Sunday, October 07, 2007

This weekend I went to see the Matt Nathanson concert in Minneapolis, and I was shocked to witness the class’s discussion of copyright personified in this display of live music. Nathanson’s concerts consist of about 90% of his original music. Every now and then he’ll perform a Prince song or end one of his songs with a line from a Tom Petty song, but these instances are usually meant to be humorous and cliché. However, at this show he announced that he had taken parts from the song ‘Jesse’s Girl” to use in a song he had just written. The song was about an actual instance when Nathanson stole his friend Jesse’s girl. Nathanson’s use of familiar parts of the classic song helped the audience to recognize the theme of his new work and to see the humor in the situation. Without the use of the famous (and often parodied) song the new song that he had created would have lacked some of its humor and its overall effect. Nathanson never claimed to have written the original version of the song that he borrowed from and he used that same song to create a new piece that I would argue furthered the arts of story telling and song writing.

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