Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Brindle, Reginald Smith. "The Search Outwards--The Orient, Jazz, Archaisms." In The New Music: The Avant-garde since 1945, 133-45. London: Oxford University Press, 1975.

Some modern composers have felt limited by the mainstream avant-garde movement and have turned elsewhere for inspiration. This includes uses of music of the East, a tradition which goes back to Debussy and consists mostly of stylistic modeling. It also includes the use of jazz, which brings a popular style to art music. Avant-garde composers have also looked to music of the past, mostly to medieval music. While many use general stylistic references, a few have used direct borrowings. For example, Peter Maxwell Davies's Missa super L'Homme Armé offers his criticism on the material he borrows, demonstrating that the mass has degenerated in modern society; hence, he interrupts the sacred reference with the foxtrot. Donatoni reduces borrowed material to small sound bites, offering no respect for the composer's ego or personality. These and other examples demonstrate that the search for outside inspiration has advantages as well as disadvantages; some composers seem to seek mere novelty or shock value, but fresh developments in the field have been interesting in any case.

Works: Berio: Sinfonia (141-2); Davies: Missa super L'Homme Armé (142); Donatoni: Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck (143-4).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Jessica Sternfeld

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