Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Nathan, Hans. "The Function of Text in French Thirteenth-Century Motets." The Musical Quarterly 28 (October 1942): 445-62.

The motet originated when clausulae were given new words, and then each voice part was given an entirely new text. Many different texts were used, and individual words even stopped working together as a textual unit. In this borrowing, although only the words were new and the notes were essentially unchanged, the character of the piece changed significantly. Primarily, this is seen through alterations in rhythm. The introduction of syllabic text into the formerly textless melisma transformed the melisma's fluid character into something heavier and more solid. Phrasing moved from iambic to trochaic. Essentially, text gave the music a new pulsation. All of these characteristics appear in the motet Verbum patris. Through a relatively simple borrowing technique that utilized complex notions about text and rhythm, a new type of composition emerged.

Works: Motet: Verbum patris (452-53).

Sources: Pérotin: Nativitas (Ex semine) (446, 459-60).

Index Classifications: Polyphony to 1300

Contributed by: Rebecca Dowsley

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