SPOILERS Maskerade Discussion *Spoilers*

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=Tamar

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Things like the chandelier-sabotage attempt and the rooftop chase by the chanting mob? Or the people who don't recognize their nearest and dearest because of a tiny mask?
 

RathDarkblade

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Hmm ... or how about, this bit? (I'm just quoting off memory)

...and he will have -- yes, his huge organ--

Agnes blushed hotly in the darkness.

... on which, that is, he will play many operatic classics.

It will be dark, Agnes thought. There will be rats.
(from "Maskerade")
I agree, I'm not all that fond of either ALW or G&S. ALW is an impresario, he's out to make money and he's conned people into thinking his music is the greatest thing since sliced bread. :rolleyes:

G&S is OK. Sullivan composed some very good music, and Gilbert's lyrics are clever. It's just done by too many people, and sometimes ineptly -- so when someone comes along and does it well, it's surprising.
 

Tonyblack

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Things like the chandelier-sabotage attempt and the rooftop chase by the chanting mob? Or the people who don't recognize their nearest and dearest because of a tiny mask?
Hi rip off of Puccini's "La Faniculla del West" for his probably, most recognised tune in the opera is a little too much.
 

RathDarkblade

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Don't feel bad, Tony. ALW ripped off Meyerbeer and Roger Waters too. TheatreNerds has a whole page devoted to his various *ahem* misdeeds.

Like I said: ALW is an impresario, not a serious musician. He "borrows" from other people all the time. But heck, Handel borrowed from himself constantly: for instance, his "For unto us a child is born" (from "Messiah", 1742) is almost identical to his "No, di voi non vo' fidarmi" (from his earlier opera, "Les Sirènes", HWV 189, 1741). The same duet provided material for his later chorale, "All we like sheep" (from "Messiah" again). ;)

Similarly, Handel wrote the music (or at least most of it) for "And he shall purify" and "All we like sheep" (from Messiah - again, written in 1742) a year earlier, when he wrote the Italian cantatas for Quel fior, HWV 192. Listen to that, then listen to "All we like sheep" and "And he shall purify". The soprano and alto lines are virtually identical, while the tenor and bass lines are "borrowed" from the accompaniment for "Quel fior". ;)

Handel wasn't the only one to "recycle" his own music. Rossini did it all the time, I'm sure. But there are two major differences:

1. There is a major difference, ethically speaking, between re-using your own work and re-using other people's.

2. More importantly, before 1926 -- in the USA, at least -- copyright laws as regards books, film, photography and music (among others) simply didn't exist. That inevitably created a creative free-for-all. Even today, any books, music, film or photographs that were created before 1926 are in the public domain. (See US Copyright law from wiki).

So legally speaking, ALW is within his rights to re-use a bar or two of Puccini, Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn etc. and get away with it. (Note that I said "a bar or two". He is definitely NOT allowed to take an entire song, re-write the lyrics, and pass it off on his own. Nor is he allowed to sample Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and re-use it in the "Phantom" signature tune, as above -- but he did it anyway, and it's too late now).

Legally speaking, that's what he is allowed and not allowed to do. Ethically, of course, what he's done is monstrous -- but I doubt either he or any of his fans care, which is a pity. :(
 

Woofb

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Oct 24, 2021
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If you get the chance, Rathdarkblade, look up Kit & the Widow’s comic songs spoofing classical music (double act rather like Flanders & Swann). I believe they actually did a song based on ALW called “you too could write your own West End Show (Steal It From Somebody Else)”, as well as a Glyndebourne spoof about a bitchy gay couple arguing in the car on the way to the most notorious conspicuous-consumption opera experience in England, where who you meet/what you eat/how you show off is at least as important as the actual music.

i think Maskerade is possibly one of the weaker Witches books, because so much is crammed in—the police procedural (having an undercover police unit which does its own thing is workable on the face of it—but we then see no reference to “Cable Street Particulars” until Night Watch where it’s so much the main antagonist that I think Vimes would sooner hand his badge to “Mayonnaise” Quirke then start all that up again…)

it’s a reverse of Lords & Ladies—instead of the Wizards coming to Lancre, it’s the Witches going to Ankh-Morpork.

