Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Reynolds, Christopher Alan. “Texting.” In Motives for Allusion: Context and Content in Nineteenth-Century Music, 88-100. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Texting is the process by which existing instrumental music is used to compose a new, texted work. The extent to which the original music is modified can vary, as can the degree of allusion intended by the composer. As a form of textual interpretation, texting is both a compositional tool and a kind of musical criticism. As such, it is a method of borrowing that sees a rich expression in nineteenth-century music, when the roles of composer and critic often overlapped and styles of texted and untexted musical genres commonly borrowed from one another. A variety of motivations for texting are evident in the Romantic repertoire, from a desire to engage the borrowed work symbolically or thematically (as in Franz Liszt’s use of themes from Beethoven’s Third Symphony in his Zur Säkularfeier Beethovens), to less sincere forms of musical play (as in Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel’s texting of themes from Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata écossaise, Op. 28). Cases of texting can be complex and obscure, at times involving multiple layers of borrowed material. Once a texting is identified, an analysis of the new work’s interaction with its source material can yield a better formal, harmonic, and thematic understanding of the music.

Works: Franz Liszt: Zur Säkularfeier Beethovens (90); Berlioz: L’Enfance du Christ (91-93); P. E. Lange-Müller: Se, Natten er svanger med Vellugt fin (93-94); Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel: Nachtreigen (94-95); Robert Schumann: Hoch, hoch sind die Berge, Op. 138, No. 8 (95-97); Clara Schumann: Sie liebten sich beide, Op. 13, No. 2 (95-97); Brahms: Über die See, Op. 69, No. 7 (95-97), Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht, Op. 96, No. 1 (97), Wehe, so willst du mich wieder, Op. 32, No. 5 (97-98).

Sources: Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (“Eroica”) (90), String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131 (91-93); Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 (93-94); Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 12 (94-95), Andante cantabile e Presto agitato, WoO 6 (97-98), Elijah, Op. 70 (97-98); Clara Schumann: Piano Sonata in G Minor (95-97); Robert Schumann: Hoch, hoch sind die Berge, Op. 138, No. 8 (95-97), Piano Sonata in G Minor, Op. 22 (97).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Molly Covington

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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