Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Rusch, René. “Beyond Homage and Critique?: Schubert’s Sonata in C Minor, D. 958, and Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Variations in C Minor, WoO 80.” Music Theory Online 19 (March 2013). (accessed April 1, 2013).

Schubert’s Sonata in C Minor, D. 958 is often cited as an homage to Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Variations in C Minor, WoO 80. There are, however, several ordinary musical events in common between these two pieces. The use of a passacaglia bass, found in an inner voice of the Schubert, can be traced back to the Baroque era. Both works also set up but subvert a sentential phrase structure (2+2+4 measures) at the beginning of the work, hardly a compositional device unique to either composer. With Derrida’s concept of grafting, meant metaphorically as the “insertion of one text into another by means of a scission,” the concept of a piece as homage or critique can be challenged. Though the Sonata in C Minor appears to be influenced by Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Variations, Schubert’s work is in dialogue with compositional techniques used before the Beethoven. As a result, historical narratives, such as Beethoven’s overwhelming influence on Schubert, need to be reinvestigated. Such reconsideration may write new historical narratives or confirm old ones.

Works: Schubert: Sonata in C Minor, D. 958.

Sources: Beethoven: Thirty-Two Variations in C Minor, WoO 80.

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Devin Chaloux

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