it’s a pity we only really see Agnes as third witch twice. She’s a strong character in a lot of ways—self-sabotaging in her persistent worrying about sex and her weight and blushing, but also clear-sighted in realising that her inner voice isn’t all that bright, and able to realise her double perspective gives her something to use.
After Carpe Jugulum Pterry starts again with the Young Witches, and the ultimate supervisors are Nanny and Granny, so I don’t think there’s any further reference to what happens to Agnes.
Incidental pleasures—Nanny, Granny and Greebo on the stage-coach: Nanny settles down to share food and drink (mostly theirs) with other people, then realises she should have gone to the privy before she left, and has Granny pass her dock leaves.
Death officiating at the swan song from Lohenshaak (“Loan Shark”) for Lohengrin, concluding with the words “I’m cutting my own throat!” in German.
Greebo’s increasingly embarrassed changes between feline and human form. I think the funniest is when he clutches the jelly-mould to his “groinal area”, howls because it contains lukewarm beef dripping, and gets a series of increasingly-deadpan remarks of the “you don’t see that every day” kind from witnesses to part or all of the action.
I do like that Granny and Nanny can send each other up. Granny is completely unshockable at Rosie Palm’s, since a witch can get on with everyone, while Nanny reaches out for her inner crone in discovering (well, Granny discovering) she’s been swindled. Of course, Nanny finds it so much easier I have things in common with nobody having very much. Both of them are comfortable with their own barter economy, but they’re willing to burn all the conspicuous consumption in the form of “borrowing” which is the masquerade necessary to find the moral—the fitting—ending.
 

=Tamar

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RathDarkblade wrote: "before 1926 -- in the USA, at least -- copyright laws as regards books, film, photography and music (among others) simply didn't exist. That inevitably created a creative free-for-all. Even today, any books, music, film or photographs that were created before 1926 are in the public domain. (See US Copyright law from wiki)."

Whooee. I am not a lawyer, but sheesh. The reason Gilbert and Sullivan had to finance simultaneous performances of their operettas in the USA and in England was that the existing US copyright law didn't recognize British copyrights, but it sure as heck existed for USA works. It was limited to 28 years and could be renewed once, for a total of 56 years, under the old system. Even with some modernizing changes, every year the date-of-creation for things still being copyright under the old rules moves up; it used to be 1923, now it's 1926. Now I believe it's life-plus-70, but as I understand it that was pushed into law by Disney so they could hang onto Mickey Mouse.
 

RathDarkblade

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Whoops! Sorry, =Tamar. What I meant was what wiki says: "In the United States, works published before January 1, 1926, are in the public domain."

Duh, copyright law be hard. =P @ self ;)
 

=Tamar

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May 20, 2012
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The wiki sentence would be clearer if it said that In the United States works copyrighted before January 1, 1926 have now lost copyright and are in the public domain.

Anyway, I agree with Woofb that the Cable Street Particulars are kind of a sore thumb in Maskerade. I think there was something about how Vimes didn't like it but saw the necessity. I think they needed a name change.

We see Agnes as a witch when she is the narrator in the 1999 short story "The Sea and Little Fishes", which seems to be more about Granny and how other witches see her, but aso shows us Agnes learning about how the Ramtops witches operate.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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i think Maskerade is possibly one of the weaker Witches books
I agree. It's my least favorite of the Witches books. To me it's much closer to the roundworld cultural parodies of Moving Pictures and Soul Music than it is to the great Witches books. There are no real dramatic stakes here. No real headology challenge for Granny. It's just a backstage musical story with witches thrown in. Hilarious in parts, but really a trifle from a narrative point of view.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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Even with some modernizing changes, every year the date-of-creation for things still being copyright under the old rules moves up; it used to be 1923, now it's 1926. Now I believe it's life-plus-70, but as I understand it that was pushed into law by Disney so they could hang onto Mickey Mouse.
As a copyrighted author, I still don't understand how some works that went into the public domain can suddenly be copyrighted again by someone other than the original creators. Here's an example. When the copyright for the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" ran out, every TV station in America used to run it on Christmas Eve because it was in the public domain. But at some point, I believe NBC was somehow able to copyright it (or somehow purchase the broadcast rights), so now they're only network allowed to broadcast it.
 

