Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Straw, Will. "Authorship." In Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture, ed. Bruce Horner and Thomas Swiss, 199-208. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1999.

The nature of the music industry makes it difficult to positively isolate the author of a given musical recording. Whom do we include from the list of composers, arrangers, performers, producers, sound engineers, and other figures associated with a recording? The group production systems involved in music and cinema are frequently set against the presumably individual efforts involved in writing or painting, but the latter types engage with a complex system of intertexts and conventions. Similarly, musical performances form connections with prior performances, and in so doing, raise questions about what is original in any given performance. Historically, the relationship between songwriter and song has been a source of anxiety. Since the mid-twentieth century, popular music has addressed this anxiety through increased expectations that singer-songwriters will produce their own music, and that they will build up a body of their own music that represents some sort of coherent identity for that artist (allowing of course for the natural evolution and development of an artist over the span of his or her career). Due to the recognized connections between singer-songwriter and song, cover songs and other forms of borrowing are now understood as deliberate "gestures of affinity" (203) that point to a specific artist.

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Paul Killinger

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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