A derivative work, within the realm of copyright law, is a new, original piece that contains elements of a previously existing, copyrighted work. Derivative works include adaptations, modifications, or transformations that introduce new expressive content beyond mere replication.
In the world of music, derivative works often come in the form of remixes, arrangements, or adaptations. They could be a hip-hop track incorporating samples from a funk song, a pop rendition of a classical piece, or an orchestral adaptation of a piano composition.
A notable example within classical music is Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”. The original was a suite for solo piano, but Ravel’s arrangement transformed it into an orchestral piece, adding new colors and textures while maintaining the structure and melodies of the original work.
It’s essential to remember that creating a derivative work usually requires permission from the original copyright owner, unless it falls under fair use or another copyright exception. Unauthorized derivative works could be subject to legal action for copyright infringement.
For a more thorough understanding, consider visiting the Derivative Work page on Wikipedia.