¡Cubanismo! at The Exit/In, Caetano Veloso, Café Tacuba & Music of The Americas



The Americas  –  Music by Caetano Veloso, ¡Cubanismo!, Café Tacuba  –  Copyrightable Intros

When I was growing up and loving and learning geography, there were three places called “America.”  The  globes, atlases and maps were mostly but not always in agreement.  The three (3) Americas:

1.  North America

2.  Central America

3.  South America

North America had the three (3) most powerful countries of the hemisphere  –  the United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

Central America sometimes had Mexico and those smaller countries.  Other times, Central America had just those smaller countries  –  Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama –  and Mexico was considered part of North America.  One of the Latin America nations (oh yeah – just what was “Latin America” – Central America?) we “imperialists” in the U. S. really noticed was Panama as every ship had to go through the Isthmus of Panama’s Panama Canal that linked the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

South America had Brazil (the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country) and a lot of other countries whose official language was Spanish.  Brazil had Carmen Miranda, samba, bossa nova and carnival, and the other countries (all Spanish speaking) had coffee, tin or llamas.  (Just a bit North American-centric!)

And then there were those islands – a petite floating continent  – known as The Caribbean and even the definition of Caribbean was odd as vacationers and cruise ship lines identified Bermuda as part of the Caribbean even though Bermuda was as far north as North Carolina, a decidedly non-tropical and non-Caribbean.

In terms of U. S. federal courts, geography becomes more confusing as Puerto Rico is part of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.  That means Puerto Rico and its natural adjacent neighbors (I am joking) –  Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island (which isn’t an island)  –  are part of the same appellate court, the First Circuit.  As if this isn’t nonsensical enough, Montana and Hawaii, non-natural neighbors, are part of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  (No matter how these divisions are viewed, I’ll someday teach my “Music of The Caribbean” course again and still think of the Caribbean as its own entity, and not a part of North, South or Central America.)

Perhaps it is best that in 2012 the entire hemisphere is called THE AMERICAS, mostly to make things less messy when it comes to division via land mass.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

To the simple point of this post  –  three (3) great songs from The Americas (the Americas situated south of continental U.S.) that feature * copyrightable introductions. *


I know of no other career like Caetano Veloso’s  –  it is astonishing to simply look at his album covers.  Caetano Veloso’s career, artistic and musical influences and output are enormous   –  samba, Antonio Carlos Jobim, bossa nova,  torch songs, Tropicálismo, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Arnold Schoenberg, minimalism, musique concrete, hip hop, experimental music, filmmaker, singer, songwriter, composer, soundtrack composer, political activist, political activist expelled from country, political activist welcomed back to country, etc.

I’ve plunked one song from his more than half-century output, and only to demonstrate a copyrightable introduction.

Caetano Veloso  –  Cada Macano No Seu (Cho Chuã) is from Tropicália 2, an album that pairs two of Brazil’s musical giants  –  Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.  Tropicália 2 was one the best Brazilian albums of the 1990’s.


¡Cubanismo!  –  Ibiono Utereran   ¡Cubanismo! is the superstar band of Afro-Cuba (Afro-Cuba is my name for the island of “Cuba.”).  The best musicians of the island coming together to show others how it’s done.  I’ve been most fortunate to see ¡Cubanismo! in Boston, New York and Nashville.  Yes.  That Nashville.  Tennessee.  Music City.  ¡Cubanismo! played the famous Exit/In.  To this day, it is the best concert and musicians I’ve seen in Nashville.

Ibiono Utereran begins as if a square, dull waltz is imminent.  The “one TWO AND three” waltz figure introduced by the tres gets beaten back quickly by the rhythm section and then the loud brass.  The tres pattern is then re-understood as one of several rhythms coexisting in complexity.

This is one of those ultimate “how do I dance to this” dilemmas.

“Ibiono Utereran” is from Cubanismo’s brilliant, Reencarnacion album.  Reencarnacion needs to be on your Must-Have Cuban album list.


Café Tacuba  –  Camino Y Vereda    Café Tacuba has been in existence since 1989.  Their  frequently-changing musical styles have left them with passionate fans and music critics.  (The New York Times has praised Café Tacuba more than almost any other band.)

Intros to many of Café Tacuba’s songs feature copyrightable introductions.  I chose “Camino Y Vereda” because of its fun “how do I dance to this” metric deception dilemma intro, and to introduce any reader to their vital Cuatro Caminos album.

I hope to return to Caetano Veloso, ¡Cubanismo! and Café Tacuba in the future, as well as the music of Brazil, Cuba and Mexico.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

To repeat the three (3) songs:

Caetano Veloso  –  Cada Macano No Seu (Cho Chuã)

¡Cubanismo!  –  Ibiono Utereran 

Café Tacuba  –  Camino Y Vereda

Music of Africa & Copyrightable Intros – Les Têtes Brulées, Four Brothers & Thomas Mapfumo


It just occurred to me that this is the 3rd post in a row that features a tall structure as the cover photograph  –  from a building at Harvard, to the Eiffel Tower to a giraffe.  And there are three (3) giraffes.  I like how that came to be – unplanned but maybe related to the number 3 again?

