Babacan Article Review

Effect of Popular Music Covers Designed in Different Styles on Acclaim of Pre-Service Teachers by Murat Devrim Babacan

What? An academic journal article? For a blog about song covers? Say what??

Yep, covers are a cool topic and anything can be a topic for an academic article. Try searching for gummy bears or tattoos on google scholar and you’ll see what I mean.

 Anyway, this article is by Murat Devrim Babacan and focuses on the differences between original songs and their covers. Using junior and senior preservice music teachers as participants, the research looks at the idea of cover songs. The research uses a qualitative research method meaning that the researcher collected data that’s more subjective not just numbers. The participants listened to three original songs with two cover versions each, and then filled out a survey afterward.

Babacan aims to find out

  1. What is the distribution of music types that the subjects would like to listen to
  2. What are the criteria that the subjects consider when deciding to like or dislike a song?
  3. What is the distribution of the preferences between original and cover versions of songs?
  4. What are the reasons for liking the song chosen by the subjects?

There’s a lot of useful information in the article so feel free to read it here. For this post, we’re going to focus on the cover songs and the participant’s opinions of them.

First Set

Original 1 Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Cover 1 Billie Jean by The Civil Wars
Cover 2 Billie Jean by Anderson & Roe

Song/Cover

N %

Michael Jackson

14 28.6%
The Civil Wars 26

53.1%

Anderson & Roe 9

18.4%

The Civil Wars cover was preferred more than both the original and the other cover. Compared to the original, the cover by The Civil Wars was better within the “opinions regarding the sensations and emotions raised in the listener’s mind.” This cover is more, “sentimental and sincere, and appealing to the soul.” Essentially, the cover by the civil wars had more of an emotional appeal than the other songs.

Second Set

Original 2 All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
Cover 1 All About That Bass by Avi Kaplan
Cover 2 All About That Bass by Kate Davis

Song/Cover

N %

Meghan Tailor

17 34.7%
Avi Kaplan 12

24.5%

Kate Davis 20

40.8%

For this song, the cover by Kate Davis was preferred to the original because of the vocals. This song was, “performed by a human voice in its entirety.” The listeners appreciated the vocals as being impressive as well as giving the song a very different style. Kate Davis, a vocalist for Postmodern Jukebox, brings a new sound to this song that gives it that extra stylistic edge.

Third Set

Original 3 Değirmenler by Bülent Ortaçgil
Cover 1 Değirmenler by Deniz Sipahi
Cover 2 Değirmenler by Teoman

Song/Cover

N %

Bulent Ortaçgil

16

32.7%

Deniz Sipahi 17

34.7%

Teoman 16

32.7%

Deniz Sipahi’s cover did better than the others because of the instruments, and the arrangement of the piece. The guitar was specifically mentioned as it “added a distinct quality to the song.” this cover fared better because of how the music itself was presented to the audience. Deniz Sipahi’s cover provided a different sound with the instruments.

In conclusion, it seemed that these specific cover versions are preferred over the originals. Yet, the reasons for this are extremely diverse. They range from an emotional response, vocal quality, to instrumental and arrangement. Thus, covers can be seen as better than the originals for a vast variety of reasons. However, this article provides the evidence of three songs and two corresponding covers. This doesn’t provide a full view of all songs or all covers. I think it does offer an interesting point that cover songs are legitimate as a musical form. It also highlights that everyone has their own subjective tastes in music.

Babacan, M.D. (2016). Effect of Popular Music Covers Designed in Different Styles on Acclaim of Pre-Service Teachers. Educational Research and Reviews, 11 (8), 812-822.

Do you agree with the responses by the participants? Check out the song links and let me know what you think.

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