Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Song for Ariel

Eitan Katz composed a song in memory of Ariel Avrech, who he knew. Ariel's father, Robert, has posted the track, Haneshama Lach, on his weblog, Seraphic Secret.

Final Answer?

Yitz responds to Chaim's final response:
If Chaim gave up, Yitz hasn't. You see, Chaim responded to me on his own blog, the link is provided below. I understand he doesn't want to discuss this issue any further, and he has every right to do that. But similarly, I believe I have every right to respond to the points he raised in his "final" post.

Firstly, I mentioned other examples of musical plagiarism besides that of Chabad - MBD's use of Carlebach's "Tov Lehodos" as "V'Chol Ma'aminim" and Pirchei's outright theft of his "Eilecha."

To be very clear, I NEVER accused the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L of anything, nor do I intend to do so now. I am not a Lubavitcher [Moshichist or otherwise], nor am I a Lubavitch-basher, which Chaim seems to be so paranoid about. And I don't have a lack of respect for the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L, I think he was a great man, and many of us, myself included, owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to him for his spearheading the outreach movement in America in the 1950s with his first shaliach, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, who, together with Zalman Shacter, was sent to the college campuses, actually by the Rebbe Maharyatz. [And of course, this outreach movement was developed exponentially by the Rebbe ZT"L in the years that followed and spread throughout the world, and continues to this day].

The difference between the MBD, Yehuda!, Tzlil v'Zemer, etc. ripoffs of "secular music" and what Pirchei did to Reb Shlomo's "Eilecha," or the Chabad ripoff of the Vishnitz "V'hayu Limshisa" for their "Yifrach b'Yamav Tzaddik" is one of degree, not of kind. I cannot fathom how Chaim sees that stealing a song note-for-note, changing the words perhaps [for with Eilecha, even that wasn't done!] is different depending if the source is another Jew's musical composition or if it belonged originally to the goyim. Why even the famous "Chabad" tune, "Shamil," has its origins in a Ukranian peasant folksong! [See the liner notes to Andy Statman's "The Hidden Light" for more about this].

What do I mean by public perception? Simple. Chabad has an organization called "Nichoach - Niggunei Chassidei Chabad." They have put out numerous recordings of Chabad music. According to this website, , there are some 16 recordings. They average about 10 songs per recording, so we're talking about some 150 or so songs. If you look at some of the song listings, you will find the following: on "disk 2", there's "Niggun L'Rebbe Michel miZlotchov." Aha, credit is given! Disk 3 has "Kol baYa'ar", a niggun known to be from the Shpoler Zeidie, although I don't believe his name is mentioned. Same disk contains the previously mentioned Twerski tune, "Hoshia es Amecha." Disk 8, lo and behold, contains "Yifrach b'Yamav Tzaddik."

Now, Chaim, when they sang this tune at Lubavitch Farbrenghens, I have no right to claim that the Rebbe ZT"L, or anyone else, should have gotten up and announced, "Hey, Chevra, this is a Vishnitz niggun." Absolutely not. But - here's the rub - when you put out a recording of "Niggunei Chassidei Chabad," don't you think that THERE is the place to note that the niggun is a Vishnitz one? Come on, let's be honest and truthful here!

And one more thing, if there are so many ORIGINAL Chabad niggunim, why do they have to seek out tunes of others for the Rebbe's birthday niggun [which Yifrach b'Yamav was]? What's wrong with using a niggun from one of the Rebbes or Chabad Chassidim? [With all of this, I do NOT hold the Rebbe ZT"L responsible, but rather those individuals that run or work for Nichoach. And I can't believe that they bothered to ask the Rebbe if they should give credit for something, and that the Rebbe said, "No."]

No, I am not looking for Rebbes or Roshei Yeshiva to make announcements about who was the composer of each and every niggun they sing. But when you put out a recording, for gosh sakes, which purports to be of a SPECIFIC group's music, isn't it g'nveivas da'as NOT to mention that a particular tune comes from another group or individual [Carlebach]? And what about copyright laws and such - is every song, just because it became popular, allowed to be copied?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Chaim gives up


6/29/05 mini Link Dump

Jewschool has a Matisyahu/Rolling Stones mashup.

Here's Menachem Butler:"Berkeley and Wakarusa"

Here's a new CD packaging idea.

V'karasa Lsakrfys, "Oneg!"

The artist formerly known as Benny K'ton and Boruch Kohn of Oneg has a new project, Sakrfys, and has dropped his stage names.

Megadeath's got "The Beat"

Ben Bresky emails that he recently interviewed Megadeath's Dave Mustaine -- the band appeared at this year's Metalist festival near Tel Aviv. To listen to and download the full interview, go to and click on The Beat with Ben Bresky.

Here are some excerpts:
Israel National Radio: My first question is how did this all get set up?
How did you end up coming on the Metalist festival in Israel?

Dave Mustaine: Well, the way things happen is we have an international agent and he was contacted by Yuri the promoter here. Yuri contacted him and asked if we wanted to do this festival. I really wanted to play Israel for numerous reasons. My Mom was Jewish and I had been here a couple times, once working, once for personal reasons. I find the country to be
fantastic, the people to be amazing. The turmoil that's going on in some of the hot spots in some of the country don't scare me. Although it is frightening to think that life and safety are at risk, I know that what America sees on TV about Israel is not reality. The rest of the country here is so fantastic and beautiful and the people are so loving and passionate.

Israel National Radio: You have a song on the new album called Truth Be Told in which you talk about Cain and Abel and Osama bin Laden. That could be considered Israel oriented.