I’ve been passionate about world music since I was a little kid and heard some of my parents bossa nova albums, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Perez Prado, and some others.  Also in those days there was I Love Lucy with some of Desi Arnaz’ very hot bands on TV.  I always loved what I perceived as its sophistication.

As a kid, I remember hearing my parents and their friends’ music  –  a lot of it was Latin and Brazilian music played on LP’s when they’d have a party.   I remember there was bossa nova, “The Girl From Ipanema” was a hit so I was hearing Antonio Carlos Jobim, but also Perez Prado whose music was called “wild, savage and exciting.”  I remember his odd atnd strange grunts and yells.  Perez Prado’s great yelps.  You can hear one his best a few times in his classic Mambo #5.

I took a few jazz guitar lessons when I was 10 or 11.  That meant that now I could play Jobim as well as listen to him.  The teacher was a nice man but I preferred experimenting and teaching myself.  I did some of the most important things in my experimental way  –  turn on the radio and play along with whatever I hear, and play it on the guitar, piano or organ.  I can get further into what I consider to be the best means of learning music later though.  The point of this post is world music and copyrightable intros in world music.  I want to limit it to just three (3) examples, all of them from two (2) African nations  –  Zimbabwe and Cameroon.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Thomas Mapfumo was a powerful voice – a giant –  in music and politics in Rhodesia and its successive nation, Zimbabwe.  One of Mapfumo’s innovations was to adapt Shona mbira melodies and rhythms for electric guitar and rock band.  The frequent polyrhythms, the complex interwoven melodies, as well as Mapfumo’s composing and singing and live presence is what drew me strongly to his music.  I have been most fortunate to see Thomas Mapfumo several times.  Mapfumo even allowed me to play one of the band’s mbiras.  I didn’t ask  –  we were talking and he went back, got the mbira and handed it to me!  (My Pinterest board has a photo of Thomas Mapfumo.)

If any Western musician tries to transcribe and play “Muchadura” with her band/ensemble (as I was able to do), be prepared to spend a lot of time getting it right!  It is so damn easy to get off track rhythmically and once you do, it can be even harder to, “…get back to where you once belonged.”

The introduction is where the very independent melodies begin.  First, a solo mbira introduces one melody and before the melody can seem to end, the drums enter, followed quickly by the bass and every other instrument but Mapfumo’s vocal, which will begin at 0.35.

Thomas Mapfumo  –  Muchadura

Les Têtes Brulées are a band from Cameroon.  Les Têtes Brulées translates to “burnt heads,” and the band tries to surprise and shock audiences, first by their appearance, and then their music and stage antics.  Here is another picture of Les Têtes Brulées.  When I first heard and saw them, I was an adult and excited by their costumes and the skeleton appearances.  I can only imagine how much fun this must be to little kids to see tall skeletons playing wild and exciting music.

“Za Ayi Neyi” is one of the most complex and irregular compositions from beginning to end.  If you are unfamiliar with their music, I hope you consider this your very lucky day!

Les Têtes Brulées  –  Za Ayi Neyi

The Four Brothers are not brothers and various iterations of the band have had more than four members. Like Mapfumo, their music reflects the influence of Shona mbira music with guitars imitating mbiras.  “The Best Of Four Brothers” album is one of my favorites.  I’ve used their music frequently in teaching Western Classical music theory, or known to the Western centric crowd as “music theory,” or simply “theory.”  I do so because a lot of their voice leading and chord progressions are much closer to Mozart than Chuck Berry.  (Isn’t that a strange claim.  Can I prove this?)

Four Brothers  –  Makorokoto 

Here again are today’s three (3) great African songs from two (2) African nations.  (Even if some of Sarah Palin’s followers hack Wikipedia again, Africa remains a continent.)

Thomas Mapfumo  –  Muchadura

Les Têtes Brulées  –  Za Ayi Neyi

Four Brothers  –  Makorokoto 

Three Songs (5/4) & Some Thoughts (7/4) About Dave Brubeck (9/8)


Dave Brubeckone of my musical heroes, was respected by every musician I have ever known.  He was the first American whose jazz excited me.  My first exposure to his music was through one of his big hit songs (yes, a jazz musician who was creative, brilliant, and commercially successful without having “sold out”).  That hit was “Take Five,” written by his sax player, Paul Desmond.  I was too young to play or analyze it  –  I only knew that it made me happy (I think I was five years old when it was released).

I was extremely fortunate to have met Dave Brubeck once.  He seemed to be as great a person as his music.  But before I met him, I met his drummer, Joe Morello who came to Framingham North High School (now known as Framingham High School) and gave a masterclass.  I remember that Morello was brilliant, looked like Roy Orbison (especially with his thick horn-rimmed glasses) and played complex meters and really well.  I liked but didn’t love what I was hearing but had enormous respect for him.  It’s easy to fall for what a passionate and virtuosic person is putting out, regardless of your age, culture, and in my case, as a young kid at a very heady jazz drum master class, maturity.  I knew that someday I’d explore jazz, just not that day or month.  (It took Miles Davis for me to “get it”  –  jazz  –  completely.  And then came the ultimate for me  –  Weather Report)

Brubeck, one of my heroes, studied with French composer and Mills College professor,  Darius Milhaud, another hero of mine.  Milhaud, as well as a few other “serious” composers/art music composers of the first quarter of the 20th century, was profoundly impacted by American jazz and incorporated elements of jazz into his composing.  My favorite Milhaud composition is his hugely influential 1923 work, La creation du monde, here conducted by Leonard Bernstein.  Click that link and for 17 minutes enter a fascinating world.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

One of the important features of a lot of Dave Brubeck’s music is his use of rhythm and especially uncommon time signatures.  Brubeck met with resistance from Columbia Records when he insisted on having songs with unusual meter/time signatures on his brilliant million-selling album, Time Out.  Fortunately for music, the public and Columbia Records, they gave in.

