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The Muse's News

Issue 1.9 - December 1998
ISSN 1480-6975


In This Issue:


ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998 - Jodi Krangle. For more info about placing ads, send an inquiry


Sponsored in part by Samurai Consulting. To set up a mailing list or for UNIX consulting, please contact Bryan Fullerton (Owner) at bryanf@samurai.com, or see their website at http://www.samurai.com/


OTHER SPONSORS INCLUDE: 


Art Online: Featuring contests, digest, articles, and a gallery of online artists. Submit work or simply browse catagories ranging from poetry to sculpture. 


Editor's Musings:

Well, here we are again. And just before the holiday season, too! I'll wish you all a wonderful season's greetings now, since I won't be writing you again until the very end of December. I'll save my Happy New Year for the next newsletter though. I hope you're all extremely successful in your musical ventures and I also hope you'll let me know about your successes! I love to hear that stuff. :-)

This issue's winner of Steve Gillette's SONGWRITING AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS is Kimberly N. Burnham. Congratulations! A review of this excellent book is included below. Next issue's lucky winner will receive a copy of Jerry Cupit's NASHVILLE SONGWRITING, so stay tuned!

Jack Williams was a wonderful interview, incidentally. I couldn't include as much of it in this newsletter as I'd have liked to, but you can view the remainder of it online. I hope you will. Jack talks a lot about his recording experiences, his songwriting process and his thoughts on commercialism. He has a lot of insightful things to say and he's been in the business long enough to know.

Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem Copyright Management has contributed a very insightful article explaining some of the newest US copyright laws. She'll be a regular columnist here at The Muse's News with a Q&A session about copyright and publishing issues so feel free to foward any questions you might have to <editor@musesmuse.com> and she'll attempt to answer them. She may not get to all of them, but she'll certainly try.

Tommy Merry of Tommy and the Stompers has been kind enough to take the web site reviews in hand. I think you'll all agree he does an excellent job. (Thanks, Tommy!)

Feel free to contact me with comments, questions or suggestions. There are no book reviews scheduled for next issue though as already mentioned, I will still be giving away a book generously donated by Jerry Cupit. If you'd like to submit a book review for publication, you're welcome to do so.

As a final note, I'd like to mention once again that The Muse's Muse, along with Jeff Mallett, Ralph Torres from UNISONG & Danny Arena and Sara Light from the Songwriting Education Resource, all host a regular chat on Monday evenings from 9pm ET onward. I hope you'll try to drop by and introduce yourselves! The evenings are usually pretty casual but recently, Alan Roy Scott & Harriet Schock have been guest speakers. Our latest guest speaker will be Pat Pattison at a date yet to be announced. We'll look forward to seeing you there! You can view the chat room at: http://www.musesmuse.com/songdisc.html

And that's all, folks! All the best to you.

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Songwriting Book Review: by Jodi Krangle

SONGWRITING AND THE CREATIVE PROCESSby Steve Gillette


I like a big book. Like a big dog with lots to hug, big books appeal to the bohemian in me in some way that I just can't adequately describe. So getting Steve's book into my hands was a tremendously satisfying experience. It certainly stands out on my bookshelf.

Brought to you by the folks at Sing Out! (edited by Mark Moss), Steve's book is also a tremendously satisfying experience in content.

One of the first things I noticed is that a lot of the chapters end with articles written by other songwriters (was amazed to find one by Ani DiFranco in there!) - everything from how to write for singers to how to gain inspiration and even how to choose a subject (I was particularly fond of Butch Hancock's "Advice to a Young Poet in the Wings (HA!)". The wacky sense of humour appealed to me). I found it refreshing to have several points of view in the same book and I like the way Steve weaved those alternate opinions into the entirety of the publication.

