Who owns the music?
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is in the forefront of addressing the complex issues with which
all archives are now grappling. Last winter, the Ethnomusicology
Department's conference on "The Role of the University Sound
Archive in the Twenty-First Century" drew scholars from around
who spent six years as director of the ethnomusicology archive at
Indiana University and 12 years as director of Smithsonian Folkways
Recordings at the Smithsonian Institute before coming to UCLA in
2000, has written extensively about these issues, and he serves
as a member of the International Council for Traditional Music's
Committee on Musical Copyright.
law alone, he says, won't solve the problem. In some respects, in
fact, new laws could make things more difficult for musicians and
"most musicians take musical ideas and transform them,"
Seeger says, "there is a distinct possibility that more laws
will further inhibit live, creative performances and restrict the
exchange of musical ideas."
African-American tradition, for example, places great emphasis on
improvisation, notes Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje M.A. '72, Ph.D. '78,
director of the Ethnomusicology Archive. DjeDje is an authority
in both African and African-American music, the result of a personal
journey that first saw her preparing to become a classical concert
pianist and then led her back to her roots in her hometown of Jesup,
Georgia, where she studied the gospel and spiritual music she grew
up with. In that culture, she explains, performers start with a
basic body of material "music that was created, say,
during the slave era, spirituals like 'Go Down Moses.' From there,
each performer goes on to tell his own story, his own version of
'Go Down Moses.' It becomes a new song each time someone creates