I have selected three (3) Dave Brubeck songs, each in a different and unusual meter.  5 beats per measure, 7 beats per measure and 9 beats per measure are far less common than the most common meter in Western music – 4 beats per measure.  In keeping with the idea of three –  3 different time signatures/meters  –  I have also compiled three (3) sets of three (3) songs each.  In each of these three 3-song sets, I have chosen a Brubeck composition and followed it with two (2) other compositions that share the same number of beats.  In each example, the songs I have selected are not of the same style.

I grouped these songs together in this manner so as to hear Dave Brubeck’s music and his take on an unusual meter followed by other artists’ versions of the same meter.  This is the manner in which I usually approach music  –  find music from disparate, seemingly unrelated  styles and periods and locate what they have in common.  It might be my inner anthropologist at work.  It’s also how my Dad lived – connecting dots that did not reach out to be connected.


5   5   5   5   5

Dave Brubeck  –  Take Five (1959)   This is not the original studio recording but a live faster version recorded in 1961.  This is how most of the world learned to feel and count five (5) beats per measure.  5 = 3 + 2.  To me, it still seems the best way to subdivide 5 beats.  Paul Desmond, not Dave Brubeck, wrote Take Five.  As with the other time signatures below, Brubeck is not the first to have used them.  But the music he wrote that has these particular time signatures is superb and deserves to be widely known.

Lalo Schifrin  –  Mission Impossible Theme (1966)   Lalo Schifrin’s theme music to the television series, Mission Impossible, in addition to being the best theme song in the history of television theme songs, is the second best known example of 5/4.  Like Paul Desmond’s Take Five, Schifrin has also used   5 = 3 + 2.  Lalo Schifrin.

Uakti  –  Ovo Da Serpente (The Serpent’s Egg) (1987) I’ve adored the music and sound of Uakti since I first heard them in the early 1980’s on a Milton Nascimento recording.  This Brazilian ensemble has also recorded with Paul Simon and Philip Glass.  With respect to Simon and Glass, in my opinion, Uakti was the “big deal” in these recordings.  Back in the mid-1990’s I flew from Nashville to Boston just to hear Uakti perform live (at Boston University) in a short American tour.  As I recall, Boston and New York were the only U. S. East coast cities on that tour.  (I would love to write more about Uakti in other blog posts.)


7   7   7   7   7   7   7 

Dave Brubeck  –  Unsquare Dance (1961)  Just as Dave had made 5/4 simple, normal and fun, in “Unsquare Dance he makes 7/4 your new favorite meter.  7 = 2 + 2 + 3.  This is the Brubeck studio recording choreographed.

Pat Metheny  –  Finding & Believing  (1992) Pat Metheny wrote and performed most of the instruments on this song in 7/4 and throughout his great and massive 1992 album, Secret Story.

Sting  –  Straight To My Heart  (1987)  One of my favorite aspects of Sting as a composer is his use of – what I respectfully call  –  “music theory tricks.”  If one transcribes and analyzes Sting’s music, it is obvious that Sting has (maybe often) considered structural aspects of music before and during his composing.  (To discuss Sting’s music theory tricks more would mean writing more about music theory and structure, something I do not want to do here.)


9   9   9   9   9   9   9   9   9

Dave Brubeck  –  Blue Rondo A La Turk (1959)  I selected the brilliant night photograph of the Eiffel Tower for the cover of this blog post for several reasons.

1.  The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most unique and magnificent  structures immediately recognizable to people from all over our planet.  The same can be said for Dave Brubeck’s music.

2.  The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of not only Paris and France but the entire European Union, and it was in Europe that Brubeck heard many complex and irregular time signatures.  Blue Rondo A La Turk revealed Brubeck’s influence by and capture of Turkish rhythms.  (Beethoven and Mozart had also been enthralled with Turkish music.)

3.  The Eiffel Tower is pointing upward.  Is there a heaven above?  Above has always fascinated many of us and pointing and living upward is inspirational to me.  Dave Brubeck represents upward.

Blue Rondo A La Turk is a masterpiece.  9 = 2 + 2 + 2 + 3.  I started to learn to play Blue Rondo A La Turk in my usual way  – put on the record and play along with it.  I kept putting the needle back to the opening and early sections as it is not easy to learn this work, especially as an untrained high school musician.  But when I knew I’d come to a stop and not be able to ever play this entire thing was when I got to 1.36 – 1.39 of the song  – the FANTASTIC & BIG CHORDS in contrary motion.  Damn it  –  that was going to require a lot of practice.  I did the easy thing  –  quit trying to play it, love what Brubeck was doing and move on!

