Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Watkins, Glenn E., and Thomasin La May. "Imitatio and Emulatio: Changing Concepts of Originality in the Madrigals of Gesualdo and Monteverdi in the 1590s." In Claudio Monteverdi: Festschrift Reinhold Hammerstein zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Ludwig Finscher, 453-87. Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 1986.

Imitazione in the Renaissance can describe three distinct types of borrowing: (1) following, exemplified in the cantus-firmus technique; (2) imitation proper; and (3) emulation, implying a critical reflection on the model itself. Gesualdo and Monteverdi, despite being regarded as two of the most "original" composers of the 1590s, continued this tradition in their madrigal compositions. In choosing texts that had been previously been set, Gesualdo and Monteverdi seem to both emulate and challenge their predecessors. The techniques of emulatio of both composers range from direct quotation to borrowings of texture and rhythm, and the number of borrowings decline as their respective madrigal careers progress. By the time of Gesualdo's Book VI of 1596 and Monteverdi's Book V of 1605, both composers become fully aware of their own originality, and emulatio ceases to play a significant role in their compositions. This abatement suggests not that the form had been exhausted, but rather that composers had grown tired of imitazione. This new emphasis on the concept of originality marks a significant move away from the past. In his later madrigals, Monteverdi's borrowings thus appear to be simply acts of homage to figures whom he held in particuarly high regard.

Works: Gesualdo: From Il Primo Libro de Madrigali--Baci soavi, e cari (457); Madonna io ben vorrei (457); Non mirar (458); Son si belle le rose (460); From Il Secondo Libro de Madrigali--Caro amoroso neo (462); Dalle odorate (463); Non mi toglia il ben mio (463); From Il Terzo Libro de Madrigali--Ahi, disperata vita (466); Ancidetemi pur, grievi martiri (466). Monteverdi: From Canzonette--Canzonette d'amore (472); Son questi i crespi crini (472); Corse a la morte il povero Narcisso (472); Chi vuol veder un bosco folto (472); Io son fenice (473); Raggi, dov'è'l mio bene (473); From Libro I à 5--A che tormi il ben mio (474); Poi che del mio dolore (475); Ardo sì, ma non t'amo (476); From Libro II--Tutte le bocche belle (479); Crudel, perchè mi fuggi (480); From Libro V--Ahi, come a un vago sol (483); From Libro VIII--Hor che'l ciel e la terra (483).

Index Classifications: 1500s

Contributed by: Randal Tucker

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