Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Mann, Alfred. "Bach's Parody Technique and its Frontiers." In Bach Studies, ed. Don O. Franklin, 115-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

The multidimensionality of Bach's borrowing technique defies efforts to characterize it with terms such as "parody" or "transcription." The derogatory associations that these terms carry obscure the variety of Bach's techniques, such as reorchestration, intensification of counterpoint or melodic material, and even "reminiscence" of material from a different location in the same work. For example, the Triple Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1044, is not a simple transcription of the concertino from the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, but a reworking that results in a far greater complexity of texture, while the opening of the Gloria from the Mass in A Major, BWV 234, is a parody of the last movement of Cantata 67 yet resembles the Kyrie from the same Mass, for which no model can be found. The idea of "transcription" is clearly too narrow to describe some works whose relationships extend beyond the ostensible model to other compositions. Bach's parody technique should be regarded as an elaboration of pre-existing works into new compositions, as well as a manifestation of his power of invention.

Works: Bach: Triple Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1044 (115-16), Cantata, BWV 146, Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal (117), Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052, Mass in A Major, BWV 234 (117-19), Mass in F Major, BWV 233 (117-22), Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro in E-flat Major, BWV 998 (122-23).

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Alexander J. Fisher, Sergio Bezerra

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