Dave Mustaine: Well I've mentioned Israel in songs before, in Holy Wars. Holy wars don't necessarily have to start in Israel. It can be anywhere. There are so many holy wars taking place in the world right now anyway. People are dying for a cause. It's so unbelievable. It's hard enough to live as it is right now with people dying from just aging and disease and everything that people would randomly kill innocent people for a cause. You know I read something in the Turkish newspaper today that they had sentenced some guy that was planning on blowing a plane up into the national monument of the person who had founded the Republic of Turkey. There was supposed to have been literality tens of thousands of people celebrating there and this guy was going to crash a plane there. I'm thinking, what makes people think like this? I mean, people, they'll live
and die for their causes. But to me, my life is much more easier. I love playing music. I love entertaining people. My whole thing is about bringing joy to people's life. I've been an angry man for a long time and I still get angry, but that's not one of the things that brings me happiness. I'm not happy being angry. I know that's a dichotomy, but you know what I'm saying.

Israel National Radio: Did you have any kind of Jewish upbringing?

Dave Mustaine: No. No I didn't. Although my Mom was Jewish, I didn't have any Jewish upbringing. I know a little bit about it. I'm a Christian. I've learned a lot about the history of the country. When I came here for my vacation, I got to see a lot of the country that, you know, goys just don't see. I mean, for me to come through here and be able to go in and see some of the private stuff that you can only see with a military pass, was fantastic for me.

Credit Fraud

E writes:
Another miscredit I can't stand, is on the cassette of Miami Experience 3, it actually says in plain English that "Modim" on the album is preformed and COMPOSED by Yehuda! which just is not true, as everyone knows the song is by Martin Davidson.

Of course, theres always Eli Gerstner's trademark "Lecha Dodi" with its dramatic and identifiable intro music; the chorus of "Everlasting Love."

Yet more...

Yitz responds to Chaim (see previous post):
"Whoever quotes something in the name of its original speaker, brings Redemption to the World." [Megilla, 15a]. This is the issue I'd like to discuss.

It seems that we're not communicating here. I was not accusing the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zt"l of anything, as I don't view him as the responsible for the public's perception of who composed which niggun.

Some of the earliest recorded Jewish music was that of Modzitz [1956 - first Melave Malka album], Shlomo Carlebach [1959, HaNeshama Lach - Songs of My Soul] and Chabad [I don't know which year their first album appeared]. The Modzitz albums, to my knowledge, always contained copious liner notes as to which Rebbe composed which niggun, in which year, and a brief description of the niggun.

Regarding R. Shlomo Carlebach, let me share the following quote with you: "Basically, I only have the right to sing my own melodies. But I want you to know that there is something which is so deep in my heart: 'cause when the old Modzitzer Rebbe came to America the first time – I think it was 1940 or 1941 – he came via Siberia, and my brother and I, we were little kids. We were walking Friday night, and this is the first niggun I heard him sing. It got so deep in my heart, and it's clear to me in my heart, that if I have anything to do with singing or even have the privilege of making up a song, it's only because of Modzitz." - [from the "Shabbos in Shomayim" recording, Tape 2, Side B, Track 2]

My understanding is that Chabad, on their album liner notes and in their Sefer HaNiggunim, also credited the composers of many of the niggunim, whether it be one of the Rebbes of Lubavitch, or a Chassid like R. Hillel Paritcher, etc. I know that "Hoshia es Amecha" was never credited to Rav Avraham Twerski, because decades later, people were asking me who composed it, and I didn't know either. I asked a number of people, one friend told me it was Rav Twerski, but I did not stop there. I called Rav Mottel Twerski, R. Avraham's nephew, who told me that his uncle did indeed compose it. Rav Mottel did tell me that on the album it was noted that the niggun did not originate in Chabad.

Furthermore, on a double-cassette album called "The Precise Melodies of Chabad Rebbes," the following is noted: [the brackets contain my translation of Hebrew words that were left out of the English notes]. "Among hundreds and thousands of Chassidic melodies, there are unique [and holy] ones which were composed by the Rebbes themselves, or which the Rebbes chose and made their own. These are the 'Niggunim Mechuvanim - Precise Melodies.' Every detail of such a melody is exact and purposeful [relating to the Upper Spiritual Worlds]. Niggunim Mechuvanim reveal the highest levels of the soul in which every Jew is constantly connected to G-d." It seems to me that when they want to, Chabad can be very "precise" about niggunim.

I would be very happy for Chaim to show me and this blog how Reb Shlomo Carlebach "took an old Chabad or Russian Niggun and uncredited the original author." I can also testify that when Reb Shlomo sang melodies of others, he preceded them with: "This is not my niggun - it's from the Holy Rebbe Levi Yitzchak Barditchever", etc. This, too, we have recorded evidence for.

What happened "baal peh" between Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn and Reb Shlomo Carlebach, I doubt if any of us will ever know.

My point here, though, is one of public perception. How many people know that the "Chabad" tune for "We Want Moshiach Now," was actually composed by Reb Shlomo as "Mkimi," or that "Yifrach b'Yamav Tzaddik" was originally a Vishnitz niggun? The basic perception is that unless credit is given in some form, of which "liner notes" is only one example, the niggun is that of the singer's or at least the group he belongs to or represents.

I'm still wondering if anyone has an answer for me regarding the Chabad rikud tune which can be found here:

Some of my Modzitz colleagues maintain that Rebbe Shaul Yedidya Elazar of Modzitz, who was known to have only sung Modzitz niggunim [his own, his father's and his son's], sang it. I've even heard that he "gave" it as a present to Lubavitch when 770 opened. Can anyone confirm this?

Still More Reader Emails On Plagiarism

Velvel emails:
Borrowing a few bars, is often a wink to the audience, and done in the spirit of tribute. I see this very often in secular music, too.