I also like what he talks about - particularly the detail he goes into when it comes to working with melodies, even going so far as to mention the "Nashville" Chord Number System, speaking about Harmony (a subject very often passed over) and even about alternative tunings for your guitar. He goes into great detail when it comes to lyric structure as well and all the chapters are layed out with very clearly defined titles, lots of little subtitles within. The nifty thing about those subtitles is that they kept me reading - but not only that - they allowed me to flip through the book and read what I was particularly interested in at the time.

Not only does he spend time on the process, however. He also goes into different *types* of processes including among his chapers, an entire one about children's songs - a subject which you all know is near and dear to my heart. Let it never be said that writing children's songs is easy! If you don't grab a child's attention right from the start, just forget it. Steve talks about some of the best "hooking" techniques and even lists off things like palindromes, tongue twisters and interesting words to use together.

Throughout the book, Steve relates writing songs and producing music to having a romance. There is a psychology to the creative process that seems to fascinate him and his fascination is carried through to his reader giving his words a feel of wonder in discovery that is both refreshing and poignant. I am very certain my copy of this book will quickly become dog-eared and beat up because it's already a much beloved part of my songwriting reference library. I would recommend that you pick up a copy for yourself. 

*****

Steve Gillette'sSONGWRITING AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS was our book give-away for this month and I would like to thank all of you for taking part by subscribing to The Muse's News. The next book to be given away in the January issue will be Jerry Cupit's NASHVILLE SONGWRITING.

If you would like to submit a book review for possible publication or a book about songwriting for possible review, please let me know by e-mailing me at <editor@musesmuse.com>.

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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Information

For Up-To-Date listings, please go to:

http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html

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Songwriter In Profile: 
Jack Williams

Jack is someone who has undergone profound changes in his music and his approach to making it. A well respected songwriter and performer in the folk community, his newest CD release, /Across The Winterline/, truly demonstrates his growing mastery of the craft. If you haven't yet heard his subtle, velvet voice and listened to the touching truths in his songs, you're surely missing something you'll kick yourself for later. Here's what Jack has to say about the evolution of his songwriting, his recording experiences, and the lessons he's learned throughout.

Because of the length of this interview (I loved every word of it!) and because I didn't want to leave anything out, I've chosen to include a snippet of it here to whet your appetite. Please do follow the link below to read the rest of it. You won't be disappointed. This sort of interview happens only rarely and you won't want to miss it.

Question:
When did you first know you wanted to make music your career?  Can you point to any one incident or was it just something that occurred to you gradually?

Answer:
This is harder to answer than you would think. I don't recall ever considering a "career" at all, in the sense that from childhood through college nowadays people begin to think of what they will do for a living. I had thought I would be either an artist (I painted and drew very well) or a musician. It never occurred to me to consider how I would get along financially.

I seemed to have understood music (melody, chords and changes) early on - from age 4, when I was playing the ukelele. My mother taught it to me and it stuck immediately. No, I didn't consider a career then, but I played music daily as a natural part of life, from then till now. I learned piano at 6, dabbled with flute and violin at 9, learned trumpet at 10, and finally took up the guitar at 15. I had played ukelele so well for so long, that the day I first picked up a guitar, I could play it immediately. I had my first band - and paying gig - within 3 weeks. This was 1958. I continued playing trumpet, piano and guitar all the way through college, where I studied music theory and composition for 9 straight years, and led a series of R&B and rock&roll bands through the 60's. I was also a hired-gun guitarist who was called upon to put backing bands together for touring artists: John Lee Hooker, Jerry Butler, Big Joe Turner, Hank Ballard, etc. I was also playing jazz and writing big-band arrangements, playing classical music on guitar - and writing it.

Essentially, without even thinking about it, I had been fully engaged in a "career" since 1958, and it would continue till the present.

It was only in college where, because I fell in love and planned to marry, I had to consider how to support myself and someone else. Family tried to make me view things more practically. I considered teaching music theory, etc, at Valdosta State College in Georgia, but was somehow saved from that hideous fate. I continued what I had always done: playing music, and making a little money, though hardly enough to really meet the needs of my wife and new son.

