Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Blume, Friedrich. "Johann Sebastian Bachs weltliche Kantaten und Parodien." In Syntagma Musicologicum II: Gesammelte Reden und Schriften 1962-1972, ed. Anna Amalie Abert and Martin Ruhnke, 190-204. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1973.

For various reasons Bach's output of secular cantatas is not very well known. This is the case despite the very ambiguous demarcation between Bach's sacred and secular music as well as the evident passion and skill he exhibits in many of the secular compositions. As the secular cantatas provided Bach with a wealth of musical material to draw upon, the use of parody technique is a central concern to this repertory. Although the argument that parody was a direct result of Bach's need for economy is certainly relevant, there indeed exist cases where the transformation of an existing work into a new one is so advanced that one must consider other factors. The oratorio-type works that Bach composed later in his Leipzig years, for example, rely to a large extent on very skillful parodies of movements from pre-Leipzig secular cantatas. It is likely that as his career progressed, Bach made greater use of parody procedure as the fund of existing source material grew. An understanding of the relationship between original and parody must consider the possibility that Bach's music was so rich that it was readily adaptable to widely divergent texts.

Works: Bach: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, BWV 202 (191); Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet, BWV 212 (193); Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 66 (194-5); Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (198-9, 201); Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68 (200); Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 (201-2); St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 (202-3); Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (203-4).

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Alexander J. Fisher

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