Also, look at recent versions of Jewish wedding songs that have intros taken directly from popular "oldies" songs and TV show theme songs. The band leaders can't possibly think that they can pass these intros off as their own.
Chaim responds to Yitz:
To try to compound Chassidic Niggunim to "liner notes on an album" is completely wrong. The Rebbe did not sit in a studio with Larry Gates and think of thank you notes and credits to "Chabad Albums"

If you're accusing The Rebbe of "un crediting Shlomo Carlebach" I think you're off base. How do you even know it went one way or the other, maybe Shlomo Carlebach took an old Chabad or Russian Niggun and uncredited the original author. Who decided as wonderful as Shlomo was, who decided everything he composed was fully original. If your giving Shlomo that benefit of the doubt, wouldn't it be kind to at least extend the same basic credit to The Rebbe that at some point he did give credit, or ask permission from Shlomo?

Despite that, Chassidic Niggunim, or any Rebbe'ish or Religious Niggunim are still on a completely different level than the Chasidic Pop/MBD types ripping off Non Jewish Music and serving it up as their own.
E writes:
In all this plagiarism talk, no one mentioned one of my favs, the "Od Yishama" on Dveykus 2, note for note a copy of "WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A DRUNKEN SAILOR?"
E also writes:
Another thing I can't stand is the selective sanctification of certain songs. "Baruch Hagever" was sung for years by various Modern Orthodox groups but was only first "sanctified" when Aaron Teitelbaum put it on a Dedi album and suddenly the yeshivishe velt (ruling party of Jewish Music) had it on their radar (with its new note for note copy addition of the love theme from Flashdance and Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" with the words 'Yimloch Hashem' as the intro song and opener to the "Baruch Hagever Medley" listed on the Dedi album as "traditional", while all the other songs have composers credited). This is on the same album that credits an Abba song as "nigun mbeit abba."

Another sanctification example is the classic "Lo Alecha Hamlacha Ligmor" a song hugely popular for many years in all camps and youth group circles except the yeshivish, due to the tune's association with the non orthodox movements (see here for some song history ) something which has suddenly changed now that it appears on a recent "acapella" recording by Lev Tahor.

One thing I might add, since I have played the "where is that song really from" for many years is an example that really gets my goat. I'll never forget attending the Miami Experience 4 on Chol Hamoed Pesach and spending half the night wracking my brain attempting to figure out where the dramatic introduction to the famous "Shiru Lo opener" was copied from. It was not until Chanukah time, when the album release enabled me to hear it again, that I suddenly realized that the music Yerachmiel Begun used was the same exact tune and intrumentation copied (albeit lengthened and over dramatized) from the theme music "The Emissary " to the prime time television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from the mid 90's, composed by Dennis McCarthy.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Haintige Gedolim


More Reader Comments On Plagiarism

Yitz responds to Chaim.
"Basically unconfirmed"? Could Chaim please show me the liner notes on the Chabad albums where credit is given to either Rav Avraham Twerski, or R. Shlomo Carlebach, or the other sources I've mentioned?

It's very nice that the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l credited the French National anthem to his adaptation of Ha'aderes v'Emuna - but let's face it, EVERYONE knows that tune, and that the Rebbe Zt"l didn't compose it!!! The closest Chabad came to giving credit was on "Hoshia es Amecha" they wrote that it wasn't their niggun.

As to his other comment about Jewish music originating from "villages in the old country," I don't claim to be an expert, but I believe there's a difference from INFLUENCE to completely adapting a tune, or a major part of a whole song, which is basically plagiarism. To this, let me quote from someone a bit more expert than I, R. Velvel Pasternak:

"As with most Hassidic music born in Europe, many of these melodic motifs were influenced by the music of the surrounding culture. The Rabbis of Modzitz were however, able to weave a distinctive musical and Judaic fabric into their compositions of dances, marches, waltzes and extended niggunim..."

"The second Modzitzer Rebbe [Rebbe Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub zt"l] was, in a true sense, a composer. His niggunim were not merely the simplistic folk-type melodies of many of his predecessors. A number of them were intricate, musically structured, and quite lengthy. He thought in terms of instrumental colorations and often suggested that accompaniment of strings, winds and horns would enhance his niggunim." -- [The Music of Modzitz, pp. 7, 18]
He also writes:
Another thought about "musical influence." I was intrigued by the comparison of the intro to the S & G "El Condor Pasa" to Carlebach's "Kvakoras" in Samuel Katz's post. Has anyone noticed a similarity between the second part of Carlebach's "Barcheinu Avinu" and the second part of the famous song from "The King and I" - "Just Whistle a Happy Tune"? I noticed this when I listened to Musa Berlin's recording of the Carlebach tune, without the words...

"Yet Another" writes:
A few thoughts regarding the recent discussion of plagiarism in Jewish music:

1) Taking an entire secular song, note for note, giving it Jewish lyrics and passing it off as your own original (see: MBD) is reprehensible plagiarism. It's also pretty low to trick those who avoid "tumadik" music (whatever that means) by giving them "tumadik" music disguised as Jewish.

1a) Another infamous example: Tzlil V'Zemer "Let Us Grow" is The Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin".

2) Taking a folk song and transforming it into a Jewish niggun (see: old chassidish niggunim) is different from 1 above because a) it's based on a folk song, which is public domain and intended to evolve; as opposed to a pop song under copyright; and b) has a level of genuine spiritual uplift missing from 1 above.

3) Taking an entire secular song and giving it parody lyrics (see: Uncle Moishy) is called filking (look it up) and is very common. There is no claim that the song is original, therefore it's not gnaivas daas as in 1 above.

4) Borrowing a few bars, whether consciously or subconsciously, is extremely common in songwriting and AFAIK isn't usually considered plagiarism.

5) As for Andrew Lloyd Webber, well, this article is an interesting addition to the discussion: The New Yorker: Fact He's notorious for borrowing, especially from his own stuff :).