Finally out of college in 1970, having been divorced from my first wife, I began writing songs. I did not know at that time that songwriting would become a main focus of my musical life, for - except for a few scattered early successful songs - I didn't hit my stride and become prolific and "free" until 1979. So, in '70 I hit the road in a van, and with no home, no debts, and no obligations, I traveled west with no destination and played everywhere they'd let me. I began to learn that people would listen to my songs and get something from them. Out here on the open road I was totally dependent on myself and what I could do to make money. It was hand-to-mouth, but I learned to live happily that way.

There....I knew if I wrote long enough I could almost answer the first part of your question! The second part is not so difficult, but has no real answer either.

I've led a very impractical life. My father - although an army officer - never discouraged my music or art, but tried desperately to direct me in a more commercial direction. But I honestly never seriously considered a career - ever. I just blindly kept doing what I did best and what satisfied me, as unlucrative as it was. I still struggle with the "career" side of music - at 54. (As a side note: it has only been within the past two or three years that my father -at 78 - has come to realize and accept the importance and value of what I do.)

I can't think of any single individual who was influential in my determining my path. There is one I recall who played an important role in keeping me going and directing me.

In the apartment next door to us in Ft. Lewis, WA (I was an Army brat), in 1958, lived a captain, who, before joining the military was a trumpeter for the Ray Anthony Big Band. He heard me doodling on my trumpet and asked my parents and me if he could give me lessons. One-half of each lesson was a highly structured session in the "Arban"s Method" book, but the other half was practice in improvisation. He had heard me improvising jazz and knew where I was headed.

His lessons emphasized freedom in playing what I felt - on any instrument - and became one of the more important influences on my music - and career. This freedom translated eventually into the ability to write melodies easily.

I could name many other influences on my musical life, but none I can really think of that helped me "decide on a musical career". I guess all these years I've only had a life and not a career.  

Question:
How do you think your songwriting has changed since its early days? Different subject matters?  More complex themes and melody?  Or has time brought you "back to the basics"? 

For the answer to this and many more questions about his career and his approach to songwriting, follow the link below:

http://www.musesmuse.com/jackinterview.html#newsletter

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Muse's Clues - Web Site Review by Tommy Merry

This month we're going to take a look at some fantastic online songwriting resources and tools. Normally, being a webmaster and designer for Sun Microsystems, I am extremely critical in the assessment of a website based on layout and feel, as well as content. Several of the sites we will examine today will not be pretty, however they are genuine bookmarkers for modern songwriters. Check it out.

#1  WWWEBSTER THESAURUS
There are several of these out there, but this one /cooks/ as far as load time and search returns. It also features a "word of the day" area that you can use to add to your linguistic arsenal (you prolific pontificator you!)

#2  THE SEMANTIC RHYMING DICTIONARY

From time to time we all seek the perfect rhyme, thatís so sublime itís..itís..??.. Doh!

This rhyming dictionary site features:
*Find perfect Rhymes
*Match last sound only
*Match consonants
*Find Synonyms and Spell check.
Which happens to lead to the WWWebster Thesaurus. (hmmmm, coincidence or conspiracy?)

#3 WILLOW POND SOFTWARE

This will knock your socks off if youíve never seen one of these in action before! It is called WillowTalk and it is a text-to-speech converter that you can download and try out for free for one month.

What it does is amazing. You open up a text document, click the play button, and it reads the page aloud in one of nine different voices (male or female). This is a great songwriting tool for obvious reasons. If one canít grasp the meaning of a spoken song, the greatest musical arrangement in the world may not help. Many times we write from the heart and it makes great sense to us. Then someone else reads our lyrical labyrinth and gets that lost look in their eyes. Once we explain the meaning they exclaim, "Oh I get it now! I never knew that 'little pookins' was your spouse's pet name". The greatest songs of all time stand on their own without explanation. Well, for the most part .

