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Cover Versions in Popular Music

Call for papers

Cover Versions in Popular Music

Two issues on covers have been published: Cover versions – n° 7-1 and Recover n° 7-2.

An issue edited by Matthieu Saladin.

Deadline for submissions: April 15th 2009

Covers in their various forms chronicle the history of popular musics. They range from respectful tributes to parodies and pastiches, from music learning or simple exercises in style to fan group identification, or even from commercial exploitation – if not plundering – to appropriating or reworking musical traditions. They are also a medium through which genres invent and reinvent themselves. Rock ‘n’ roll itself is sometimes considered to have been created by a 1954 cover. Such fruitful hijackings mark the history of blues and jazz, and can also be found in dub’s manipulations and reshapings, electronic music’s remixes or hip hop’s sampling.

Whatever the type, a cover consists in appropriating an existing material, lost and found songs, elements of a shared musical memory, that will have to be reformulated according to personal strategies of (mis)appropriation. In their use of preexisting tunes, covers examine origin and originality, their functions and their modes of appearance, shifting the relationships of authoriality thus renewing with an aesthetic of imitation. With covers, imitation is understood as a constitutive element of creation rather than its illegitimate back side or its pale copy in disguise.

What new light can they then bring to the act of creation within popular music, as well as to the latter’s relationships to their own history? How can covers inform us about the ontology of popular musics? What are the different interrogations specific to each type of cover (tribute, diversion, parody, revival, recontextualization, etc.)?

This next issue of Volume ! would like to propose a multidisciplinary approach to these questions, and gather contributions that would examine covers through the diversity of their forms. General analyses and case studies are expected and welcome. Contributions must be sent by email before April 15th 2009 to the following addresses: editions[at]seteun[dot]net, matthieu.saladin[at]wanadoo[dot]fr