And then comes this abruptly different, laid back bluesy section at 1.53 – 1.57.  For all of four seconds, the song changes character until the agitated opening 9  = 2 + 2 + 2 + 3  thing returns abruptly.  (There is a musical concept of “multiple time” that would describe this as well.)  If you have it in you, write a Blue Rondo A La Turk and place it is as your album’s opening track.

Milton Nascimento & Wayne Shorter  –  Ponta De Areia (1974)  Ponta De Areia is the opening song on the extremely important album, Native Dancer, an album that featured the first-time collaborative writing and performing of music legends from the United States (Wayne Shorter) and Brazil (Milton Nascimento).  Nascimento’s 9 beats per measure (9/4 rather than 9/8) are really long, temporally speaking.  Brubeck’s 9 fly by, whereas Nascimento’s 9 almost contain story lines as the rhythm section is left to create subplots within.  Listen especially to how much takes place in the drums, bass & keyboard from 0.41 – 1.28, a relatively long span of time with lots of smart activity but one which features only eight (8) measures of 9/4.

Sting  –  I Hung My Head  (1996) – Sting’s I Hung My Head epitomizes what I mean by “music theory tricks” above.  in this song, Sting divides 9 in a unique manner:  5 beats followed by 2 and 2.  9 = 5 + 2 + 2.  You can hear this pattern in the bass.  The drummer is left to also articulate a 9-beat pattern but his is even more peculiar and agitational, in terms of the context.  This drum pattern is in the forefront.  Not that drummers are often hard to notice but in this case, the drum accents predominate and propel the band.  Whereas the bass plays 9 = 5 + 2 + 2, the drum rearranges this palindromically (not a palindrome per se, but palindromically)  :  9 = 2 + 5 + 2.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

This post went in a direction different from writing a eulogy.  (I had not intended to write a eulogy – I only intended to write a few sentences more than my Foursquare entry last night shortly after I heard the sad news about Dave Brubeck.)  To me this post is a conversation (at this point, only a monologue) about great music.  When you’ve “received” a great work, it leads to more thoughts and appreciation of the work and that should lead to…  “Have you heard this?”  Or… “What do you think about this?”

I am deeply grateful for Dave Brubeck  – who he was, what he gave us, where he led us, and how he inspired us.


Copyrightable Introductions – Willie Nelson, The Roots, Oingo Boingo, Beach Boys, Desert Rose Band, Beatles


Copyrightable Introductions – Willie Nelson, The Roots, Oingo Boingo, Beach Boys, Desert Rose Band, The Beatles, Brian Eno & David Byrne

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  In Gloucester we had snow  –  first the small flakes, then large flakes coupled with winds in excess of 20 mph.  And it got windier and snowier as I left the beach and drove into Beverly MA.  Very nice.

Today it is 58 F and perfectly sunny but the surf temperature has dropped to 50 F.  High tide is calling me, but I’m not ready for walking in the ocean this afternoon.  I’ll need a little more time to develop enough foolhardy bravery for that!

I want to go in the opposite direction from the last two posts  –  from introductions that are not very copyrightable to those that are very copyrightable.  These are introductions that feature substantive musical expression, not the kind that is often associated with introductions.  Again, these subjects  –  copyrightable intros and uncopyrightable intros   –  came up during this blogging process.  I’m very glad they did as I now have more fun topics to explore.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I ended the last blog post with this statement and one not-well-known Beatles recording:

At some point soon, I really want to explore the opposite  –  COPYRIGHTABLE introductions – highly copyrightable introductions.  I’ll tease by offering a highly highly highly copyrightable introduction.  It’s by The Beatles, a band that formed in Liverpool in the 1950’s.  This was early Beatles  –  pre-Ed Sullivan Beatles  – showing off.  One of the things I think they’re saying is:

“We’re darn good.  We can play well.  Can you play this much this fast?”

Here is their earliest Highly COPYRIGHTABLE intro:

Beatles  –  Like Dreamers Do

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

For today, I add the following songs, all with fantastic introductions and all highly copyrightable.  I’d recommend immediately dancing to “Start All Over Again” and “Grey Matter,” just for the fun that will take place when the meter shifts on you.  You’ll be duped  –  I love being duped/deceived by a rhythmic/metric trick at the beginning of a song.  (Metric deception is a gigantic category in itself, one that would well fit into Highly Copyrightable intros.)

The Roots  –  You Got Me

Desert Rose Band  –  Start All Over Again

Oingo Boingo  –  Grey Matter

Beach Boys  –  When I Grow Up To Be A Man

David Byrne & Brian Eno  –  I Feel My Stuff

And I’d add Willie Nelson’s recording of “December Days” from his “Moonlight Becomes You” album.  (I can’t find the exact version on YouTube.)  This is probably the strangest and most harmonically complicated introduction to any country song.  The opening chords are:

Eb Major   D minor   B Major   A Major   F Major   Bb Major

(NOTE  –  there were no typos in those six (6) chords)

Have you ever heard these exact chords in this exact sequence anywhere?  I haven’t and won’t begin a search for them now (too many other projects are lined up for my attention).