This software gives you the chance to step back and hear your lyric from a different viewpoint. Punctuation, cadence and over-use of phrases or words will jump out at you while the cream of your writing will rise to the top. Although it sounds a bit robotic, it still proves to be very useful. All you need is a sound card and a Pentium to run it. Go grab it, youíll be amazed at the least.

Keeping an eye out for you ,
-Tommy Merry

******

Tommy Merry is a songwriter and guitarist that produces music for television, radio and indie movies when heís not busy being a webmaster/designer for Sun Microsystems. He also fronts the instrumental guitar project called Tommy and The Stompers. You can see them at http://www.shredzone.com/stompers.

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Feature Article: 
THE NEW COPYRIGHT LAWS by Nancy A. Reece of Carpe Diem
©1998 Nancy A. Reece. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

"Assongwriters and publishers, we should have a basic understanding of copyright law. Most of us are used to dealing with the provisions in Title 17. Copyright arises in almost every "original work of authorship" from the moment it is fixed in a "tangible medium of expression" 17 U.S.C. 102(a). Eight categories of copyrightable materials are listed in the Copyright Act: (1) literary works; (2) musical works; (3) dramatic works; (4) pantomimes and audiovisual works; (5) pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to: (1) make and sell in any form; (2) display or perform the work publicly; (3) prepare derivative works, which are based on the original work; (4) allow others to exercise the exclusive rights. The exclusive rights belong to the copyright owner for as long as the term of the copyright.

There were two new laws recently enacted that deserve an overview.

A: The new Copyright Term Extensions and Music Licensing Laws (S.505)enacted 10/27/98

B: The new Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (HR 2281) enacted on 10/28/98

The good news about the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act" is found in Title One. It is clear that the Copyright term has been extended from Life plus 50 to Life plus 70, and from 75 years from original copyright to 95 years from original copyright for works in renewal. (Essentially, 20 years are added to all existing terms in the law). The bad news (for all copyright holders) is found in Title Two. Known as the "Fairness In Music Licensing Act", it created quite a bit of controversy over the past months between the Performing Rights Organizations (ASCAP. BMI and SESAC) and the Retail and Food Establishments.

New Music Licensing Law In Brief.

*What exactly does it exempt from licensing fees? Businesses that perform music only from licensed radio, television, cable and satellite sources, do not re-transmit beyond their establishments, and do not charge admission, are exempt as follows: All restaurants, bars and grills that contain less than 3750 gross square feet, and all non-food service and beverage establishments that contain less than 2000 gross square feet, are exempt.

Those businesses whose square footage exceeds the above square footage are still exempt if they use 6 or fewer speakers with no more than 4 in any one room or, where they use audiovisual equipment, use no more than 4 TVs, with no more than one TV in each room, with no TV having a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches, while meeting the above speaker restrictions. ASCAP, BMI or SESAC can recover penalties from the business owners if it is determined that their claims of exemption were frivolous.

*What new provisions have been created for businesses to challenge license fees?
Business owners can contest the reasonableness of license fees by filing a proceeding in the rate court in New York or, under the new bill, in a district court in one of 11 other specific locations around the country. While the proceeding is pending, the owner has the right to perform music by paying an interim fee into the court. The decision of the local judge is to be reviewed by the rate court judge and applies only to that owner. An owner is limited to one proceeding per license agreement.

*How has the "record store" exemption been expanded?
The record store exemption has been expanded to include retail establishments whose sole purpose in performing music is to promote the retail sale of the recordings or the devices (e.g., radios, TVs, CD players) utilized in the performances.

As I mentioned in last month's article on publishing, it is always good for you, the writer or publisher, to be in touch with your representative at your Performing Rights Organization (PRO). All the places you are performing live music in, or that is playing your music from a recording, are probably still licensable and you should be receiving compensation for that performance through your PRO as the copyright holder of those compositions. (http://www.musesmuse.com/pubart.html)

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was the US government's ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. The act is 94 pages long and can make your eyes bleed if you are not used to the legal language (or even if you are!).

