Creating from the Public Domain

 

Inspired by our recent Community Education event where our artist panel discussed the making of "Transference", we wanted to dive deeper on the topic of public domain music. If you’re not familiar with “Transference”, it’s a project where Marmoset’s producers excavated a collection of 100+ year-old songs in the public domain; each song being timeless in its design and worthy of modern interpretation. Marmoset then presented the collection to a diverse swath of artists with the invitation to collaborate. The result is a contrastive collection of songs reimagined into something new.  Read more about Transference here.

So what does it mean when we say something is in the “Public Domain”? This means the copyright protecting the work has expired, therefore the song, story, painting, photograph, or film can be used by anyone without permission or cost. You can change the story or add to it. You can change the melody. You can use the words to a song, change them or write new words to the old melody. Essentially, since no one owns these public works, you're entitled the creative freedom to use and modify each work to your own unique vision.

In many cases, there is a version of the song that once made the song famous. Examples of this are Richie Valens version of “La Bamba” and The Rolling Stones version of “Times On My Side”. In these cases, the arrangement of the Public Domain song falls under copyright, which means your song can’t sound like that particular version. Keeping this in mind, the version of the song you may be hearing in your head is probably already copyright protected. So what’s an artist to do? Reimagine, of course! Take musical liberties like we did with the Transference project and reinvent the tune to be something new.  

 

Public Domain Song List

*We believe no one owns the following work that is archived within the United States Public Domain. Please know we have not vetted this list with a music attorney, there may be red flags that may need to be addressed before releasing it for sale, or in our case, for sync licensing.

Here’s the list…

 

"Red River Valley"

James Kerrigan

1896

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezJkRDQmL2Y&spfreload=10

 

"Frankie and Johnny"

Hughie Cannon

1902

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrizH-_8djg&spfreload=10

 
"Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair"

Stephen Foster

1854

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHSTjJ977jQ&spfreload=10

 

"I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now"

Howard/Orlob Hough/Adams

1909

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PwTwR4P3WI&spfreload=10

 

"You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To)"

Monaco/McCarthy

1913

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB5rlL8vDAo&spfreload=10

 

"All By Myself"

Irving Berlin

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSDcuAwTYfw

 

"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"

Carroll/McCarthy

1917

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYTvOf9sAlA&spfreload=10

 

"For Me and My Gal"

Meyer/Leslie/Goetz

1917

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBcTvA-9BmE&spfreload=10

 

"Wildwood Flower"

Webster/Maud Irving

1860

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5T5Gt-_0Lw&spfreload=10

 

"Ain't We Got Fun?"

Whiting/Egan/Kahn

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7wKHIYysjY&spfreload=10


"Stagger Lee"

Traditional

1911

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCPutYaGFlE&spfreload=10

 

"April Showers"

Silvers/De Sylva

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP-dLOe575g&spfreload=10

 

"Avalon"

Jolson/De Sylva/Rose

1920

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BowO0WQgZCs

 

"On The Beach at Waikiki"

Henry Kailimai/G.H.Stover

1915

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrizH-_8djg&spfreload=10

 

"Ballin The Jack"

Burris/Smith

1913

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BowO0WQgZCs

 

"Beautiful Dreamer"

Stephen Foster

1862

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtgklHQ52WE

 

"On The Sidewalks of New York"

Blake/Lawlor

1894

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AYoiOHqCtk

 

"Entrance of the Gladiators" (Circus)

Fucik

1897

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B0CyOAO8y0

 

"From The Land Of Sky Blue Water"

Cadman/Eberhart

1909

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=defYAwToS5E

 

"Ill Be With You In Apple Blossom Time"

Tilzer/Fleeson

1920

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwCHJnAMDWM

 

"The Yellow Rose of Texas"

J.K.

1858

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY4wJ6eGRcQ

 

"By The Beautiful Sea"

Carroll/Atteridge

1914

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM7FoFej478

 

"I Love You Truly"

Carrie Jacobs Bond

1901

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM9u4YCehKA

 

"I Ain't Got Nobody"

Graham/Williams

1915

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPSyldWdGpk

 

"Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey"

Von Tilzer/McCree

1918

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fd0E22ROHg

 

"I Just Can't Make My Eyes Behave"

Edwards/Cobb

1906

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1iCKOwSDf4

 

"How You Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm"

Donaldson/Lewis/Young

1919

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uxlSNZVQqg

 

"I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles"

Kellette/Kenbrovin

1919

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6SXi4I47Qw

 

"I'm Nobodys Baby"

Davis/Ager/Santley

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN7bZ27M0Js

 

"I'm Just Wild About Harry"

Sissle/Blake

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDu-qmYtEdU

 

"Alexander's Ragtime Band"

