Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Buelow, George J. "The Case for Handel's Borrowings: The Judgment of Three Centuries." In Handel Tercentenary Collection, ed. Stanley Sadie and Anthony Hicks, 61-82. London: Macmillan, 1987.

The issue of musical borrowing in Handel's music has contributed to an atmosphere of ignorance and suspicion in the 200-year history of Handel scholarship. This has resulted from a failure to recognize the importance of craftsmanship and rhetorical imitation as important aspects of Handel's compositional technique. While writings on Handel in the early eighteenth century are generally uncritical of Handel's borrowing procedure (to the extent that Handel significantly improves on his models), a certain uneasiness about the composer's borrowings is manifested in writings from the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, especially in English scholarship. Writings on Handel in the nineteenth century are generally characterized by disapproval of Handel's procedure as lacking originality and even suggesting immorality. This attitude has changed only slowly in the twentieth century, and only in the past twenty years has scholarship begun to approach a more balanced view of Handel's borrowing technique and its significance to his style. In order to achieve this balance it is necessary to develop more useful tools, such as catalogues of Handel's borrowings and self-borrowings and a bibliographical survey of relevant literature, as well as clearer terminology to describe types of musical borrowing in Handel.

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Alexander J. Fisher

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