In my next post I want to explore world music, maybe again from the point of view of introductions to songs.



Uncopyrightable introductions – Part 2, William Shatner obliquely, Martha Stewart to me


I found a way to incorporate William Shatner into this post.  You’ll see.  Keep readin’ and a-clickin’.  I really like it.  It’s way off the subject but it brings us to a better place.

I also NEEDED to link to Martha Stewart for reasons that will be obvious.

Yesterday’s post stemmed from a discussion of song introductions and to what extent they might be copyrightable.  And that discussion stemmed from my post the day before in which I claimed that the intro to the following Sandals.com commercial  –

Sandals – Do It All Again

had copied the intro to the Beatles’ song  –

The Beatles – Getting Better

I should add that I feel that Sandals.com consciously, carefully and deliberately copied the intro to Beatles’ Getting Better.  Sandals.com did not accidentally derive this introduction, or independently create their introduction.  Some composer labored over this.

The only reader to comment on this felt that Sandals.com copying of the Beatles was NOT an example of copyright infringement.  I agreed with him.  I posed many questions pertaining to this  –  few were answered.  As Martha Stewart would likely say to me, “it’s a good thing,” as that means I can either

A.  answer them now

B.  answer them later at emichaelmusic.com  or in an article, book or app

C.  answer them later at a conference, law school or university

D.  answer them later under oath at a deposition

E.  answer them at a restaurant/bar

F.  let someone else answer them

G.  not answer them

I’ll likely opt for option B, or B and F.

I am trying to establish that one can copy INTENTIONALLY without infringing copyright.  Sandals.com copied The Beatles and it was not copyright infringement.  I think a statement like “one can copy INTENTIONALLY without infringing copyright” could be controversial.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

And now to continue from yesterday’s topic  –  song introductions that are likely NOT copyrightable.  Here are a few new songs.  You’ll notice that these are Neil Young-loaded.  That’s simply due to where I was looking/listening  –  it is not scientific or anti-Canadian:

Frank Black  –  Tossed

Caetano Veloso  –  Jasper

Neil Young  –  The Old Laughing Lady

Neil Young  –  The Last Trip To Tulsa

Neil Young  –  Mr. Soul

Neil Young  –  Bringin’ Down Dinner

Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The seven (7) songs from yesterday:

(Again, these are intros that are NOT very copyrightable.)

The Doors  –  Back Door Man

Isaac Hayes  –  By The Time I Get To Phoenix

 Frank Black  –  Hang On To Your Ego

Katy Perry  –  Circle The Drain

Neil Young  –  Without Rings

Pixies  –  Bone Machine

White Zombie  –  Thunder Kiss ’65 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

At some point soon, I really want to explore the opposite  –  COPYRIGHTABLE introductions – highly copyrightable introductions.  I’ll tease by offering a highly highly highly copyrightable introduction.  It’s by The Beatles, a band that formed in Liverpool in the 1950’s.  This was early Beatles  –  pre-Ed Sullivan Beatles  – showing off.  One of the things I think they’re saying is:

“We’re darn good.  We can play well.  Can you play this much this fast?”

Here is their earliest Highly COPYRIGHTABLE intro:

Beatles  –  Like Dreamers Do

When Is A Musical Introduction Copyrightable? Katy Perry, White Zombie, The Pixies, Neil Young, Isaac Hayes


I really liked Frank Reynolds’ post from yesterday.  I hope he doesn’t mind but I’ve reprinted it below.  All I’ve done to change his text is italicize it and BOLD some of it:

“I believe the sandals commercial is like the Black Eyed Peas song that rips off a portion of I’ve Had The Time Of My Life. So, let’s just blame will.i.am for the whole thing.

Great questions posed Dr. H.! It’s definitely not infringement in relation to copyright, and I don’t think they owe Lennon/McCartney (okay, probably just McCartney in this case) anything other than gratitude for coming up with the cool intro idea (which isn’t a copyrightable element). I wouldn’t call it copying, but rather paying homage if they’re even aware that they did it. It’s like the tradition of incorporating other people’s ideas in the blues genre. No one knows who wrote it the first time. I remember a lecture you gave on that, and it shuts up the Zeppelin haters when I use that logic on them. Cheers E. Michael!”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I think an introduction can be copyrightable, i.e., worthy of copyright protection, but with respect to The Beatles, and Sandals, there is no problem.  I agree with Frank  –  from a copyright perspective, the intro of the Beatles’ “Getting Better” has not been infringed by the intro of the Sandals.com commercial.  Here are the songs again:

Sandals – Do It All Again

The Beatles – Getting Better

If we agree that there are introductions that are NOT copyrightable, i.e., do not possess enough originality to be worthy of copyright protection, does it follow that there are introductions that ARE copyrightable?  Copyrightable introductions will be worth pursuing later, but not today.