Now, when are you going to enable comments on your blog :)?
I'd started writing a post on these distinctions, but YA makes the point well. I do disagree with #4 though. Borrowing a few bars consciously is definitely plagiarism. If it done subconciously, I'd not fault the composer, but the courts have pretty consistently held that the rights to the song -- and any royalties earned -- should belong to the original composer.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Challah Back's blog, The Yiddish Invasion,picks up our discussion of plagiarism in JM. They don't have permalinks, though, so you'll need to scroll down.

And speaking of "borrowed" music, was the intro to "Stairway to Heaven" lifted from "Jewish" music?

Ghost Notes

Here's the Pac Man Electric Guitar

Joseph and the Borrowed Technicholor Dreamcoat.

Psachya Septimus writes:
Who really wrote that song - you don't really want to open this one up, do you?
In lieu of sending a REALLY long e-mail, I'll just give one example. There are three separate Jewish songs that were "borrowed", in whole or in part, from the musical "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
1) The coda ("coata?") of "Coat of Many Colors" - you know, the part that goes "Red & blue & yellow & pink & orange & chartreuse & etc, - was inserted by Uncle Moishy into a song about the "colors of Hashem".
2) The first bars of the chorus of "Those Canaan Days" are also the first bars of Miami Boys' Meheira (yes, THAT Meheira!).
3) "Close Every Door" was taken note for note by MBD, given Yiddish words, renamed "Lichtiger Shabbos", and can be heard on his "Just One Shabbos" album.
Re the last one - I remember playing a wedding where the guy under the chupa decided to sing "Mi Ban Siach" to the tune of "Lichtiger Shabbos". He did, too - giving it the full Yeshivish kvetch-&-shuckle treatment. I couldn't help wondering what Mr. Lloyd Webber would have thought of the performance.
I'm sure we'd all love to see that "really long e-mail."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

That's Finale!

In response to my Sibelius post yesterday, Finale has announced a new upgrade, Finale 2006. Create Digital Music comments.

Takana Musings

A few of this season's gigs have inspired the following takana-related musings.

1) Is an affair considered "takana compliant" with regard to music if the "Jewish" band (one of three) consists of five musicians or less?
2) Does it make a difference if the American band leaves the stage for the hora set?
3) Does the string section need to leave the stage too, or can they just take a break?
4) How about if the American band mimes along with the Jewish band?
5) What about if the American band knows some of the tunes and plays along for only those songs?
6) How about if the second band is a "shtick band" like a steel drum band, bagpipes, or mariachis?
7) What if each band has five musicians or less and they don't play at the same time?
8) Even if all of these cases are deemed non-compliant, can one of the takana signators attend only the part of the affair where the "takana compliant" Jewish band is playing?

(We should note that the last question is moot because, based on personal observation, many of the signators DO attend non-compliant weddings.)

We Want Credit Now!

Chaim writes in response to Yitz:
While I'm the first to call people out on anything to do with lying, I don't know if I feel comfortable with the blanket statements from Yitz regarding who did or didn't give credit. What he is writing is basically unconfirmed. I do know that the Lubavitcher Rebbe turned the old French National Anthem into Hoaderes V'Emunah that was/is very popular at times like Hakofas Simchas Torah time. As far as I remember he DID credit it. And it's commonly known in Chabad that the Rebbe felt very strongly about the ability to take something non spiritual and turn it into something holy. I can not tell you if Shlomo Carlebach was ever credited for We Want Moshiach Now, but does that really fall in the same category as your run of the mill Chasidic Pop singer note for note taking a non Jewish song and trying to pass it off as holier than thou "Kosher Music" ?

If you want, you can take plagiarism even further as practically all Niggunim have some origins from music that was popular in the villages in the old country that these rebbei'm lived. It's a new shtus today, that they think Jewish Music has to be some sort of heavenly divined inspiration that came to you while you were on your digital keyboard still in tallis and tefilin.

Downloading Musings

Hirhurim on downloading music.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sibelius vs. Finale (for A.G.)

A few months back, I wrote about my frustration with Finale, the music engraving software I'd been using. I wrote that I’d been considering Sibelius, a competing program that I’d heard nice things about.

After downloading the demo and fooling around for a bit, I recently decided to try the program. I bought the competitive upgrade from J&R for just under $150. At that price point, it wasn’t much of an investment when compared to the cost of Finale’s frequent pricey upgrades. I haven’t had much time to play around with Sibelius yet. So these are my initial impressions.

This is one smooth program!

Here are my thoughts as they relate to the specific issues I noted in that post.
Their GUI is terrible; it's not intuitive, and certain functions are either hidden, or are much more complicated to use than they ought to be.
I’m finding Sibelius’ GUI intuitive and easy to use. The numeric keypad navigation is easy to use, the one-key shortcuts are great, and it’s much simpler to do many of the things I need in fewer steps.
Many of their features simply don't work as advertised. One example, a number of years back, I upgraded to their new version, which promised the ability to scan directly into Finale. The function simply didn't work even on simple lead sheets that had originally been notated in Finale. I met the developer of that software --it was licensed from Smartscore -- and he told me flat out that it didn't work well.
I haven’t tried to use the scan any sheet music yet, but I have been able to open Finale files easily. Sibelius didn’t recognize some of the layout or text info in the file I opened, but it was quite easy to make those changes.
Their MIDI functionality is often sketchy and frequently doesn't work.
I’ve had no trouble so far with Sibelius’ MIDI functionality. Additionally, Kontakt Player Silver, the sample playback software included with Sibelius is far superior to Finale’s playback.
Hyperscribe often doesn't accurately play back edits made to existing notation.
“Flexi-time” input seems more accurate than Finale’s “Hyperscribe” and playback reflects edits made to existing notation.
New versions of Finale are not backwards compatible by design. This means that if I'm working on a project with someone else where we are sharing files, and one of us upgrades, the other has to upgrade as well in order to open files created on the newer version.
Sibelius 3 allows users to save files in Sibelius 2 format. This kind of backwards compatibility is useful if you’re working with someone else on a project and either of you upgrades. Once, I upgraded Finale while I was working on a collaborative project and the person I was working with was unable to open my files. I couldn’t even resave the new files in the earlier version of Finale I had.