These treaties provide member nations with higher levels of copyright protection, including safeguards in the digital and online areas.

Some questions were answered as to who is liable for copyright infringement on the Internet, and what "Fair Use" defense means on the Internet. Visit the WIPO web page at: http://www.wipo.int/

If there is more interest in this topic, we can go into it further. The main thing to keep in mind as a copyright holder is to be aware and alert to the fact that many licenses are needed for a multimedia web page.

COMPOSITIONS need Synchronization, Performance, Print and even Mechanical licenses if distribution or digital delivery is made.

SOUND RECORDINGS need Reproduction, Distribution and Performance licensing if made available on subscription or on demand, Mechanical licensing is needed if distribution is made.

PHOTOGRAPHS, TRADEMARKS and IMAGES all need licenses to avoid copyright law infringement.

Although we have a good grasp on copyright issues here at our office, I am in no way an actual attorney. It is recommended that you seek competent legal advice concerning any case specific issue regarding infringement or term renewals etc. I'd like to thank our counsel at King & Ballow http://www.king-ballow.com/.com for assistance in keeping me informed and infringement free. Also, thanks to BMI-Nashville for help with the overview on the music licensing law brief.

A copy of both of these new changes in the US Copyright Law can be downloaded at: http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright

******

Carpe Diem's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989).

If you would like to ask Nancy a copyright or publishing question for our continuing Q&A section, please send your e-mail to <editor@musesmuse.com>. We can't guarantee we'll get to all of the questions, but we'll certainly try.

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" O N   S I T E "   F E A T U R E D   A R T I C L E :

THE GOLDEN RULES OF SONGWRITING - by David E. Schindler

A useful list of things you can do to help keep you productive as a songwriter. 


Classifieds & Useful Services:

DEMONSTRAMAN DEMO PRODUCTION SERVICES FOR SONGWRITERS
Songwriters: Have your demos recorded and produced by a #1 award-winning music industry professional. http://sony.inergy.com/SongDemo <DemonstraMan@webtv.net>

WANT MORE TRAFFIC? E-ZINE ADVERTISING WORKS!
Find and reach the people who want what you have to offer.  (Not spamming!) Our cutting edge service is simple, effective and inexpensive. Discover the best new way to generate traffic and sales month after month.  Find us before your competitors do! Visit us now. http://www.ezineadsource.com/

PRODUCER & SESSION SINGER WILL TURN YOUR IDEAS INTO SONGS!
We're a small production company with some recent record success's.[single & album track for Europe's top Boyband.] Our work involves long periods[years]before we get paid!so......we are now offering to produce other people's ideas for a small fee:£250 [$375]you pay if you like the result [on cd]. See our webpage for details. http://deecristo.future.easyspace.com/ Chris at Deecristo Music <chris@deecristo.freeserve.co.uk>

ORIGINAL SONG POSTING FOR SONGWRITERS, ARTISTS & PUBLISHERS
Title says it all.  Songwriters post songs available. Artists, you may find that hit here. Publishers, find a song here. http://www.insidetheweb.com/mbs.cgi/mb181225 Nickholas J. Garren <sjgj3@hotmail.com>

SONGWRITER MAIL-ORDER DEMO SERVICE
Fully produced demo of your song, including live acoustic and electric guitar, live bass, keyboards and drums, studio vocalist and musicians. All tracks recorded in 24 track digital facility by experienced engineer. $225 US includes CD master, cassette and all musician costs. Call Greengate Studio at(604)530-3028 for samples and references. Eliot Pister <greengatestudio@hotmail.com

**********

CLASSIFIED RATES:
US$2/line/issue. Min. 2 lines, max. 7 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. E-mail to: adinfo@musesmuse.com

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Contact Info & Credits:

Jodi Krangle ...........EDITOR
Kathryn Obenshain ......GRACIOUS PROOFREADER
Bryan Fullerton ............SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR

Back issues and other information available at: http://www.musesmuse.com/musenews.html
The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters. 

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