I thought I would start to listen more carefully and analyze introductions to songs to find the least and most COPYRIGHTABLE introductions, as well as the “in-between” introductions, i.e., introductions that would exhibit some copyrightable elements.  I believe that there is a sliding scale of copyright protection – that some introductions are not copyrightable as musical compositions, some slightly so, some more so, and some extremely so.  The length of the excerpt, both in terms of temporal length as well as number of attacks and/or articulations, as well as its originality would also be factors used in determining how copyright protection should be afforded an introduction.  (That last sentence also applies, of course, to music that follows the introduction.)

My quick take is that there are more introductions that ARE copyrightable than NOT copyrightable.  I need to establish a few guidelines in order to conduct my analysis and report my findings.  Let’s say that we are looking at introductions of more than a few seconds and more than a few notes/attacks/articulations.  (This can get squishy very fast, can’t it?).

I’ve also started down this road  –  1.  delving into the construction and creation of music, and 2.  how copyright is involved in, and relates to, music.  And that brings me to a line from the song, “You Made Me Love You:”

“I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to do it”

I am doing a few things here:

1.  I am asserting that copyright is fluid – that some things are protectible and some not, and some lie “in-between,” i.e., they exhibit some copyright worthiness.  This is driving the conversation NEAR the ballpark, but not in the ball park, of defining copyright.  [Oh no.  Not yet I won’t.]

2.  I am starting to use various words and phrases that might be identical in meaning or nearly identical.  For example – “copyrightable” might be the same as, or similar to, “worthy of copyright protection.”  “Copyright-IBLE” might be the same as “copyright-ABLE,” and so on.  But we are not yet ready for too many SYNONYMS.

To paraphrase Documentarian Marty DiBergi, “But enough of my yacking, let’s boogie…to the introductions of various songs.”  All of these introductions represent very little worthiness of copyright protection as musical compositions.  It is important to note that I am not making musical judgments as I feel these songs have great and musical introductions.  [“Musical” can be a highly complimentary adjective.]  But the copyrightability of these introductions is not analogous to their musical merit.

Here are seven (7) intros today.  Maybe we’ll do seven (7) more tomorrow.

(Again, these are intros that are NOT very copyrightable.)

The Doors  –  Back Door Man

Isaac Hayes  –  By The Time I Get To Phoenix

 Frank Black  –  Hang On To Your Ego

Katy Perry  –  Circle The Drain

Neil Young  –  Without Rings

Pixies  –  Bone Machine

White Zombie  –  Thunder Kiss ’65 

Your thoughts?

Love Street, A Century of Women on Top, TimeHop, Mikasa

I had a great time at Prof. Maggie Lange’s class yesterday and want to thank Maggie and her students at Berklee.  I’ve already been emailed and thanked by a few of them.  I’m quite humbled as I suspect I benefitted more from interactions with them.  Their questions were extremely insightful and their enthusiasm the entire two hours inspired me.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I just became a TimeHop person.  It’s an app that will recapture what you did, photos you took, Facebook and Twitter posts, Foursquare checks-in, etc. on this day one, two or three years ago.  Wicked cool!  It confirms what a great and blessed life I lead, and the wonderful times I’ve had with my Mom and friends.

Three years ago today I wrote –

“With today’s copyright laws, most great composers – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinsky, Ives, etc. – would be as criminal as Girl Talk, Negativland, the Evolution Control Committee or anyone who finds creative preexisting elements and uses them.”

I still agree.  I’m even more fervent about that.

Two years ago today I began the day at Smith College.  (I always loved Smith College and especially their centenary t-shirts – A Century of Women On Top,” Beavis & Butthead implications intended on my part.) I had spoken at the Independent Music Conference and also became Mayor of the Hampshire Council of Governments, a rare and fantastic fusion of idealism, hippiedom and government.  (It is odd to read those three nouns in one sentence.  That is my description only.  Even though I was the Foursquare Mayor, please don’t discredit them!)

Later that morning I drove to see my Mom who was living in Marlborough, Massachusetts.  I had a coo-woo with her and she had her “Dewars on the rocks with a lemon twist” using the Mikasa crystal martini glasses I bought for her.  And I discovered that day that the Mikasa glasses sounded a sonically gorgeous “A 440when struck.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I wanted to post one (1) song today.  I wanted it to have the word, “love,” in its title and be a song I own and love.  I seached for “Love” (searching for love in the exact right place) in my iTunes and found 2,860 songs.  If played back-to-back, they would last 7 days.  Wow – 7 days of peace and love!  Sounds great!  These songs with the word, “LOVE,” in their title take up 16.88 Gb of my iMac.  If only NASA could have had 16.88 Gb for Apollo 13.

The “LOVE” song that hit me just right is….

L O V E    S T R E E T    

by    The Doors

And because Jim Morrison was the lyricist (I think?), the lyrics were original, atypical and memorable.  Phrases such as –

“lazy diamonds, studded flunkies”  – this was how I learned the word, “flunky.”  I asked my parents what a “flunky” was.  They laughed, explained it to me, and then used that word to encourage me as a student for the next few years!

In terms of music theory/composition/structure, “Love Street” is an excellent song to study:

A minor, G Major, G minor, F Major

which is then transposed to

B minor, A Major, A minor, G Major

which then leads it perfectly back to the first four chords beginning on A minor.  (G minor to F Major is essentially a transposition of A minor to G Major.)

