Just thinking out loud
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Let me be clear that, despite any other opinions on this issue, I think it is wise for churches to not use the Edelweiss melody. Though it may be interesting to consider the details of the issue, from both a legal & a moral (Matthew 22:39) standpoint, it may be better to err on the side of not using it.
I have a few problems with the claims that it is illegal to use the Edelweiss melody with other words.
Note that the primary issue is performance. Some accompanists might copy the Edelweiss melody without paying (directly or indirectly) any royalties. Most often, though, the only written material is the benediction lyrics, “to the tune of Edelweiss”, & possibly chords for the accompanist. (Chord progressions are not covered by copyright.)
Indeed, the Edelweiss benedictions actually increased the market for legal, royalty-paying Edelweiss sheet music, as many accompanists bought the sheet music in order to play the benediction.
Though it would seem obvious that Rodgers was more concerned about artistic considerations than monetary ones. I’ve never, however, understood putting constraints on other artists for artistic considerations.
(Did Rodgers & his collaborators have Twain’s permission to adapt A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court into a musical? Regardless of who “held” the copyright or whether it had passed into the public domain.)
last updated 10 days ago #