Teaching covers

Tue 06 May 2014 09:21 AM

We talked about covers today in my philosophy of art class.

To my surprise, a few students preferred the Otis Redding version of "Respect" to Aretha Franklin's. The students self-identified as fans of Otis Redding and were already familiar with the track.

I ran out of class time, so we didn't get to listen to the Cardigan's cover of "Iron Man". We did have time for Tiny Tim and the Brave Combo's cover of "Stairway to Heaven" and Dokaka's multi-track a capella version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", though. Both were polarizing. Some people liked them, others were horrified. Responses included: "This is soo cool", "Creative! But it was horrible", and "Tiny Tim scares me".


from: Greg

Wed 07 May 2014 06:11 AM

Just curious: have you thought about mash-ups, and how they relate (if at all) to your taxonomy of covers?

from: P.D.

Sat 17 May 2014 06:46 PM

Our taxonomy applies to the things that are generally called covers. So it doesn't directly apply to mash-ups or parodies.

That said, I think it may be possible to apply something like our distinctions. Mashups tend to be new (albeit derivative) works, akin to what we call transformative covers. However, many are new works which are in part about the original works that are being mashed up. That makes them more like what we call referential covers. So the taxonomy suggests that we should ask how much the mashup is about the separate sources that are mashed up and how much it uses those to make a new thing that stands on its own.