Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Norris, Renee Lapp. “Opera and the Mainstreaming of Blackface Minstrelsy.” Journal of the Society for American Music 1 (August 2007): 341-65.

Around 1840, comic blackface minstrelsy became popular with both high and low society audiences as a result of its combining visual and ideological elements from the established “blackface context” with musical elements borrowed either directly or stylistically from the European operatic repertoire. Comparing parodies and other reworkings of contemporary operatic favorites to their sources, it is evident that there were a variety of borrowing practices at work in blackface shows. Through advertising the productions as both novel and yet akin to other legitimate forms of entertainment, and promoting themes of a sentimental and nationalist nature, these shows were capitalizing on the vogues of the time.

Works: Nelson Kneass: I Dreamed Dat I Libed in Hotel Halls (349-52), See! Sir, See! (352-57).

Sources: Michael William Balfe: “I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls” from The Bohemian Girl (349-52); Vincenzo Bellini: “Vi ravviso o luoghi ameni” from La Sonnambula (352-57).

Index Classifications: 1800s, Popular

Contributed by: Nathan Landes

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