Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Stone, Anne. “Machaut Sighted in Modena.” In Text, Music and Image from Machaut to Ariosto, 170-89. Vol. 1 of Citation, Intertextuality and Memory in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, edited by Yolanda Plumley, Giuliano Di Bacco, and Stefano Jossa. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2011.

Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Alpha.M.5.24 (often referred to as the “Modena Manuscript”) is an important collection of Ars subtilior French songs, including some composed by Matteo da Perugia and Antonella de Caserta. The contributions by these two composers have garnered attention because they invoke music from the previous generation’s most influential composer, Guillaume de Machaut. Following a common practice of the late 14th century, Antonello de Caserta imbues his song Biauté parfaite with the metrical and textual qualities found in Machaut’s song of the same title. Matteo da Perugia uses Machaut’s Se vous n’estes as a scaffolding for a new composition by adding a new countertenor to the original song. He also quotes two Machaut songs directly in his ballade Se je me plaing de fortune. Tables and charts with extensive musical examples highlight the connection between the Modena Manuscript and Machaut’s works. These examples also demonstrate the variety of borrowing and reworking that occurs in compositions of the early fourteenth century, which are consistent with copying and transmission practices elsewhere during the period. Even so, the relationship of the composers represented within the manuscript to their looming predecessor is difficult to interpret without the referencing later notions of authorship and authority. This problem is alleviated by the emerging sense of authorship for secular songs and a new practice of circulating polyphonic songs. This opens the possibility for seeing an emerging historical self-consciousness among composers at the end of the fourteenth century. Thus, the invocation of Machaut in the Modena Manuscript can be interpreted as an early example of the borrower invoking the authority of the source.

Works: Antonello de Caserta: Biauté parfaite (172, 175-77); Matteo da Perugia: Se vous n’estes (172, 177-80), Se je me plaing de fortune (172, 180-87); Anonymous: Dame qui fut (185-87); Johannes Ciconia: Sus une fontayne (187).

Sources: Machaut: Se vous n’estes (177-80), De Fortune je me doi plaindre (179-87), Se je me plaing, je n’en puis mais (179-87); Filippotto da Caserta: En atendant, souffrir m’estuet (188), Sus une fontayne (188).

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Jaime Carini, Elizabeth Stoner, Nicolette van den Bogerd

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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