Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Steib, Murray. "Ockeghem and Intertextuality: A Composer Interprets Himself." In Early Musical Borrowing, ed. Honey Meconi, 37-64. New York: Routledge, 2004.

In comparison to other contemporary composers such as Isaac, Martini, and Josquin, Johannes Ockeghem is the only composer who varied his approach to borrowed material within his masses. In the second half of the fifteenth century, composers used polyphonic quotation, a method of borrowing the tenor melody and other voices from a polyphonic work within their masses. Three kinds of polyphonic quotation were employed: literal (adhering to the model but with an occasional ornamental note), paraphrased (extensive use of ornamentation, often obscuring the actual model), or mixed (an incorporation of both literal and paraphrased techniques within a piece). Four of Ockeghem's masses are based on a polyphonic model with a cantus firmus as the structural basis, and two of his masses allude to polyphonic models making occasional reference to the model but not as a cantus firmus. In Ockeghem's Missa Fors seulement and Missa Ma maistresse, both based on his own chansons, the borrowed cantus firmus and discant are stated literally within the new work. In Missa De plus en plus, based on Binchois's rondeau, Ockeghem paraphrased the cantus firmus melodically and rhythmically. Ockeghem's Missa Au travail suis is based on a rondeau of uncertain authorship, but like Missa Fors seulement and Missa Ma maistresse, the chanson tenor is stated literally and in its entirety within the Kyrie. In Missa Mi mi, Ockeghem alludes briefly and literally to his bergerette Presque transi, and similarly in the Missa L'homme armé, Ockeghem alludes once to Robert Morton's chanson Il sera pour vous/L'homme armé. It appears, then, that Ockeghem had a different approach to borrowing depending on whether he wrote the model himself or borrowed from another composer. He borrowed literally in the masses that were based on his own work or in masses with brief allusions. Because Ockeghem used literal quotations in cases where he borrowed from himself, this suggests that Missa Au travail suis is based on his own chanson. Ockeghem's polyphonic quotations demonstrate his individuality as a composer who used different borrowing techniques depending on the authorship of the model.

Works: Ockeghem: Missa Fors seulement (40-43), Missa Ma maistresse (43-45), Missa De plus en plus (45-49), Missa Au travail suis (49-53), Missa Mi mi (53-57), Missa L'homme armé (57-60).

Sources: Ockeghem: Fors seulement l'actente (40-43), Ma maistresse (43-45), Presque transi (53-57), L'aultre d'antan; Binchois: De plus en plus (45-49); Barbingant or Ockeghem: Au travail suis (49-53); Morton: Il sera pour vous/L'homme armé (57-60).

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Mary Ellen Ryan

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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