Here are some of the random things I’ve noticed:

1) The manual is well written and is easy to understand. The writer injects humor throughout which is a nice touch. It is well-organized and I’ve had no trouble locating information.

I find it harder to find things in Finale’s manual, and it’s not written as clearly. Also, Finale has stopped including manuals with their upgrades, which is a huge nuisance, especially when they add new features/functions that didn’t exist in previous versions.

2) The GUI is set up so that, unlike Finale, you don’t have to keep switching tools to do different actions.

3) The global edit feature seems much easier to use. (i.e. enlarging all chord symbols.) Ditto the setting up/importing house styles.

4) It’s much easier to adjust 1st and 2nd endings

5) The screen redraws accurately and quickly throughout. Finale’s response is sluggish.

6) I don’t get “out of margin” messages when I print. (This may just be a Finale glitch with my printer driver.)

7) Inserting dashed barlines is much easier.

8) Rulers move with you --adjusting in real time -- making it much easier to adjust page layouts.

9) Creating instructionsand symbols like D.S. is much easier.

10) The defaults for many items are musically intuitive. For instance, in Finale, the default setting for rehearsal markings is in the middle of the bar. Since rehearsal markings are not supposed to be on the staff, having them appear there is silly. Sibelius places them above the bar in a logical place. (You can edit these preferences in Finale, but it shouldn’t be necessary.)

11) I’ve been able to duplicate my Finale layouts/fonts easily in Sibelius. In fact, I think the Sibelius versions look slightly sharper. Sibelius’ Inkpen font seems to be a bit crisper than Finale’s Jazz font.

12) Chord symbols stay even if you delete the note they’re attached to.

13) The opening window let’s you easily choose a recent file via a drop down menu.

14) Sibelius recognizes repeat signs during playback of a score and plays them. There’s a way to make Finale do this too, but it’s a hassle.

15) I’m not missing the annoying save prompt Finale always opens when I open a file to view it prior to printing it and haven’t made any changes.

I’ll try to post an update when I’ve had a chance to spend some more time with Sibelius.

Clarinet teacher?

It's help a reader day here at Blog in Dm.

A reader writes:
I'm looking into learning how to play the clarinet - just for personal pleasure mind you. And I don't have the foggiest idea where to find a teacher. Do you have any suggestions? I would need a female teacher who could teach me in the evenings after work or on Sundays during the day. Also it would need to be someone who understands that while I understand the rudiments of reading music (took some flute in grade school and was in choir through high school), I am basically a beginner. I would need someone in Manhattan or Brooklyn. It doesn't have to be someone frum - although it would be helpful.

Kumi Roni

A Simple Jew is looking for info on the origin of the melody "Kumi Roni."

More reader email...

Here are some recent emails.

E writes that:
You'd have to have at least to categories - Jews who rip off the entertainment world and Jews who rip off other Jews!

Then even subdivide it for the self righteous who bash others but justify when they do it.
(this past years's HASC circus is a prime example of that illness).

Yitz writes:
Regarding your topic of "musical plagiarism," the following, although perhaps well-known, should be noted:

Firstly, unlike almost anyone else, both Modzitz and Carlebach rarely sang anything but their own niggunim. When they did so/ do so, they note this fact. Yes, Carlebach was known to sing some black American "spirituals", some niggunim of his talmidim as well as others that he wanted to promote, and of course, from earlier Chassidim, particularly Modzitz. Perhaps less known is that the Yiddish niggun "Gevalt sh' Brider" that he sang on an early recording was NOT his, but from Chassidim - some say Erlau. His early recordings were clearly influenced, in the main, by Modzitz.

The Baruch Keil Elyon of Modzitz that you refer to, was recorded by R. Ben Zion Shenker as "HaKol Yoducha." It was composed by a Chassid, R. Yechezkel of Tariv in 5680 [1920]. Apparently, it was intended for Baruch Keil Elyon, but when the song was heard in Yeshivos [R. Ben Zion attended Torah v'Daas], one of the middle parts was "adapted" so that it could be sung more easily.

Back to plagiarism: Chabad, with their shlichim world-wide, have often "adopted" niggunim of others for their own purposes. Unfortunately, it's rare that credit was given to the original composer. Some examples: "Hoshia es Amecha" was composed by Rav Avraham Twerski, who 'hung around' Crown Heights in the 1950's. "Yifrach b'Yamav Tzaddik" was taken from a Vishnitz "V'hayu Limshisa;" R. Shlomo's Carlebach's "Mkimi" became "We Want Moshiach Now," and his "Yismechu b'Malchus'cha" became "Ad Masai" to Chabad Chassidim. Most interestingly, their famous "Bcha Hashem Chasisi" was actually a mixture of a Bobov niggun [by the Rebbe Ben Zion], and the Modzitz "Kakasuv" sung at Melave Malka. I could go on & on here.

Two other notable thefts were the Pirchei grab at R. Shlomo Carlebach's "Eilecha" without ever giving him credit. Apparently, he refused to sing it for years after that. Also, MBD took Reb Shlomo's "Tov Lehodos" and put it out as "V'Chol Ma'aminim," again, without an ounce of credit.

Finally, perhaps you or one of your readers can identify the source of this niggun:

It is known as a Chabad Rikud [dance niggun], but some Modzitzers have told me that Rebbe Shaul of Modzitz composed it and "gave" it to Chabad when 770 opened. Others have heard it sung in the Kotzker Shtibel in Poland [pre-war]. Still others attribute to Karlin, and some, to early Chabad, perhaps even the Ba'al HaTanya. The composer of this niggun is not identified, neither in the original notes to the record, nor in the Chabad "Sefer HaNiggunim."

