Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Perkins, Leeman L. "The L'Homme Armé Masses of Busnoys and Okeghem: A Comparison." Journal of Musicology 3 (Fall 1984): 363-96.

At the origin of the L'homme armé tradition in the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries is a group of four masses: Busnoys's L'homme armé, Okeghem's L'homme armé, Dufay's Missa L'homme armé, and Johannes Regis's Missa Dum sacrum mysterium. All four borrow elements from two chansons--Robert Morton's Il sera pour vous/L'ome armé, a polyphonic setting of the popular tune, and Okeghem's L'aultre d'antan, itself modeled upon Morton's setting. Modal procedure, mensuration, and similarities of melodic and contrapuntal design provide evidence of the borrowings. The masses by Busnoys and Okeghem show that one cantus firmus mass may be modeled on another, and thus the distinction between cantus firmus and parody masses is conceptual rather than compositional. Since Il sera pour vous originated in the Burgundian ducal court, Busnoys's mass is presumed the earliest. Okeghem most likely composed his mass soon after, judging by the treatment of material borrowed from the two chansons and by similarities to Busnoys's work. These borrowings are rooted in the rhetorical tradition of imitatio, a concept with which Busnoys, Okeghem, Dufay, and Regis were familiar.

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Elizabeth Bergman

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