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PUBLIC DOMAIN MUSIC FOR CHRISTMAS 2021

I have consolidated and updated this post from older posts of mine:

The concept of the Public Domain all songs before 1926 and on January 1st, 2022 known as Public Domain Day that changes to 1927

I quoted and paraphrased Wikipedia

Pubic Domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.

This means the public owns these works, not an individual author or artist as copyright law dictates. With correct research, anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it.

Here are some invaluable tools to understanding and finding Entertainment in the Public Domain:

I found this @ Stanford University

Summed up the research required: There are four common ways that works arrive in the public domain:

  • the copyright has expired (MY FAVORITE)
  • the copyright owner failed to follow copyright renewal rules
  • the copyright owner deliberately places it in the public domain, known as “dedication,” or
  • copyright law does not protect this type of work.

 

The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille

The Pilgrim, directed by Charlie Chaplin

Our Hospitality, directed by Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone

The Covered Wagon, directed by James Cruze

Scaramouche, directed by Rex Ingram

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan and the Golden Lion

Agatha Christie, The Murder on the Links

Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis

e.e. cummings, Tulips and Chimneys

Robert Frost, New Hampshire

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay

D.H. Lawrence, Kangaroo

Elmer Rice, The Adding Machine

Bertrand and Dora Russell, The Prospects of Industrial Civilization

Carl Sandberg, Rootabaga Pigeons

Edith Wharton, A Son at the Front

P.G. Wodehouse, works including The Inimitable Jeeves and Leave it to Psmith

These timeless works of art contribute to mankind, and can be republished or used for free by any member of the public.  

Holiday songs that ARE in the Public Domain.

Or written before 1926 and yours to use for free! 

See the disclaimer below this list.

  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Away In A Manger
  • Coventry Carol
  • Deck The Halls
  • For Unto Us
  • Go Tell It On The Mountain
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • Good King Wenceslas
  • Hallelujah Chorus
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • Here We Come A-Caroling (Wassail Song)
  • I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
  • I Saw Three Ships
  • In The Bleak Midwinter
  • It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  • Jingle Bells
  • Jolly Old St. Nicholas
  • Joy To The World not the Three Dog Night version
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • O Come O Come Emmanuel
  • O Holy Night
  • O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  • Once In Royal David’s City
  • Silent Night
  • The First Noel
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Up On The Housetop
  • We Three Kings
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • What Child Is This

But the performance by someone done recently would require permission to use in a video or any other use of that performance.

So you will be liable if you post a performance of a public domain song composed after 1925.  Although Silent Night was written before 1925 , this is a perfect example of a song performance of a public domain song not being “royality-free”  Youtube must pay who ever has the rights for this performance by The Temptations. I suggest using your own version of one of these songs to avoid any copyright hassles.

 

BESSIE SMITH “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”

Photo by Carl Van Vechten

Finding music in the public domain means listening to plenty of music from the past.. I learned the musicians,whose names change  but the message remains the same. Bessie Smith, came into my world when Janis Joplin bought her a headstone, before Janis died of an overdose at 27(seems like the lifespan of the driven. )  Bessie has the voice. This song is gr8.  Written by Charles Warfield and Clarence Williams in 1919 and Louie Prima and Frank Sinatra also sang this song. ” I learned a lot studying this song’s past.

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Jazz Pioneers

The early days of jazz spawned great women jazz pianists —

Mary Lou Williams

This self-taught musician started her career at age seven in Pittsburgh as “the little piano girl of East Liberty.” She wrote, arranged and performed with the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.


Sweet Emma Barrett, Billie Pierce, Jeanette Kimball, Mary Lou Williams,  among them. These women were so talented some eventually became band leaders, and these ground-breaking women made some significant contributions to Jazz. Here are some:

Sweet Emma Barrett

She played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, sometimes one-handed after a stroke. Here she is being interviewed by Art Duke and performing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Billie Pierce

Another member of the renown Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Here she is performing with her husband Dede. I appreciate the enhanced audio (by Konrad Klingelfus) on this track.



Jeanette Kimball

Jeanette Kimball was classically trained and played in “society bands” with Papa Celestin. Here’s an example:

She finally got to record on her own, and you can hear her piano chops: