of a piece of paper! 

Usually, all the artist who wants to cover something has to make is...employing his creativity. The Cardigans don't have to do much research before covering Iron Man...

It doesn't mean, of course, that what I do is in any way superior. I listen to Hendrix cover of All Along The Watchtower I really feel there's very little, if any, music in me - I feel like a despicable, disposable piece of termite, let's say.  

But then: Does one cover La Marseillaise? No! We know the author - Claude Rouget - but we don't have any piece of sound of the revolutionaries singing it before storming into a monastery! lol So it's weird to say: "Great cover of The Marseillaise". I'd say...good reading, good interpretation. The point being: cover is a term mostly applied to people who reproduce in their own way the sound of a performance of a song done by its author or under the author's directions. There can be even cover of covers.   

Hugs, you all. Let's see if I can bully you guys with my nails - grrrrrrrrrrrrr like a tiger defying... :)) - into accepting the fourth category.

If you don't, well, you'll be responsible for a broken heart (the emotional blackmail bit). ;-)))))

Have a nice sunday!!!!


Yara
bobo the chimp user not visiting Queenzone.com
bobo the chimp
Deity: 12700 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 14 Jun 09, 13:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am covering my eyes.


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
Sergei. user not visiting Queenzone.com
Impresario, still
Sergei.
Deity: 4682 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 14 Jun 09, 14:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

TL;DR

Edit: That made me sound like an ass.


Back whenever
Major Tom user not visiting Queenzone.com
S.D.M.F
Major Tom
Bohemian: 878 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 14 Jun 09, 15:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Yara!

Well, to tell you what I think. I think God save the queen acually is a, well not a "cover" since it´s not written by an artist or a band, released on a album or single. It is, again in my opinion "God save the queen" with Brians arrangement, his version of it if you may.

Also, you mentioned the cover of Iron man by The Cardigans(woho, sweden!), and this is also a hard one to categorise. It is obviously the same lyrics but that´s it, if you compare the two versions. There is no heavymetal to their version whatsoever. On the other hand, the is no "lounge" to the original Black Sabbath Iron man.

I think, what I call a cover, is a song preformed by an artist or a group, to pay tribute to the original recorders of the song, but giving it a bit of themselfes. A good example is "Orion" by Mastodon or as we already brought up Sabbath, White Zombies "Children of the grave".

Look them all up you guys. I even enjoyed Cardigans Sabbath covers.

Take care Yara!


It´s better to burn out than to fade away.
Yara user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1430 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 14 Jun 09, 23:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Major Tom wrote:

Hi Yara!

Well, to tell you what I think. I think God save the queen acually is a, well not a "cover" since it´s not written by an artist or a band, released on a album or single. It is, again in my opinion "God save the queen" with Brians arrangement, his version of it if you may.

Also, you mentioned the cover of Iron man by The Cardigans(woho, sweden!), and this is also a hard one to categorise. It is obviously the same lyrics but that´s it, if you compare the two versions. There is no heavymetal to their version whatsoever. On the other hand, the is no "lounge" to the original Black Sabbath Iron man.

I think, what I call a cover, is a song preformed by an artist or a group, to pay tribute to the original recorders of the song, but giving it a bit of themselfes. A good example is "Orion" by Mastodon or as we already brought up Sabbath, White Zombies "Children of the grave".

Look them all up you guys. I even enjoyed Cardigans Sabbath covers.

Take care Yara!

Hi, Henke!

How are you?

Ah, it's always great to read your posts. Always on sundays. ;-) I can't help remembering you, Jjeroen and Mr. Jingles when I hang out the mall on sunday. You guys gave me so good tips about what recordings to look out for. :-)) 

What's interesting is that I randomly came up with the Cardigans example - I hadn't thought about the fact that we had been recently talking about Sabbath here! And I didn't know you were from Sweden! It's great. 

I agree with you on the question of the covers. And more: I think what you said about the Cardigans' cover - I do enjoy it too - would make a very interesting thread, that is: to which extent does what's intended to be cover may assume such a distinctive feature as to make it a different song? Not a different version of the same song, but a different song altogether.

As always: thanks a lot for the gentle, sweet, kind and helpful reply. I really enjoyed reading it. 

I hope you're okay and I wish you the best. May your week be just great.

Best regards,

Yara    








Yara
thomasquinn 32989 user not visiting Queenzone.com
thomasquinn 32989
Deity: 6257 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 15 Jun 09, 08:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Yara,

I see one minor problem. Take, as an example, the Joe Cocker rendition of "With A Little Help From My Friends". Upon first hearing, it is obvious that this is a new version of the Beatles' original, but it is not based on the *sound* of the Beatles' version, even though the same melodies and harmonies are used as a starting point. At the same time, it is not a reading of the score, as significant changes to the composition are made.

My point would be, that the distinction between "cover" and "reading" is very difficult to establish. You have certainly proven beyond any reasonable doubt that such a fourth category as you propose is present, but perhaps all four categories need to be defined somewhat differently.



Not Plutus but Apollo rules Parnassus