I could probably go on and on with this, but this is enough for now. Looking for any & all feedback.
Samuel Katz writes:
I'm sure I'm not the first person to raise this, but listen to the similarity between Carlebach's Kvakoras and the intro to Simon and Garfunkel's El Condor Pasa (which I guess is an old song, but I don't know whether Simon added that intro or not).
Judging by the numerous responses to the plagiarism posts, it's clearly time to play "Who Really Wrote That Song!" Send in your entries.

6/22/05 Link Dump

Treppenwitz is blogging Arkady.

Velvel has written a thoughtful essay on Matisyahu's performing during the Three Weeks

Avraham Bronstein reports that the music played for the recessional at TAG's H.S. graduation was "Od Yishoma."

Finally, here are Hilarious Trumpet Bloopers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Who Wrote That Tune?

Dov Levine writes in response to this post:
D Blank wrote: Also I think that the song Shir Hashalom on MBD's Neshama album sounds like "Top of the world" by The Carpenters.

It's not; it's actually, the old Bobby Vinton hit, "Melody of Love," note for note.
Years ago, I played a gig at on of the Catskills hotels, When I got back to the room, the TV could only pick up one channel showing a Polka contest and the band was playing the Vinton tune.

I think it may be time to play a round of "Who Really Wrote That Tune?"

Monday, June 20, 2005

Umacha/Snows of New York

Menachem Tannen writes:
I saw that the plagiarism in Jewish music issue was brought up again - so I thought I'd add my 2 cents. I recently heard a song on the radio called "Snows Of New York" by Chris DeBurgh (Lady In Red) and could not believe how it had been ripped off, almost note-for-note, by Yehuda! in 'his' song Umacha. It's quite unbelievable.

OMG, Chris DeBurgh ripped off Yehuda! [/sarcasm]

Listen to a short clip of the song here.

From the mailbag...

Jordan Hirsch writes in response to this post:
The lick Shmiel refers to was perhaps intuited by him, but was around forever, and I remember playing it that way at NCSY events before Shmiel played at YU. It might be worthwhile checking out the old Shema Koleinu record. Shmiel has a sensitive ear for corruption, and one he did not mention was what he once suggested was an adaptation of a Boruch Keil Elyon on a Modzitz album which morphed into the slow version popular in some circles today.

I agree with him about the Od Yishoma change, but for the record, I still play it the old way. Of course, my style owes more to old records of Morty Bass than to some of the other trumpet heroes of today, but, like Shmiel, I am something of a throwback.

If you listen to Neshoma Yeseira, A Heimisha Simcha, not only did Elly Zomick insist on playing the second half the old way, but in the first part of the song, the first two notes are not dotted eighth and sixteenth, as is commonly played and sung, but two straight eighth notes.

Two quotes on Folk Music: My father told me that he heard Leadbelly asked, "What is Folk Music?" Leadybelly responded, "Music that Folks sit and sing." And Louis Armstrong on the same question: " All music is Folk Music. I never heard no horse sing."
Adam Davis contributes a crowd estimate for the Concert in the Park after the Israel Day Parade:
It was hard to tell how many attended- it was so hot that many people gathering under the trees lining the
meadow to keep cool. Many stayed away altogteher. At its height, there were probably between 3-4500 people there. That's just an estimate. The first hour and a half there were under 1,000.
We'd noted some other folks' numbers in "Numbers Game."

D Blank writes:
I came across your blog during a google search and whilst reading the paragraph entitled "More on Plageurism" in the July 2003 archives (ancient I know) I noticed you mentioned the Close every door copy on one of MBD's albums. I happen to be a huge fan of his and you said you were unsure of the album which the song came from. So just for your information it is Track 7 Lechtiger Shabbos on the Just one Shabbos album (one of his finest I think).

Also I think that the song Shir Hashalom on MBD's Neshama album sounds like "Top of the world" by The Carpenters.

J-Post review

The Jerusalem Post reviews Ari Goldwag's "Simcha B'libi."

Friday, June 10, 2005

6/10/05 Link Dump

Here's Ingeleraz on being quoted in the Jewish Week.

LIFE-of-RUBIN fisks a Hamodia ad.

Spirit Magazine has an article on Avraham Fried.

Izzy Greenspan disses Kenny G. What a wonderful world!

Finally, this week's Downtown Music Gallery newsletter describes Frank London's latest.
FRANK LONDON - Hazonos (Tzadik 8102) More beautiful and evocative arrangements of Jewish liturgical music from the ever-creative and indefatigable mind of Frank London, one of the most important musicians out of the New Jewish Renaissance. Frank's distinctive trumpet has never sounded more lyrical, and is accompanied here by the sparkling rhythm section of Anthony Coleman, David Chevan and Gerald Cleaver. Joining Frank on several tracks is chazzan Jacob Mendelson, whose soaring voice gives a unique spiritual quality to what is perhaps Frank's greatest and most passionate recording to date.

Sabeinu Help

My post about "Sabeinu", received a lot of responses. Thanks to all who took the time to write.

Here are some of the comments I received.

Tuvya Stern wrote:
He niggun “Sabeinu” is not originally Breslov, but it came to be sung by Breslover Chasidim Friday night after davening. The most accurate version you’ll find is on “Azamer Bishvochin”, put out by the Breslov Research Institute:

BRI put out a song book which has some more information about the niggunim on the tape, including, I believe, Sabenu:

In any case, the interjections Tatte and Foter are as much a part of the song as the Hebrew words. EVERYONE sings it that way.

On Shabbos Chol Hamoed and a Shabbos that falls out after a Yom Tov, a different Sabenu tune is sung.

In terms of accuracy, Meditations is not the most authentic of Breslov tapes. The most accurate, of course, are internal Breslov recordings that don’t make their way to the stores. After that, Andy Statman’s is pretty close, as are the BRI ones.