When I first heard Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay,” I caught the fact that both songs work on the same idea of transposing a simple motive (in Dylan:  A Major, C# minor becomes G Major, B minor – walking down the guitar neck), in both cases, a series of simple Major and minor chords.  Enough music theory.  There’s a beautiful beach outside waiting for me!

I hope your pre-Thanksgiving Day is going well.  Don’t shop but if you have to, Market Basket is great and run so smoothly!  I was in and out of the store very quickly.  I expect the food shopping/hunting/digging on Wingaersheek Beach to be typically simple and direct today.

Copyright From A – Z, Crime Before Thanksgiving, my 19th Annual Berklee Lecture, Inna & The Farlanders

I always love the Tuesday before Thanksgiving because for the past 19 years I have spoken to students at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.  It has been an annual tradition, and a great honor, for me since 1993.  The second part of the tradition is our Thanksgiving Fish dinner at Legal Seafood in the Prudential Center, across the street from the Berklee classroom.  (The Prudential Center is posted as today’s photograph.  Finally, a post photo that relates precisely and without need for interpretation or metaphor-loading.)

In order to get to Boston, I’ll have to deport myself from Gloucester to Boston.  (I just wanted to use that “deport myself” phrase.)

At some points today, I’ll select some topics for my two-hour presentation.  I’ll choose from these questions and issues and more:

Can One Copy A Bass Line?

Can One Copy A Chord Progression?

Can One Copy A Guitar Solo?

How To Break The Law/How To Get Away With Crime (Crime?  “Fair Use” or The Perfect Crime ?)

What Is Fair Use?

Fair Use Done Right/Wrong

What Is Satire?

What Is Parody?

What Is Right of Publicity?

Can One Sample?

What Is A Mashup And When Are Mashups Legal/Illegal?

Publishing Done Right

Publishing Done Wrong



I will play music from North America, South America, the Caribbean, The European Union, Asia, Africa, Australia-Oceania, and The Middle East.  Even if the Middle East is part of Asia, Africa and Europe, I consider it its own place/continent.  And I’m really thrilled that the CIA agrees with me!

I also consider the Caribbean NOT part of North or South America – it’s too much its own world/continent and shouldn’t be subsumed within NA, SA or The Americas.  The CIA disagrees.

I refuse to play music from Atlantis.  I’ve been boycotting it for awhile.  I have not ruled out music from Antarctica or Arctica (why isn’t it called A – R – C – T – I – C – A?).  Both poles speak to me.  Enough geography talk.

I’ll play music by

Louis Armstrong

Beastie Boys

George Clinton

Miles Davis

Evolution Control Committee

Foo Fighters

Ghostface Killah

Jimi Hendrix

Inna & The Farlanders

George Jones

Albert King

Led Zeppelin

Bob Marley


Roy Orbison

Steve Perry


Rolling Stones


They Might Be Giants

Keith Urban


Hank Williams


Neil Young

Frank Zappa

Inna & The Farlanders  –  I assume that few of you will have Inna & The Farlanders’ The Dream Of Endless Nights album, so I included a link to a performance of “Ivan” from that album.  The studio version is better – get this album!

I could work the phrase, “A – Z,” into the title of this presentation, couldn’t I?  (Now I will.)  And discussing the music of “XSCAPE,” rather than “XENAKIS,” shows just how much of a stretch one (1) of these twenty-six (26) names was!

My questions for you  –

Do you have suggestions for adding topics?

Do you have suggestions for eliminating topics?

Should I write about these topics here at emichaelmusic.com or simply include them in today’s long talk?

Does the “How To Break The Law/How To Get Away With Crime” topic annoy anyone?

I hope your Thanksgiving preparations/travels are going very well.  I’ll have a special Thanksgiving post.

Mrs. General David Petraeus, Your Husband Is Cheatin’ On Us; The World Wide (spider) Web


What have I heard about the blues?  Things like this:

Blues is real

Blues is life

Blues is real life

Blues is the story of life

Blues tells the story of our lives

Blues reflects our times

Blues tells the truth

The blues chases away the blues

The blues is a woman

And when it comes to lovin’, cheatin’, hurtin’ and schemin’, the blues has that covered too.

In the past few days I’ve come to realize that blues is intrinsic to, and helps tell the story of, THE BIG DEAL at the Central Intelligence Agency.  The CIA is in the center of all news right now (Monday, November 12, 2012).  General David Petraeus, the Director of the CIA, resigned last week because of an affair.  We are now finding out more.

Petraeus has been married to Wife (Woman A) for 37 years.  Petraeus had an affair with Woman B.  Woman B then finds out that Woman C might be interested in Petraeus.  If Woman B is comfortable with her role as Sometimes-He’s-Mine, than Woman B does not want Woman C in the picture.  What can happen next?  Woman B tells Woman A that there is a Woman C.  (The songs and lyrics will be spelled out below).  Woman B can go to Woman A and tell her that Your Husband Is Cheating On Us.  (Denise LaSalle already has expressed this so well and will be repeated below).

