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Introduction to the database

SecondHandSongs is a database of cover songs and samples. An advanced database is used which stores the data in a reusable and maintainable way.

What is a work?

A work is the immaterial concept of a musical piece of art. It usually has one or more credits, which are acknowledgments of those who contributed to a work. An artist can be credited as a composer of a work (writing the music), as an author of a work (writing the lyrics), or both.

Example: the work Summertime was written by composer George Gershwin and authors Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward.

What is a performance?

A performance is a version of a work performed by one or more performing artists. A performance can be an original or a cover or sampling version.

How is an original performance defined?

SHS defines three types of originals for a work.

  • The first (public) performance of a work
  • The first recording of a work
  • The first release of a work
    Example: the work Apache has two originals. Bert Weedon recorded it first in May 1960 and The Shadows released it first in July 1960.

Note: a work should always have at least one original performance associated with it, unless the work is a traditional.

How is a cover version defined?

A cover is a performance of a work that is not an original, performed by an artist different from the artist performing the original performance.

Example: the 1973 version of Apache by Incredible Bongo Band is a cover version because it is neither the original performance, recording or release of the work.

What is an adaptation?

An adaptation is a new version of a work, for instance a translation. An adaptation usually has new credits, and can have original and cover performances as well.

Example: the French work Comme d'habitude was adapted into English by Paul Anka as My Way.

An adaptation can be based on multiple works as well.

Example: the work Scarborough Fair/Canticle was adapted from the works Scarborough Fair and The Side of a Hill.

What is a sample?

A sample is a piece of a performance reused in another performance.

Example: Black Eyed Peas used a sample of Misirlou by Dick Dale and His Del-Tones in their song Pump It.

Are remixes considered as samples?

A remix is an alternate mix of a recorded performance different from the original version, made using the techniques of audio editing. Note that we also classify mash-ups as remixes. Remixes are not included in our database, except when the remix itself is sampled or covered by another artist.

Example: The 1986 remix of Give it Up or Turnit a Loose by James Brown was sampled by many hip hop artists, including Public Enemy.

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