RathDarkblade

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Mar 24, 2015
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I agree. It's my least favorite of the Witches books. To me it's much closer to the roundworld cultural parodies of Moving Pictures and Soul Music than it is to the great Witches books. There are no real dramatic stakes here. No real headology challenge for Granny. It's just a backstage musical story with witches thrown in. Hilarious in parts, but really a trifle from a narrative point of view.
I'm afraid I have to disagree, raisindot:

1. As a reader, I like the roundworld cultural parodies like Moving Pictures and Soul Music, and seeing how many things I can recognise. :)

2. If a roundworld cultural parody means a book is "unworthy", what about "Wyrd Sisters"? There are loads of stakes there: the fate of Lancre and the respect shown for witches, for one (and two). ;)

3. Similarly, there are stakes here: people are dying, an innocent man is suspected (and eventually accused) of the crimes - and Agnes/Perdita is in the middle of it. Granny and Nanny need to solve this before it's too late (i.e. before the killer gets away, which he nearly does).

4. I also object to your verdict of "No headology challenge". She needs to sort Walter Plinge and his mother out, which is not an easy task. Walter's mind, especially, is all tangled up.

That's why I think Maskerade is a good book. Feel free to disagree if you like! ;) That's what debate is all about. :)
 

=Tamar

Sergeant-at-Arms
May 20, 2012
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raisindot wrote:
"
I still don't understand how some works that went into the public domain can suddenly be copyrighted again by someone other than the original creators. Here's an example. When the copyright for the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" ran out, every TV station in America used to run it on Christmas Eve because it was in the public domain. But at some point, I believe NBC was somehow able to copyright it (or somehow purchase the broadcast rights), so now they're only network allowed to broadcast it."

I think it's another case of "old rules". Turner Inc bought all the old copyrights along with the old movies. If i understand it correctly and I may be totally wrong, technically some of the old copyrights were still in force? But there was another old rule, a vile one in my opinion, that allowed stuff that was always in public domain to be copyrighted if someone got there first. (A lot of genuine old folk songs were suddenly copyrighted when some creep figured that out. I think, but I may be wrong, that something was done about that.)

As a wild guess, it may have something to do with the fact that when some of those movies were made, TV wasn't around, so the copyright didn't cover TV showings? Like the way authors now have to consider possible future methods; if their contract doesn't specify that they aren't selling digital rights or translation rights, they lose them to the publisher. Copyright is a hellacious mess, enough to have made people invent the Creative Commons copyright, because it isn't enough to just let something loose, you have to prevent it from being kidnapped.
 
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Tonyblack

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Ralph Vaughan Williams, as well as Gustav Holst travelled all over the British Isles collecting folk songs that were on the point of dying out along with the old folk that still remembered them. Many of these songs and tunes were used to create new music by the composers, as well as saving the music for history.

Interestingly, there is a film called "Song Catcher" about a music teacher who travelled into Appalachia to collect the old folk songs from there. Interestingly, the songs were often ones that had been brought to the Americas by British immigrants, and were almost unrecognisable to the original songs.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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raisindot wrote:
As a wild guess, it may have something to do with the fact that when some of those movies were made, TV wasn't around, so the copyright didn't cover TV showings? Like the way authors now have to consider possible future methods; if their contract doesn't specify that they aren't selling digital rights or translation rights, they lose them to the publisher. Copyright is a hellacious mess, enough to have made people invent the Creative Commons copyright, because it isn't enough to just let something loose, you have to prevent it from being kidnapped.
If you're interested in the It's a Wonderful Life story, here's a link that tells how the original movie studio was able to use a loophole to assert its right to license showings and take it out the public domain.

https://blogs.loc.gov/copyright/2017/12/its-a-wonderful-life/
 

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