On Lyric Changes For Your Church Services

Recently a gentleman commented to our FB Solo Thoughts Group with a statement that we hear all too often.  In essence, he stated that when he would choose songs to sing in church and the lyrics in places were inappropriate for his service, he would simply rewrite those lyrics to fit.

Julia Wade, our Director of Digital Sheet Music, brought the comment to me for a “yet again” discussion that was now becoming far too repetitive.

She had written him back the following:

Thanks so much for your contributions to the conversations here in this group!

With respect to changing lyrics, you bring up a relatively constant issue that has come up again and again over the years. It was interesting to me that your comment came on the heels of an hour-long conversation with a soloist/music committee chairperson who called recently to discuss the changing of lyrics for a composer’s work represented on WFM.

That conversation, combined with your comment, showed me one more time that this issue is a timely issue. So, I asked my partner, Peter Link, who is a successful and experienced composer, to give a definitive statement on this subject.

Since this topic of changing lyrics is a new subject, Peter has posted his response to all concerned in a new conversation thread.

Here is his answer:

On Lyric Changes For Your Church Services

One does not even consider rewriting Shakespeare to fit their needs. No one would ever consider taking someone’s movie and adding their own scenes to it to make it “better.” I can’t imagine anyone buying a Picasso and bringing it home and adding their own brush strokes to the work to “improve” it. Would anyone ever rewrite the fourth chapter of a Hemingway novel to better the writing?

Perhaps one could get away with doing these things in private, but never in public.

These works of art belong to the artists who created them and are sacrosanct and inviolable to the original artist who created them whether or not the original artist is a master of his/her work or a beginner.  Their “intellectual property” is clearly protected by copywriter law.  So, consequently, changing someone’s lyrics or music to “better fit” one’s needs is not only illegal, but also immoral.  Simply put, their work is not yours to change, whatever your philosophy.

Rather, we would strongly suggest, if the song’s lyrics do not fit your message, go back to your research work and find another song that does.

If your neighbor’s new car is blue, yet you wish it were red, you may not repaint it to your satisfaction.  It belongs to them.  There is a principle here that really needs a deeper understanding by many, it seems.

In essence, “Thou shalt not steal.”

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Link

CEO & Creative Director

Watchfire Music

Nuff said.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply


Get Adobe Flash player