Apparently the people who own the copyright to Charlie Parker’s works don’t release permission easily.
I was reading a book by an acquaintance of mine (“Interaction, Improvisation, and Interplay in Jazz” by Robert Hodson) and he was using “Now’s the Time” by Charlie Parker to further illustrate his very interesting topic of how musicians influence each other’s improvisation as they play.
This is a book for musicians and after some coherent caveats and defining, Hodson uses transcriptions to discuss specific moments in jazz ensemble playing.
However in the transcription of “Now’s the Time” the melody is only suggested by the rhythm. Most of the pitches have been left out “to respect the copyright provisions.” In his footnote, Hodson says “The reader can find complete copies” of melodies he doesn’t fully notate “In various fake books.”
I did find “Now’s the Time” in a fake book. Looking at it I quickly realized that I know the tune and that the tune primarily consists of vary simple variations of three notes. Good grief.
I will ask Rob when I get a chance to get the back story on this. But it strikes me as ludicrous that he would be forced to omit this kind of information and cumbersome for people reading his book to go find the tunes for comparison. It may be that just expects his audience to be literate enough to basically remember the tunes. The Parker piece is one I recognize and I am far from a jazz cognoscenti (or as one adjunct teacher put it to me, “a jazzer).
Then on this morning on NPR’s “Living on Earth” I half listend to a report on how patents are being taken out on basic things like an entire indigenous population’s genes (Guaymi Indians in Panama). This was the U.S. government’s claim. The U.S. government has also filed patents for human cell lines in people of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Bob Carter of the CBC called this bio-piracy.
When asked for the worst examples of this kind of patenting Carter mentioned the Monsata corporation attempting to patent the genetic makeup of soybeans and Syngenta coporation doing the same to the basic flowering mechanism of all plants.
I lay in bed and thought about the romantic notions of Native Americans not owning land or game but using what was around them in ways that respected resources as gifts from outside themselves.
Also I thought of being taught as a child that the world was God’s and so was everything in it. People were just here to use it responsibly.
My religous background can be a curse sometimes but it also a gift when it keeps me idealistic.
Ultimately shutting down people’s free access to ideas will stunt humanity’s ability to become itself more deeply. Commodification of this kind of thing seems very wrong to me. But hey it’s just my opinion.
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