Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Meconi, Honey. "Habsburg-Burgundian Manuscripts, Borrowed Material, and the Practice of Naming." In Early Musical Borrowing, ed. Honey Meconi, 111-24. New York: Routledge, 2004.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there was no uniform practice for titling masses in manuscript sources. Though modern scholarship has traditionally listed masses under the name of the borrowed material, works within manuscript sources were often identified by number of voices, by a title indicating the devotional function, or by no title at all. This is typical of Pierre de La Rue's output—contained in large quantities within the Habsburg-Burgundian court manuscripts—and provides a basis for investigating the justification of our modern practice and understanding the nature of naming in the Renaissance. The Habsburg-Burgundian manuscripts contain an extensive amount of rubrification, often citing the presence of preexisting material. Scribes wrote the model under one voice or provided multiple under-texting within the opening of the mass. La Rue's works show that even in the case of citations, masses were not titled according to the borrowed model. If the under-texting by scribes did not influence the name of the mass, then its primary purpose could have been to create more visual appeal and, more importantly, to call attention to the presence of the borrowed material. In addition, the popularity of the parody mass at court made musicians and scribes more attuned to the presence of polyphonic borrowing. A mass with preexisting material was more likely to be copied than sine nomine masses or those with modal identities. Modern scholars identify the mass by its model because of the analytical value attached to the borrowed model and because early music historiography emphasized naming masses in this way. Closer attention to the naming of compositions within their sources will highlight the complexities of identity and construction within this music.

Index Classifications: 1400s, 1500s

Contributed by: Mary Ellen Ryan

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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