Jump to content

a question of appropriateness and artistic integrity


Recommended Posts

  • Members

recently, a good friend of mine suffered a rather horrific bout of heart breaking, and for whatever reason it affected me quite deeply, and so one random sunday sitting with my guitar i suddenly discovered i had a song written in front of me, and it was actually quite good. now i'd like to take it to the band i front for their opinion to see if we can use it. but i feel highly conflicted about that.

 

i wrote a song about a friend's rather public heartbreak. is it okay for me to use that song? would you find it offensive if some dude walked up to you and said "hey that sucks about your girlfriend, i wrote a song about it" given that my perspective is obviously going to be more dramatized since it wasn't my heart break? i'm inclined to just ask my friend what he thinks, but that strikes me as a very strange conversation to have, i've inquired to another musician friend of mine and he thinks i should just put the song in the drawer for now as to not "artistically profit" off a friend's pain.

 

thoughts? anecdotes? similar experiences?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

most people would know that the song is about a guy and a girl who live on seperate continents and can't be together, it uses celestial metaphores, the North Star and the Southern Cross to describe the distance between lovers. so really, only a few people close to the situation would know. really i've just got to talk to my friend, i just don't know how to approach the conversation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I was working on a tune with a partner inspired by 9/11. I suggested we move from the eventually dated topic and dovetail the idea into recovering from tragedy. In this case, my neighbor's kid with cancer. We were moved and finished it with them in mind. It came out very well. The song was much more universal, though ironically about specific people.

 

I showed it to the mom of the sick girl and told her it was about them... and for them.

 

She never once commented on the tune after that. I never knew if I'd somehow overstepped my boundaries. Quite possibly. I'll never let on the source of a song's inspiration again. It's too much for people.

 

So use the tune. Disguise things if you have to. But never let on as to the inspiration. Big mistake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

How obvious is it that it's about your friend? You could just retool it a bit to make it more generalized. There's nothing wrong with getting inspiration from there, but if you used his name or something in the song, I could see that being a problem.

 

 

Yep, I'd echo that. I personally prefer to keep my songs fairly ambiguous for two reasons:

 

 

Hope this helps,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

interesting, i must say i'm a bit surprised by the consensis to use the tune outright. Knight's anecdote is telling, and i'd imagine spot on for most situations. regardless i am quite green and figured i'd char my own tree, so last night i spoke to the dude in question and gave him the tune on a usb stick to listen to at his leisure. fortunately we have a good repertoire, and he has since told me that yes, the song was depressing, and that it will probably make his long distance lover weep when she hears it later today, but he's not pissed off or anything so it's looking okay for now. it's strange this thing we do, engaging in great feats of empathy to build a song and then being forced to reflect on it and wonder about the concequences of our actions. thanks for all your thoughts!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

You did the right thing. Wasn't really *that* necessary unless you mentioned specific names. But very cool of you to give it to him.

 

The cool thing is that something you created is going to effect them. And that song may be tied to that event for them or even others. The power of music.

 

Never know. In a few years, your friend might hear that song again and see where he was at this stage in his life. It could be insightful.:thu:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

No need to tell him. Just generalize the lyrics a bit more if they are not already. If it affected you it's just as much part of your experience, just in a different way, so write a song about it, why not?? It's been done thousands of times before. There are a lot of {censored}ed up relationship stories, I'm sure you could generalize it a bit more to make it apply to more than just your friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Change anything that makes it obvious. But who says you didn't see it in a movie? Who says it didn't happen to you? Who says YOU feel the pain for your friend's situation.

 

Just makes sure you remove or change any identifying marks or places, names, etc.

 

Then use it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...