Do you know who Chilik Frank is by the way? He plays clarinet on Lag Baomer in Meron as well as at the famous Reb Arele Simchas Beis Hashoeva.
Shmiel Ramras wrote in with the page info for the song in one of the Pasternack books. (It's the melody titled "V'taher Libenu" in book #2, Nigun #49, p.67.) He also wrote:
FWIW i find it always very interesting how nigunim evolve differently in EY and CHuL, especially if there aren't any "makori" recordings....I guess thats why its folk goes how the folks sing it.

How many "corruptions" are we all responsible for....Lets see.... theres the ending of Shenkers Eshes Chayil that should be on the Freygush tonic that is almost universally resolved to the minor(treating the freygush tonic as the dominant..oh so western...feh)....theres the B part of Od Yishama that used to go Bflat,F,Bflat,C, in Eighths followed by two Quarter not D's, Now it's sycopated down from the F (I am almost sure that was Solly Eidlin of the old Stanley Miller bands doing)
I made up the Fill that gets played to Al HaNisim at YU one Purim....Marty laskin Picked it its part of the tune and gets played evvvvrrrrryyyyy chorus :-) by evvvrrrrybody...Nu Nu thats how it goes...
I've been meaning to write on the evolution of nigunim. Hopefully at some point, I'll find the time to post on it.

Not Shlock At All

Hirhurim has discovered Jewish rap.
My only thought is... There is such a thing as combining Torah with contemporary culture, but hanging out in bars and clubs is not something an Orthodoxobservant (of any denomination) Jew should be doing. Peritzus, leitzanus, nivul peh, not to mention drugs and alcohol. Come on, guys. Get yourselves to a beis midrash, drop your ghetto slang and stop pretending that doing "shlock rock" to whatever music is currently hip is some sort of mitzvah. There is no kiddush Hashem in being more Britney than Britney (or whichever musician is cool nowadays).
I assume that R' Gil isn't actually referring to the band, "Shlock Rock", whose typical venue is a Day School, JCC, or Shul. I've played for many kiruv organizations and events, including ones where Lenny Solomon performed, where Shlock Rock's music impacted both children and teens deeply. In my opinion, Lenny Solomon, deserves a lot of credit for his Kiruv work.

Here's an illustrative comment Ari Khan left on Gil's post.
I first met Lenny Solomon from Shlock Rock around ten years ago when we were both visiting South Africa and “performed” at the same shabbaton. I had delivered a host of shiurim – I would like to believe with a modicum of success. After Shabbat Lenny preformed and blew the people away, especially though not exclusively, the teenagers.
I knew that music is a powerful medium but that moment crystallized in my mind the value that music possesses in outreach work (and perhaps “in-reach” as well).
Lenny has a number of Rap hits in his repertoire of shlock rock. The truth is he speaks to kids better than many Rabbiem in many Beis Hamedrish. He probably has impacted and has been mikarev more people than most outreach professionals (and I say this from a perspective of 17 years of outreach experience).
Update: R'Gil emails:
No, I meant nothing against Shlock Rock or anyone doing kiruv. My point was about glorifying an immoral culture and putting oneself in spiritually dangerous, and probably forbidden, places like clubs and bars. To my knowledge, Shlock Rock doesn't do that.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Numbers Game

So, how many people attended the Concert in the Park? The Jewish Week reports:
Two police officers estimated about 1,000 in attendance, while event organizer Joseph Frager estimated the crowd at 10,000. Frager had said he hoped for 25,000, but added “this was the liveliest crowd we’ve ever had.”

Brother, Can You Spare A Tune?

The Jewish Week has a pair of letters commenting on the Jonathan Mark column we noted last week.
‘Hatikvah’ Origins
“Hatikvah” may have come from Smetana, but I don’t think Smetana got it from a Romanian folk song (Media Watch, June 3). It was a Swedish folk song named “Ack Varmeland Du Skona.”

Fair Lawn, N.J.
Eugene Tarnow

Borrowed Songs
Jonathan Mark is correct in suggesting that other songwriters besides Naomi Shemer borrowed melodies not original with them (Media Watch, June 3). Mark mentions Woody Guthrie (whose “This Lind Is Your Land” used a Carter Family song that was in turn based on a Baptist hymn), but he also could have cited Bob Dylan (who rarely acknowledged the sources of songs he then copyrighted); George Gershwin (who also without acknowledgment borrowed Jewish prayer melodies for a couple of his songs); Israel Nadjara (who “intended” his zemirot, Sabbath table hymns, to be sung to popular and folk melodies of the day); and perhaps even the author of some of the Psalms.

Mark is not quite correct, however, in asserting that “Israel’s national anthem, ‘Hatikvah,’ was admittedly inspired by ‘The Moldau,’ a Czech symphony inspired by a Romanian folk song.” First, Israel has no official national anthem, although “Hatikvah” is its unofficial one. And it is not clear who exactly has done the “admitting.” But in any case, “Hatikvah” was, according to our best available scholarship, set (by one Samuel Cohen) to a melody based on the Moldavian-Romanian folk song “Carul cu Boi” (Cart and Oxen). That “wandering melody,” as folk music historians call it, appears in the music of many other cultures and origins, including Smetana’s “The Moldau,” Sephardic liturgy and even a Mozart sonata.

Borrowing melodies is ubiquitous in folk, popular and religious music, and we Jews have been expert borrowers, intent on elevating and sanctifying whatever appeals to us spiritually in the cultures in which we have lived.

Robert Cohen
Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

Jewish Tango

The Forward has an article on the Jewish Tango.

Free Beethoven -- All Nine Symphonies

In conjunction with a Beethoven series, the BBC is offering free downloads of performances of all nine Beethoven symphonies. All the symphonies are performed by BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
You can download the performances for free here. The downloads will be available for one week after broadcast starting from June 7 till June 30. The first track will be removed Monday and they'll be removing one per day after that.