Irving Berlin

1911

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-D1_pewQfY

 

"If I Had My Way"

Kendis/Klein

1913

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLpiw1-q-I4

 

"Play a Simple Melody"

Irving Berlin

1914

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWRFrwBuDTU

 

"La Paloma" (Spanish lyrics in PD, english variations are probably not)

Sebastián Iradier

1863

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtSZIdH7qw0

 

"Pretty Baby"

Jackson/Kahn/Van Alstyne

1916

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NWxnUeKC-4

 

"Shine On, Harvest Moon"

Bayes/Norworth

1908

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGUW0uAwDyw

 

"Sippin Cider Through A Straw"

Morgan/Lee

1919

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSgHpAOOYR4

 

"Ain't Nobodys Business"

Grainger/Robbins

1922

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maVauXJxG-4

 

"The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise"

Seitz/Lockhart

1919

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCE8JYNx76M




NEW SONGS ADDED IN JULY


"After You've Gone"

Layton/Creamer

1918

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTkv1sWugO0

 

"Any Time"

Herbert Happy Lawson

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKip5anURdQ

 

"Baby Won't You Please Come Home"

Williams/Warfield

1919

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyDNu6AnENY

 

"Brighten The Corner Where You Are"

Gabriel/Ogdon

1913

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4xucUY_0gg

 

"By The Light of the Silvery Moon"

Edwards/Madden

1914

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=td7lCCO9aaQ

 

"Camptown Races"

Foster

1850

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noYptXPHiAE

 

"Carolina in the Morning"

Donaldson/Kahn

1922

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSVRhJZG8IQ

 

"Cuddle Up A Little Closer Lovey Mine"

Hoschna/Harbach

1908

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huo1XVLGLjg

 

"Darling Nelly Gray"

Hanby

1856

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGSZ7gRsULs

 

"Down Among The Sheltering Palms"

Olman/Brockman

1915

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOt7Mu7-e3o

 

"Down Yonder" (instrumental)

Wolfe Gilbert

1921

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nWaD2sN890

 

"A Good Man Is Hard To Find"

Eddie Green

1918

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h_Vx_EriqY

 

"Green Grass Grew All Around"

Tilzer/Jerome

1912

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r27LxvbVAB0

 

"Hello Ma Baby"

Howard/Emerson

1899

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oovh5OjHXBM

 

"I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard?"

Wingate/Petrie

1894

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v43aQTsVb5o

 

"I've Got Rings on My Fingers"

Scott/Weston/Barnes

1909

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zurOeaO-WSo

 

"Ida Sweet As Apple Cider"

Eddie Leonard

1903

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOOL7PpL3fQ

 

"Last Rose of Summer"

Stevenson/Moore

1803

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzaC37LfOZs

 

"Let Me Call You Sweetheart"

Friedman/Whitson

1910

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUOivKL96xY

 

"Look For The Silver Lining"

Kern/DeSylva

1920

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02-8boTzMyM

 

"Peg O My Heart"

Fisher/Bryan

1913

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whYCO3arKBc

 

"Say It With Music" (inst. with oohs)

Irving Berlin

1920

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUkMon4kuBY

 

"Silver Threads Among the Gold"

Danks/Rexford

1873

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62Vg3nSjR1I

 

"Sweet By and By"

Webster/Bennett

1868

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ_l_mG_bS4

 

"Sweet Violets"

Joseph Emmet

1882

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtnLvrmyh3E

 

"Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay"

1891

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLnf2rUmenA

 

"Take Me Out To The Ball Game"

Tilzer/Norworth

1908

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYXPcT6uhQw

 

"There's a Tavern in the Town"

Traditional

1883

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCaTtKEBe1M

 

"Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye"

Kahn/Erdman/Russo

1922

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-WrYIPbzEI

 

"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans"

Creamer/Layton

1922

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAF5V0V_xlo

 

"Oh, Happy Day"

Edwin Hawkins

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj0DYENxuYM

 

"La Bamba"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zRIHqlycss

 

"Cello Suite"

Bach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGQLXRTl3Z0

 

"The More We Get Together"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dirQWEe27Z8

 

"The Wheels On The Bus"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-35EymzObY

 

"Take Me Out To The Ball Game"

Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSYWX7ZXd5I

 

"House of the Rising Sun"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjqWWUSAdIU

 

"Love Me Do"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gvBkjd_R8Q


"Baa Baa Black Sheep"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TvhD8_Z39A

 

"Happy Birthday"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4R3h7l-RWo

 

"That's All Right"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmopYuF4BzY

 

"You Are My Sunshine"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cBzMSPYKas

 

"Body and Soul"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-b5y6Elvp0


"Rockin Robin"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LklFP1IG9KY