Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Smith, Marian. "Borrowings and Original Music: A Dilemma for the Ballet-Pantomime Composer." Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research 6, no. 2 (Autumn 1988): 3-29.

Composers of ballet scores for the Paris Opéra from the early nineteenth century evince dramatically and aesthetically sensitive approaches to borrowing, even during the 1830s and 1840s as critical opinion turned against the use of borrowed material. Composers sometimes borrowed because they held particular works in high esteem. Moreover, composers often used borrowed material because it served the dramatic needs of ballet scenes, which were often confusing and benefited from the use of well-known music to aid the audience in interpreting the action. For example, borrowing from an air parlant (a familiar song) could bring to mind the song's text, which would in turn clarify the action at hand even without the words being sung. When critical opinion turned against borrowed material, some ballet composers satisfied audiences' need for familiarity through the use of recurring themes, as seen in Adolphe Adam's Giselle, Ferdinand Hérold's La Somnambule, and Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer's La Sylphide. Includes an extensive table of ballet-pantomime scores using borrowed material.

Works: Ferdinand Hérold: La Fille mal gardée (4), La Somnambule (9); Alexandre Montfort: La Chatte metamorphosée en femme (5); Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer: La Sylphide (5-6, 10), La Tempête (11); Frédéric Venua: Flore et Zéphire (9); Rodolphe Kreutzer: Clari (9); Adolphe Adam: Le Diable à quatre (12).

Sources: Rossini: La Cenerentola (4, 18), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (4-5), Moïse (5); J. S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II (6); Paganini: Variations on "Le Streghe" (6); Anonymous, Réveillez-vous, belle endormie (9), Dormez chères amours (9-10), Mon mari n'est pas là (12); Salieri: Les Danaïdes (9); Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide (9), Orphée et Euridice (10-11); Grétry: Richard Coeur de Lion (11-12); Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (12).

Index Classifications: 1700s, 1800s

Contributed by: Virginia Whealton

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