Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Drake, Warren. “The Ostinato Synthesis: Isaac’s Lament for ‘Il Magnifico.’” In Liber amicorum John Steele: A Musicological Tribute, edited by Warren Drake, 57-85. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1997.

Heinrich Isaac structured his tribute to Lorenzo de’ Medici, Quis dabit capiti meo aquam, around the concluding phrase of the antiphon Salva nos, Domine. The melody is present in nearly every measure of the piece. The borrowing becomes most explicit in the secunda pars, where the tune is set as a descending ostinato. In addition, Isaac borrows three sections from his own Missa Salva nos. This borrowing is all the more curious when one considers the contrast of style between Quis dabit capiti meo aquam and the prevailing character of Isaac’s sacred polyphony. That the sections in common between these two pieces are in such contrast with the rest of the polyphonic setting in Missa Salva nos suggests that the borrowing was from motet to mass rather than the other way around, as is commonly believed.

Works: Isaac: Quis dabit capiti meo aquam (57-85), Missa Salva nos (74-76).

Sources: Anonymous: Salva nos, Domine (63-66); Isaac: Missa Salva nos (64), Quis dabit capiti meo aquam (74-76).

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Daniel Rogers

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