The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

it takes more talent to create a good parody than an original song

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/21/2012 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,421 times Debate No: 28508
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




as sure as mushrooms pop up after a hard rain, wherever there's a hit tune, parodies will follow. the vast majority of them are terrible however the good ones are pure gold. i feel it takes more talent to create a genuinely good parody than it does to create an original song.

i define a genuinely good parody as one that is as true to the original as possible while being its own unique creation.

the first two links to the right ("tik tok" and "friday"), for example, i feel are not good parodies:

they do little more than mock the original, make obvious and/or cliched references, force lyrics into place, and the singing is not the most pleasant.

the remaining two ( "avengers assemble", and "booty pop"), however, i believe are excellent parodies:


the songs are immediately recognizable but the subject is completely unrelated. instead of having full freedom to create a song out of whole cloth, the parody artist has to come up with a completely unique concept while fitting it into a rigid framework of rhyme and scansion.


I'd like to thank my opponent for starting this debate. Normally I address my opponent's case, then present my own. However in this case, I will simply present my own.

Let us remember that this debate is not about which are more entertaining, but which take more talent to create. From this, the entertainment value of any song or parody is completely meaningless.

Let us also remember that based on the resolution, I am only arguing based on an "original song" and not just your run of the mill song.

== CON'S CASE ==

It is simple once you stop, breakdown and compare the two options. An original song requires the creation of unique lyrics as well as unique music. A good parody copies the music and only requires unique lyrics. That leaves us with simple math. Lyrics + Music > Lyrics.

With that, I will pass back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1


thank you for accepting my challenge!

your point is taken that an original song requires unique lyrics and music (i am, however, unsure what the difference is between a "run of the mill" song and an "original" song) - however, it takes less skill than to create a parody. there are various ways to create a song but the two major routes are a) write a set of lyrics then set them to music and b) write a song and create the lyrics to go with it. this is, of course, assuming that the artist writes the music AND lyrics, which many of them don't - it's either/or and, in the case of the most popular singers, neither.

creating a parody, true: the music is already done so it's only to create the lyrics to go with it.

here's where i feel superior skill and talent come in: if the artist, while creating a wholly original song, finds that the lyrics aren't fitting into the tune or the music isn't suitable to the lyrics, he's free to cut it all apart and mix and match until they do suit (or call the actual writer and/or musician and have them rework it).

the parody artist, on the other hand, has zero latitude - if the lyrics don't fit, he has no choice but to keep shuffling the words around until he's got something that not only fits the structure of the music but also is still in keeping with the song he's creating. when one considers the stellar greats of the genre, such as "wierd al" yankovic, he not only creates a wholly unique set of lyrics that is 100% fitted into the original music but he also creates a whole new set of lyrics that are directly linkable to the original song or artist, thus narrowing his list of options even further. (ref "Amish Paradise", "Fat", and "Ebay" [one of my personal favourites] on youtube).


My opponent claims that because the music is already set, it is more difficult to set words to that, because it is a constant, rather than a variable that you can change as needed. While it may seem this way, it is actually the opposite. For evidence, we can turn to basic algebra, that most of us probably learned between 6th and 10th grade. When solving for any problem, the more variables, the more challenging (as a general rule of thumb) a problem is. This is also seen with most things in life, the more variables that any problems has, the harder it is to pin down a solution for all variables. This also applies with music. While the words for the original may be easier than the words for the parody, the entire problem (encompassing all variables) is still more challenging and thus requires greater skill and talent to create.

Thank you,
Debate Round No. 2


i don't agree with my opponent's rebuttal. to use my opponent's analogy, the more colours one has on the palette, the harder it is to paint a picture, when it is widely accepted that the more limited the pallette is, the more technical skill is required to create an accurate image. it's harder to create an accurate image if you're only using black, white, and grey because you don't have the latitude that using several shades of brown to allude to highlights and direction of flow for someone's hair will give you.

while there is a strong mathematical component to music, music is not mathematics. in math, if you provide the same number set for a given equation to five mathematicians, you'll get the same answer five times because numbers are numbers. with music, if you provide five musicians with the same set of notes and the same topic, you'll get five widely distinct songs probably in five different styles because music is about creativity, which cannot be quantified as a numerical value, constant or otherwise. using math to create a parody will, in my opinion, result in something like the "tik tok" and "Friday" parodies, where they just essentially swapped out words that more or less fit in whether or not they made any kind of sense.

i believe i have provided solid examples of why a good parody requires more skill and talent than a wholly original creation does - please vote pro.


Since this is the last round I will only address what my opponent brought in his last round and not present any new arguments.

My opponent is mistaking talent (a skill) with creativity (imagination). In his example with the paintings, it is quite the opposite, the more colors you use, the greater your skill needs to be to properly use them all. While it takes more creativity to work with less, it does not require more talent. This is a debate about the talent. My opponent also mischaracterizes my argument regarding the math. While mathematicians and musicians are different and will work differently, I did not say, nor imply that they were the same. Only that the fewer variables that you have to use, the less difficult it is to find a solution. Remember that this was in response to my opponent's R2 that claimed that it was harder to find words to fit a set musical score, not that musicians were not creative or that they were mathematically based.

To continued off the painting example that my opponent brought up just this round, an adequate comparison would be to compare someone that paints a unique painting, and someone that takes a tracing of that painting and just fills in their own colors to make their own painting.

The difference in required talent is clear.

Thank you,
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: S/G go to Con because his formatting was clearer and easier to understand. Arguments go to Con the Music + Lyrics > Lyrics argument and variables argument. Sources go to Pro for providing a point of reference.