Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Nitschke, Wolfgang. Studien zu den Cantus-Firmus-Messen Guillaume Dufays. 2 Volumes. Berlin: Verlag Merseberger, 1968.

Nitschke's study looks at the cantus firmus primarily as a constructive element,not as an aspect of musical borrowing. Yet many comparisons between cantus firmus and original melody are made. In addition to Dufay's Mass cycles, Nitschke discusses secular pieces included in earlier Mass movements such as (1) the ballata Fior gentil in a Gloria setting and the ballata Deus deorum in a Credo setting by Antonio Zacara da Teramo and (2) the French folk song Tu m' a [sic] monté in the Gloria and the Italian folk song La Villanella non è bella in the Credo setting of the pair BL 33/34. Dufay's Mass Ecce ancilla is based on the two antiphons Ecce ancilla and Beata es Maria. No version of the former can be considered very close to Dufay's cantus firmus, which leads Nitschke to the suggestion that Dufay might have adjusted it to some melodic features of the antiphon Beata es Maria. The cantus firmus based on the latter shares some elements with the version from the Antiphonale Sarisburiense and some with the one from the Roman repertory. In isorhythmic sections, the cantus firmus follows the model exactly, whereas in others it may be paraphrased considerably. Dufay adapts the cantus firmus of the L'homme armé Mass in four different ways: (1) The tenor quotes the song exactly; (2) some features of the song are changed due to the canon instruction; (3) the song is paraphrased; or (4) Dufay creates his own version of the song and repeats it isorhythmically several times. As in the Mass Ecce ancilla, Nitschke could not yet locate the model for the cantus firmus of the Mass Ave regina caelorum. It shares elements with the version from Rouen and Salisbury and the printed ones as found in the Graduale Romanum and the Processionale Romanum. The Mass is also compared to the motet Ave regina caelorum, which is based on the same cantus firmus and was most probably written before the Mass. According to Nitschke it is very remarkable that the Mass borrows only two passages from the motet.

Works: Zacara da Teramo: Gloria Fior gentil (89-95), Credo Deus deorum (96-101); Dufay: Credo-Gloria BL 33/34, Missa Caput,Missa Se la face ay pale,Missa Ecce ancilla domini,Missa L'homme armé,Missa Ave regina caelorum,Missa La mort de Saint Gothardo.

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Andreas Giger

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