Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

About Musical Borrowing and Reworking

This bibliography began in the 1980s as an outgrowth of my own research on musical borrowing in the Renaissance mass, on Charles Ives, and on musical modernism. As I read publications on these very different subjects, I realized that ideas and concepts developed by scholars working on Renaissance music, such as modeling and paraphrase, were directly relevant to Ives, and I recognized similarities and interesting differences between practices in the fifteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. I became persuaded of the advantages of studying musical borrowing as a field that crosses historical periods and traditions and of the necessity—and difficulty—of finding all the published work related to this wide-ranging and complex field.

By the early 1990s, it became clear that a comprehensive and widely accessible bibliography was needed to facilitate such research and to serve as a foundation for the study of all kinds of musical borrowing and reworking in all eras of the Western tradition, from chant to today’s classical music, jazz, popular music, and film music. Through the collaboration of dozens of scholars we launched Musical Borrowing: An Annotated Bibliography as a project of the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature at Indiana University. The current bibliography expands upon that earlier version, with the new name Musical Borrowing and Reworking to emphasize the breadth of the subjects it covers.

We have aimed to include items that focus on ideas about or instances of borrowing and reworking. When an item treats aspects of borrowing and reworking within a larger topic, the first sentence of the annotation gives a sense of the whole item, and the rest summarizes what the item says in relation to the uses of existing music.

If you know of an item that is not in this bibliography and should be, please send the citation to me at

How to Use the Bibliography

Of the nearly 2,000 entries, about half are annotated. Each entry includes a citation (author, title, and publication information) and a list of “Index classifications” indicating the relevant time period(s) and in some cases the type of work(s) (popular music, jazz, or film music). Items may have one Index classification or several.

Annotated entries include an annotation that summarizes what the item says, stating the main points and outlining the evidence offered. Annotations do not evaluate the content or note other items in the bibliography that relate to the same topic.

Most annotated entries also include lists of works discussed that borrow from or rework other music (“Works”) and of sources borrowed from (“Sources”). If the item shows a relationship between works but does not claim that one borrows from another, these works are identified as “Related works.” Each list proceeds in the order in which works are discussed in the item, listing composer and title for each work (the composer’s name is omitted if the previous work is by the same composer) and giving in parentheses the page numbers on which each is discussed. Consecutive works by the same composer are separated with commas, all other works with semicolons.

You can use the Search page to find items about a particular composer or piece, by a particular scholar, or involving a particular method of borrowing or reworking (such as “paraphrase” or “cover”). You may also Browse by author to look for items by a particular scholar or to skim through the entire bibliography. If you are interested in a specific period or musical tradition, you can Browse by tag, clicking on a century (from 1300s to 2000s) or tradition (including Monophony to 1300, Polyphony to 1300, Jazz, Popular, and Film) to see items with that Index classification. There is also a General classification for items about some aspect of borrowing or reworking as a whole. You may also use the Contributors to find all the annotations by a particular contributor.

However you access the database, you will see one or more citations. Click on the plus in brackets [ + ] to the left of the author’s name to see the full record. Click on “Individual record” to see only the one item (convenient for printing out single entries).

This is by necessity a work in progress. Further suggestions and contributions are welcome. We offer this preliminary product with the hope that it may be useful to others working in this field and that some may wish to join us in this endeavor. Please direct any comments, suggestions, and additions to me at or at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405.

J. Peter Burkholder, General Editor
June 2017

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