How do jazz musicians decide who gets credit for a song?

9192 how do jazz musicians decide who gets credit for a song

Jazz musicians decide who gets credit for a song based on a set of rules and norms that have been established within the jazz community. These rules and norms help to ensure that credit is given where it is due, and that disputes over ownership of a song can be resolved fairly and efficiently.

In general, the person who creates the melody or chord progression of a song is considered the composer and is entitled to the majority of the credit for the song. However, jazz music is an inherently collaborative art form, and many jazz songs are created through a process of improvisation and collective creativity. In these cases, credit may be shared among the musicians who contributed to the song, with the exact division of credit depending on the specific contributions of each musician.

When deciding how to credit a song, jazz musicians may consider a number of factors, including the complexity and originality of the melody and harmony, the level of improvisation involved in the creation of the song, and the overall significance of the song within the jazz canon. Additionally, musicians may consult with one another and with industry professionals to ensure that the credit for the song is being distributed fairly and accurately.

One common practice in jazz is to credit a song to the entire band, rather than to individual musicians. This reflects the collaborative nature of the music and helps to avoid disputes over ownership of specific musical ideas. However, in cases where one musician has made a particularly significant contribution to the song, that musician may be credited as the composer or co-composer of the song.

In addition to these general guidelines, there are also legal considerations that must be taken into account when deciding how to credit a jazz song. In the United States, for example, copyright law provides specific guidelines for the registration and ownership of musical works. Musicians may consult with lawyers and industry professionals to ensure that their songs are properly registered and that their ownership rights are protected.

Overall, the process of deciding how to credit a jazz song is complex and multifaceted, with many different factors to consider. By following established norms and consulting with one another and with industry professionals, jazz musicians are able to ensure that credit for their songs is distributed fairly and accurately, allowing them to continue creating and performing the music that they love.


  • “Who gets credit for a jazz standard?” by Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
  • “How Do Jazz Musicians Get Credit?” by Peter Kirn, Create Digital Music.