50 Shekel Update

Bangitout vs. Jewschool.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"Bluish" Music

LIFE-of-RUBIN reviews the new Blue Fringe CD. I've only heard two tracks, "Av Harachamim and Lo Ira", but judging by them the band has definitely matured musically.

Need Help With A Breslover Nigun - UPDATED!

I'm looking for help tracing a Breslover melody. The tune I'm investigating is called "Sabeinu."

I have two recordings of somewhat similar melodies and I've heard both called "Sabeinu." The first is version is on Meditations of The Heart Vol.1, which features vocalist Alon Michael and pianist Israel Edelson. On this recording, the melody is sung slowly and has four sections (The form is ABCB). I'm pretty sure I've heard this version performed as a fast dance tune too. The liner notes have no indication of the song's provenance other than that it is a Breslover nigun.

Amazon has the Edelson recording here:

The other version I have is on a Chilik Frank album titled "Chilik Frank." (I reviewed that album here.) On this album, the track (which is played instrumentally) is titled "Rikud Brelov Aliz" amd has three sections. The liner notes explain that the song is well-known throughout the Chassidic world and is used in shul on Friday Nights for "Lo Sevoshi" as well as for the Zemiros "Menucha V'simcha" and "Shir Hama'alos." I have a lead sheet of the melody that is very similar to this version that gives the tune's title as "Zingboim's Nigun."

The differences between the two versions are as follows:
1) The Edelson version has four sections while the Frank/Zingboim version has three sections.
2) The musical phrase in bars 1&2 and bars 4&5 of the A section are very similar with slight variations in the phrasing, but the other parts of the A section are not.
3) The B sections are distinct with no similarities between the versions.
4) The C section in the Edelson version is a distinct section.
5) The fourth section of the Edelson version and the third section of the Frank/Zingboim version are virtually identical with only slight phrasing differences on the first two bars of the section.

Additionally, on the Frank recording, only the last 4 bars of the B section repeat, but on the Zingboim chart I have, the entire B is repeated.

If you have any information please let me know. Thanks.

I've found another track, "Rikud Sochef", on the same Frank album referenced above that does have the same melody as the Edelson version, but played as a freilach. The liner notes state that the tune is attributed to Rav Nachman of Breslov. It is sung in Breslover shuls on Friday night after davening with the words "Sabeinu etc." It's interesting to note that the lyrics add the words "tatte" and "futter" (both Yiddish for father) into the Hebrew text as follows. "V'taher libenu tatte, v'taher libenu futter, v'taher..." The only audio clip I've been able to find on line, performed by Rabbi David Zeller, has those lyrics, which I'd assumed were his own interjections. Apparently, though, that's the way the tune is usually sung.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Guess Who's Afraid of the Record Labels!

Is George Lucas afraid of the dark side?
The popular Star Wars Galaxies multiplayer game has an artificial limitation that has had players grumbling since its introduction in 2003: the alien musicians in a virtual cantina cannot be programmed to play original music, or any music other than 10 preset songs. Why would such a limitation exist in an otherwise sophisticated game? Because LucasArts is terrified of being sued by insanely controlling labels if a user puts a copyrighted melody in the hands of a virtual alien fictional character. There is no licensing analog in the online world to the royalty collection mechanisms in place in offline cantinas. And in this loony environment of hair-trigger lawsuits, LucasArts just doesn’t want the potential hassle.

Back From The Dead

Jewschool has the low-down on 50 Shekel's new Hebrew-Christian messianic shpiel.Memo to Jewish organizations: steer clear of this one!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Best Poster At Yesterday's Parade

Attended the Salute to Israel Parade yesterday.Not much to report musically. Needed to note the Columbia student whose poster announced "Columbia MEALAC supports Israel!"

Ilan, Ilan

The Jerusalem Post reports on today's world premiere of "Ilan, Ilan, How Will I Bless You?", a musical tribute to the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, that was composed by Elli Jaffe.
e might not be the only kippa-wearing conductor in the world, but it's probably safe to say that Jerusalem-born composer and musician Elli Jaffe is the only one who conducts orchestras with tzitzit dangling at his side.

This Monday, Jaffe will present the world premiere of "Ilan, Ilan, How Will I Bless You?" at an 80th anniversary benefit concert for Amit at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.

The work is in memory of Israeli astronaut Colonel Ilan Ramon, who was killed with his whole crew in February 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia broke up 16 minutes before its scheduled landing.

Who's So Vain?

Now that the identity of Deep Throat has been revealed, USA TODAY turns its attention towards unmasking another still-unidentified man from the '70's/
For more than 30 years, one of America's best-kept secrets has remained a pop culture mystery. No, not Deep Throat. We're talking about Carly Simon and her hit song You're So Vain. Who was she singing about?
Via Jack's Shack

V'shavu Vanim Ligvulam

Treppenwitz. Read it!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Have a home studio?

Check out these new plug-ins. We're having a tough time deciding between the "Dead Quietnator" and the "Virtual Studio Visitor."

It Takes A Village

The Chicago-based KFAR Jewish Arts Center has begun promoting some events in NYC as Zemer NYC.

Late-Breaking News

The Jewish Week rounds up reaction to the disclosure last month that the melody of "Jerusalem of Gold" is taken from a Basque melody. We linked most of the mentioned blogs when the story broke. Interestingly, although the article names two Basque bloggers and quotes from their blogs, it doesn't share their blog url's. Odd.

Here's a roundup by Basque blogger Ingeleraz of the blogosphere coverage of the story. As we noted at the time, his original post on the story is a history lesson worth learning.

The JW article does contain two links to mp3's of the original Basque version of the tune.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

J-Blogger Gets Results

Apparently in response toLIFE-of-RUBIN, Mostly Music has lowered their price on the new Matisyahu album.