Now, all of General Petraeus’ shenanigans struck me immediately as a few good ol’ blues songs, and I thought I would summarize the story here by means of the blues.  The more I think about this, the more songs I could throw into the carnal mix but I’ll stop with my first six (with links to five).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I summarize the David Petraeus Blues this way –

I see four (4) characters and five (5) songs that describe the situation.  (I added a sixth song below as well.)

PETRAEUS  –  (“Back Door Man”)  (The Back Door Man will also sing “Mean Red Spider”)

WOMAN A  –  Petraeus’ wife  (“Insane Asylum”)

WOMAN B  –  The Mean Red Spider  (“Your Husband Is Cheatin’ On Us”)

WOMAN C  –  (“Don’t Start Me To Talkin'”)

PETRAEUS  bragging as a surreptitious dog:

Howlin’ Wolf   Back Door Man   “When everybody’s trying to sleep, I’m somewhere making my midnight creep, yes in the morning, when the rooster crow, something tell me I got to go”

WOMAN A to Petraeus:

Willie Dixon & Koko Taylor   Insane Asylum   “When your love has ceased to be, there’s no other place for me, if you don’t hold me in your arms, I’d rather be here from now on”

Woman B, about Woman C, to Woman A:

Denise LaSalle   Your Husband Is Cheatin’ on Us    “Honey your husband is cheating on us, I  know you thought you had a good man, thought you had a man that you could trust.”  “The lies he used to tell you I know them all too well, but now he’s lying to me girl, and that’s why I’m going to tell, hey lady, honey your husband is cheating on us, I know you thought you had a good man, thought you had a man that you could trust”  “Here’s another thing, he’s got too many women, now somebody’s got to go but before I bow out gracefully I’ll tell everything I know!…”

Petraeus on Woman B:

Muddy Waters   Mean Red Spider   “I got a mean red spider and she been webbin’ all over town”  (Amazing how Muddy Waters predicted the World Wide Spider Web back in the late 1940’s!)

Woman C to Petraeus:

Sonny Boy Williamson   Don’t Start Me To Talkin’   “Don’t start me to talkin’, I’ll tell everything I know, I’m gonna break up this signifying cause somebody’s got to go!”

Cash McCall’s  Something Funny Is Going On   would also be a song Woman C could sing to Petraeus (I didn’t include it because I could not find the song on YouTube):   “I smell a rat, babe.  There’s something funny going on, Oh I smell a rat baby, there’s something funny going on, the last time you acted like this I looked around and you were gone, You’re hiding something from me baby, I can tell by the way you act, you’re hiding something from me baby, I can tell by the way you act, now I’m not blind so come on let’s deal with the facts.”

A N D    S O    B E    T H E    B L U E S !



Minotaur Shock, Band Of The Day App


M I N O T A U R     S H O C K 


This morning I was listening to the podcast (from Stitcher) of This Week In Tech: Episode 378 from TWIT.TV – it’s a good, fun episode – when I found out that I had some apps to update on my iPhone 5.  Of course this little iPhone 5 machine can update away while I’m listing to Stitcher, so I proceeded to give my blessings so the updates could update.

Next, “Genius,” the Apple app Recommender-In-Chief that I’ve wisely enabled, suggested a few apps I just had to have.  Check.  Got them.

Next came another Genius app recommendation – BAND OF THE DAY.  Band Of The Day, according to its own statement of honest hype, “unearths the best new music by delivering one new artist a day, every single day.  Through expert curation, free music (commercial-free and uninterrupted), a stunning user interface, videos, photographs, biographies, and more, we help you discover your new favorite band.”  And wouldn’t you know, I loved today’s recommendation – Minotaur Shock.  Even if I was always a bit scared of Newton the Minotaur – maybe he was a centaur and not a minotaur? –  from The Mighty Hercules animated series that was aired when I was a little kid.  (I kept expecting to run into a minotaur one day in the woods near my house. I never did.)

I love the song and video that is being pushed  –  Saundersfoot.  The opening wind chimes sounds work perfectly and the composition unfolds really nicely.  I heard “Saundersfoot” first and then came to the video after hearing about 5 other songs by MInotaur Shock.  I hear elements of acid jazz, ambient and Aaron Copland (his pandiatonicism) in this composition.

The brief description of Minotaur Shock, from the record label, contains a word that will likely scare off some young audiences.  The description:  “Gorgeously warm and tranquil electronic music from a Bristol, UK producer.”  Of course that frightening word is… T R A N Q U I L.”  If tranquil is “not your cup of tea” (to keep up the British theme of these sentences), just tell yourself that the music is warmongering, threatening, inked and bad ass, force yourself to concentrate and listen for 30 minutes, and you’ll be fine, improved and even glad you did.

I wrote that last sentence after taking my own advice and listening to song after song by Dave Edwards aka Minotaur Shock for about 30 minutes (there’s that 30 minute theme again).

This is a rarer moment than in old days – I’ve just found some new music I like.  Often I like people more than their music (I am usually surrounded by music of friends and especially new friends I don’t yet know well).  Orchard, this new Minotaur Shock album, is really good stuff  as is the Band Of The Day app.  I highly recommend both.

Have a great November 6, 2012, Election Day in the United States.