Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Rodin, Jesse. “The L’homme Armé Tradition—And the Limits of Musical Borrowing.” In The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music, edited by Anna Maria Busse Berger and Jesse Rodin, 69–83. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

The L’homme armé tradition is perhaps the best example of musical borrowing in Renaissance music, but we know very little about the reasoning behind most of the masses in the tradition. Cultural associations for L’homme armé are difficult to pick out and likely forgotten about by new generations of composers, leaving aesthetics, not politics, as the justification for compositional techniques. Three masses set the precedent for the L’homme armé tradition: the settings of Du Fay, Ockeghem, and Regis, all ca. 1460. Each setting caused a number of successive composers to imitate their musical devices. As more L’homme armé masses were written, composers looked to more recent models than the original three, or they set a unique path entirely. Fifteenth-century composers often attempted to outclass each other while simultaneously being part of the shared L’homme armé tradition. The term “borrowing” is problematic when it comes to these masses, as it implies intentionality, which cannot be firmly established in many instances. Caution must be taken when discussing this music in terms of borrowing because it was common for composers to memorize stock phrases and follow strict compositional rules in this era. Furthermore, masses with “borrowing” are not inherently more interesting than those without, and thus should not be privileged in critical discourse. With this ambiguity surrounding “borrowing,” “echo” might be a more neutral and encompassing way to describe the transformations of shared material in the L’homme armé tradition.

Works: Du Fay: Missa L’homme armé (71-72, 74-75); Ockeghem: Missa L’homme armé (71-72, 74-75); Regis: Missa L’homme armé (71-72, 74-75); Firminus Caron: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Guillaume Faugues: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Anonymous (Naples I-VI): Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Busnoys: Missa L’homme armé (72, 74-75); Anonymous (Bologna Q.16): Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Tinctoris: Missa L’homme armé (72, 74-75); Loyset Compére: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Obrecht: Missa L’homme armé (72, 74-75); Philippe Basiron: Missa L’homme armé (72, 74-75); Marbrianus de Orto: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Josquin: Missa L’homme armé super voces musicales (74-75), Missa L’homme armé sexti toni (72, 74-75); Brumel: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); La Rue: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Matthaeus Pipelare: Missa L’homme armé (74-75); Bertrandus Vaqueras: Missa L’homme armé (72, 74-75).

Sources: Anonymous: L’homme armé (69-70); Du Fay: Missa L’homme armé (71-72, 74-75); Ockeghem: Missa L’homme armé (71-72, 74-75); Regis: Missa L’homme armé (71-72, 74-75).

Index Classifications: 1400s, 1500s

Contributed by: Sarah Kirkman, Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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