Encouraging saints around the world since 1991 !!



Our background MIDI is "Hosanna (It's Jesus!)",
arranged by Fred Scorza

 

The "Puff" Connection...

 

Is the melody of "Hosanna (It's Jesus!)"
the same as "Puff The Magic Dragon?

We'll let you be the judge!

The adventure all began with an email...


Original email to us from a pastor in Canada, dated 3/5/02
>
> Dear folks, you might want to listen to (the) song "Puff the Magic
> Dragon" (Peter, Paul and Mary) because "Hosanna (It's Jesus)" is
> virtually the same in the main theme.
>
> When we were kids, my sister and I made up a Christmas song... we found out
> that it was "silver bells" when we sang it for my mother! Please let the
> author know that this tune is taken...
>
> Some of the other songs are excellent, thanks for your work and creativity!

> (name withheld)  Pastor of Knox Evangelical Free Church, Edmonton,
> Alberta, Canada


My reply to the pastor in Canada, dated 3/5/02

> Thanks for your email.
>
> Maintaining integrity is crucial in ministry, and vital in copyright protection and
authorship.
>
> A short time after I wrote "Hosanna (It's Jesus!)", our worship team joked
> with me that this song can be sung as a round with "Puff". Although I didn't
> realize it at the time of writing, the chord progression is almost the same.
>
> Using identical chord progressions is common practice. "I'm Gonna
> Sing, Sing, Sing", "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", "This Train Is Bound For
> Glory" and "Oh When The Saints" can all be sung together, because they use the
> same chord progression.
>
> I will contact the writer of "Puff The Magic Dragon". If he thinks the melodies are
> too close to each other, I'll take the song off the web site and change my chord
> progression and melody. It's the right thing to do...
>
> Grateful again for your words of encouragement...
>
> May the Lord be honored in all things,
>
> Ralph Merrifield, New Hope Music
>
> htp://newhopemusic.com
>


Email from Elton Smith (songwriter and director of songsofpraise.org)

I listened to your song and the melody is different from "Puff".
You can copyright a melody, but you really can't copyright a chord
progression. So, you are fine as far as I can tell.


Email to Noel Paul Stookey ("Paul", from "Peter, Paul & Mary")

Hi Noel!

I visited your web site, and also the one you set up for "Peter, Paul & Mary". Wonderful designs!

I'm writing to seek your advice on a question that came up this morning...

I am a Christian songwriter & worship leader based out of a young church in Westboro Massachusetts. Over 500 people/day come to visit our web site, New Hope Music; since 1991, our music has traveled to 188 countries and all 50 states. We offer over 300 original, Scripture-based songs and hymns for people to download, free of charge, off of the Internet.

I received an email from a pastor in Canada mentioning a similarity between a Palm Sunday chorus I wrote and "Puff The Magic Dragon" (his email is attached).

Although the chord progression is the same, I and our mutual friend Elton Smith don't think that the melodies are similar enough to merit changing the praise chorus in question - "Hosanna (It's Jesus!).

I realize that Peter wrote the melody, but would like your counsel, as a Christian brother, as to whether the songs are too close to each other melodically.

It's crucial to be ethical in every way in the service of our King. If you feel that our song is too similar to "Puff The Magic Dragon", I will make the necessary changes to correct it.

Look forward to your reply,

Your colaborer in encouraging saints around the world,

Ralph Merrifield, New Hope Music


Email response from Noel Paul Stookey, dated 3/6/02

>> in my opinion there's no conflict. but, as you pointed out, i'm not the
author. i'd suggest you contact peter's office directly..., include the attachment,
and i'd be surprised if his response was not the same as my own.

noel


My email to Peter Yarrow     ("Peter",  from "Peter, Paul & Mary")
  
                                           
(writer of the music of "Puff The Magic Dragon")

Greetings from New England, Peter!

Based on advice given to me by Noel Stookey, I'm writing to seek your input on a question that came up yesterday morning...

I am a Christian songwriter & worship leader based out of a young church in Westboro Massachusetts. Over 500 people/day come to visit our web site, New Hope Music; since 1991, our music has traveled to 188 countries and all 50 states. We offer over 300 original, Bible-based songs and hymns for people to download, free of charge, off of the Internet.

I received an email from a pastor in Canada mentioning a similarity between a Palm Sunday chorus I wrote and "Puff The Magic Dragon" (his email is copied below).

Although the chord progression is the same, I, and several others I asked, don't think that the melodies are similar enough to merit changing the chorus in question.

Because you wrote the melody to "Puff The Magic Dragon", I would like your counsel as to whether the songs are too close to each other melodically.

It's crucial to be ethical in every way in Christian service. Peter, if you feel that our song is too similar to "Puff The Magic Dragon", I will make the necessary changes to correct it.

Thank you for your wonderful contribution to folk music over the last few decades.
The world is a better place because of you...

Look forward to your reply,

Ralph Merrifield, New Hope Music

http://newhopemusic.com


PS. I've attached a MIDI and Real Audio file of the song. Lyrics below...


"Hosanna (It's Jesus!)

Hosanna, hosanna,
blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna, hosanna,
blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

Son of David, the King of Israel
Our Salvation, it's Jesus! Jesus !! (chorus)

Peace in heaven and glory to the earth
Hosanna in the highest. Jesus ! (chorus)

Rejoice greatly, behold your King has come
Shout in vict'ry it's Jesus ! Jesus !! (chorus)

I am still awaiting Peter Yarrow's reply...


Email from a choir director in New Jersey (March 2008)

I was just writing you to say that “Hosanna! (It’s Jesus)” was written to Puff. Not having read the commentary about such which is posted on your site, I then decided not to send it noting that technically your song is not exactly the same.  Then I went back and noticed for the first time the information posted on your site about it and decided my first impression is probably correct.

Obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks the melody is just too similar to Puff the Magic Dragon and one cannot listen to it without becoming aware of its derivation.  Composers use musical quotes all the time but this is almost verbatim with very little original variation or development.   In fact, as a performer, I typically put at least that much variation in anything I play that’s in song form without even giving myself arranging and adaptation credit.

Thanks for otherwise providing an excellent resource.  Keep up the good work!


 

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