Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Winemiller, John T. "Recontextualizing Handel's Borrowing." Journal of Musicology 15 (Fall 1997): 444-70.

In the early eighteenth century, the concepts of "intellectual property" and "proprietary authorship" were just emerging and entering English, German, and French law. English jurist William Blackstone, in the second volume of his Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69), argues forcefully for the author's product as intellectual property. Jonathan Swift's Battel of the Books (1704) sets out the argument that borrowing material was acceptable so long as the borrower transformed it substantially. This view is also held by Johann Mattheson in Der volkommene Cappellmeister (1739). Handel's Acis and Galatea shows how transformative borrowing was employed. The librettist, probably John Gay, used numerous sources to create the text of the masque; these included Pope, Hughes, Dryden, and others. Handel's musical borrowings sometimes changed the nature of the original material altogether. Most often, however, Handel borrowed certain motives, transforming and absorbing them into the musical texture.

Works: George Frideric Handel: Acis and Galatea, "O ruddier than the cherry" (454-61), "Must I my Acis still bemoan" (458, 463-68), Teseo,"Quanto che è me sian care" (461-66).

Sources: Reinhard Keiser: Janus, "Wann ich dich noch einst erblicke" (456-58), La forza della virtù, "Mit einem schönen Ende" (461-68).

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Felix Cox

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