Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On Music

I posted once, a while back, about how music tends to "bleed" through different cultures. Music, of course, is fairly universal and tends to get copied from one culture to the next. That's why I've heard zemiros sung to Simon and Garfunkel tunes, among other things.

Steg, in his comment to my point made the following comment:

One of the main points of my presentation was the oral nature of the musical culture; tunes enter into it, and once a few years go by, or the tune becomes popular and passed from person to person, no one has any idea who invented it or where the tune came from — it's all ya‘ni "halakha leMoshe miSinai". That's why you have, as you mentioned, people who would never listen to Simon and Garfunkel or the Beach Boys use their tunes for zemiros.

Of course, there was one aspect that I didn't count on when I thought of that post months ago - the aspect of outright copying. There are times that popular Jewish musicians will outright copy tunes from other, secular sources.

Considering that many chareidi people won't listen to any secular music since the music itself (even sans lyrics) can be metamem es ha-lev, I'm curious how many of them realize that a song that they've all heard many times at weddings is actually ripped off from a German pop-band of the 1980s. The song, specifically is Yidden, which seems to be de riguer at weddings these days. The tune originally came from a German pop band called Dschingis Khan, from their eponymous song. You can view the video for it here.

Will there be a call to ban the sale of Yidden tapes and CDs (and the playing of it at weddings)? Somehow, I don't think so...

The Wolf

22 comments:

Still wonderin said...

one of MBD's most haunting nigunim is a yiddish song thatis actually from josef and The Amazing Technocolr dreamcoat.

The song soulds like it was made to be sung in yiddish and unless you know the tune, you'd never know. I'm waiting for him to admit that.

BrooklynWolf said...

Which song is that? I'm fairly familiar with J&TATD.

The Wolf

Still wonderin' said...

Close Every Door

BrooklynWolf said...

I'm sorry, I should have been clearer. What I meant was "which MBD song?"

The Wolf

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Close Every Door is a beautiful song... and surprisingly Zionistic!

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I taught some yeshiva bochurs at somone else's Shabbos meal a few months ago to sing Deror Yiqra’ to "The Rose" by Bette Midler. I hope they don't mind ;-) (and don't realize).

Still wonderin' said...

"I'm sorry, I should have been clearer. What I meant was "which MBD song?"

Some yiddish tripe that i can't understand. I just call it "The song MBD ripped off from Andrew Lloyd Weber."

Ezzie said...

I didn't realize that one until we saw "Joseph" when I was a kid. Great song...

jdub said...

Yossi Piamenta took the song "Down Under" by Men at Work and turned it into "Asher bara" but he credits them in the liner notes and presumably pays royalties.

That video was horrific. Truly scary.

Still Wonderin' said...

"Yossi Piamenta took the song "Down Under" by Men at Work and turned it into "Asher bara" but he credits them in the liner notes and presumably pays royalties. "

I don't know if this is true, but if it is, kol hakavod. This is the point. It's OK, even artistic, to borrow. You just need to credit.

jdub said...

I know for a fact he credits it. I've seen the liner notes. I can only assume that someone as savvy as he is in the music biz is paying the royalties.

PsychoToddler said...

I really doubt he pays anyone royalties. Shlock Rock pays no royalties.

My Band recorded a song called "Don't Talk Loshon Hora" that has the tune from "I'll talk to you later" and we would credit the Tubes for it...if we had an album or liner notes.

BTW this whole "metamtem es ha leyv" is such utter crap that I can't believe people still say it.

All forms of Jewish music are similar to some type of secular music, whether it's gypsy music or opera or country or eastern european tavern music.

You mean to tell me that there is some magical combination of notes that will suddenly corrupt the listeners heart, whereas if I change a note or two, it can be kosher??

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Don't forget "Hoidu L'ashem Ki Tov, Ki leoilan Chasdo" to the tune of J. Geils Band's "Angel is a Centerfold" !

jdub said...

Duke Ellington: “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.”

I wonder if he meant "Jewish music" was "the other kind."

Some Guy said...

My pet theory: 90% of frummie Jewish music can be traced back to Billy Joel's "Half A Mile Away" (52nd Street). Listen to the intro of that song, and then tell me that's not where frummie music comes from.

Eeees said...

I haven't heard that one before, and I am a big Billy Joel fan. Is it possible to post a (legal!) link?

some guy said...

Well, Amazon has a short clip, but it leaves out the seminal opening. I'll see what I can find...

some guy said...

Hey, I put it here:
http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/~dfass/HalfaMileAway.mp3
I'll leave it there for a few days. Give a listen. It would make a good Asher Boro, I think.

BrooklynWolf said...

Wow! I never heard that particular Billy Joel tune, but you're 100% correct. The intro to that sounds like any frum record!

The Wolf

eeees said...

Introducing, for the first time, the chosson and kallah, Mr & Mrs Plagerized Tunes...

PsychoToddler said...

Nah, it's just because of the horns.

99% of Jewish Music is plagiarized from "Theme from S.W.A.T."

some guy said...

OK, psychotoddler, I like your theory better than my theory. What year was the SWAT theme recorded?