Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Noblitt, Thomas L. "Obrecht's Missa sine nomine and its Recently Discovered Model." The Musical Quarterly 68 (January 1982): 102-27.

A Missa sine nomine attributed to Obrecht in Leipzig 51, of which only the tenor and bassus parts survive, is based on the anonymous chanson Veci la danse Barbari. The Obrecht Mass initiated a tradition of works based on this chanson, including Masses by Adam Rener and Anton Barbé, each of which also drew on previous works in the tradition. The chanson survives only in a set of partbooks lacking the bassus. The tenor of the Mass beginning at Et iterum venturus est in the Credo is almost identical to that of the chanson, and the bass of this passage fits contrapuntally with all voices of the chanson, showing that it must closely approximate the lost bassus of the chanson. This Credo also appears in two other manuscripts, freestanding in one of the Annaberg Choirbooks and as part of a Mass on the same chanson in Jena 36 attributed to Adam Rener. Many musical features tend to confirm Obrecht's authorship of the Mass in Leipzig 51, other than the Credo movement, and none contradict it. The tenor part is almost entirely derived from that of the chanson, and the bassus uses ostinatos based on fragments of the chanson tenor, and little from other voices is used (except the altus, which moves in canon or imitation with the tenor throughout the chanson). By contrast, the Credo also borrows from the bassus and discantus, much more of its bassus is derived from the model, and all four voices of the model are incorporated complete. Along with other stylistic evidence, this suggests strongly that the Credo is not by Obrecht. The Credo borrows directly from Obrecht's Gloria, showing that its composer drew not only on the chanson but also on Obrecht's Mass. These borrowing practices and other stylistic features are also uncharacteristic of the other movements of Rener's Mass, which appear to have been based on a different version of the chanson model, so that Rener is unlikely to have composed the Credo. One hypothesis that explains these facts is that Obrecht (d. 1505) left his Mass unfinished (the Agnus Dei is also missing); an unknown composer wrote the Credo to make the Mass usable, drawing extensively from the model and from Obrecht's Mass; then Rener (d. ca. 1520) wrote his Mass, incorporating the existing Credo, drawing on its material in other movements, and using Obrecht's Mass as a model. A much later Mass by Anton Barbé on the same chanson (in a version similar to that used by Rener) also draws material primarily from tenor and altus, and pays homage to the Masses by Obrecht and Rener by borrowing a brief passage from each in the opening of each movement.

Works: Obrecht: Missa sine nomine (Missa Veci la danse Barbari); Adam Rener: Missa sine nomine (Missa Veci la danse Barbari) (104, 111-12, 116-27); anonymous, Credo Veci la danse Barbari (105, 111-12, 116-27); Anton Barbe', Missa Vecy la danse de Barbarie (124-27).

Sources: Anonymous: Veci la danse Barbari; anonymous, Credo Veci la danse Barbari (111-12, 123-24); Obrecht: Missa sine nomine (Missa Veci la danse Barbari) (118-20, 123, 126-27); Adam Rener: Missa sine nomine (Missa Veci la danse Barbari) (126-27).

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: J. Peter Burkholder

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License