Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Odello, Denise. “Performing Tradition: History, Expression, and Meaning in Drum Corps Shows.” Popular Music and Society 39 (2016): 241-58.

Performances by youth drum and bugle corps often reference the history of the tradition as a whole or the history of individual corps, creating an insular form of expression that only cultural insiders can fully understand. Four 2012 performances by drum corps affiliated with Drum Corps International illustrate this insular tradition. The degree to which different corps challenge the established tradition can be controversial, with more expressive complexity faring better competitively than more traditional performances. More traditional, accessible performances often place lower in competition but can become fan favorites. One distinctive characteristic of drum corps performances is their reliance on arrangements of existing pieces that are intertextually linked by a unifying theme or narrative. The 2012 Blue Devils program, Cabaret Voltaire, is an avant-garde drum corps rendition of Dadaism, incorporating a collage of a dozen musical sources. Some pieces (like George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique and Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies) are related to the Dada theme while others (Don Sebesky’s Bird and Bela in B-Flat) are related to the history of the Blue Devils themselves. The Jersey Surf program, Bridgemania, is a tribute to the defunct Bridgeman drum corps, also from New Jersey. Jersey Surf performed sound-alike arrangements of Bridgeman favorites as well as numbers evoking the fun-loving spirit of the old corps, including LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem. The Madison Scouts program, Reframed, uses Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which the corps first performed in 1961, as a framing device for other fan favorite pieces from the corps’ history. Phantom Regiment’s Turandot is a relatively straightforward, faithful adaptation of Puccini’s opera within the confines of a twelve-minute drum corps performance. The centerpiece of the program is the aria Nessun Dorma, which the corps had famously performed before in 1991. Each of these performances integrates musical arrangements, visual elements, and drum corps tradition in unique ways that stake out different artistic positions defined by the history of each drum corps.

Works: Blue Devils: Cabaret Voltaire (247-49); Jersey Surf: Bridgemania (249-51); Madison Scouts: Reframed (251-54); Phantom Regiment: Turandot (254-55).

Sources: James Horner: score to Apollo 13 (248); André Souris: Symphonies: V (248); George Antheil: Ballet Mécanique (248); John Adams: Harmonielehre (248); Thomas Adès: Tevot (248); Erik Satie: Gymnopédies (248); George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (248); Ludovic Bource: score to The Artist (248); Cherry Poppin’ Daddies: Dr. Bones (248); Danny Elfman: score to Corpse Bride (248); Charles Mingus: The Children’s Hour of Dream (248); Don Sebesky: Bird and Bela in B-Flat (248); Allee Willis, David Foster, and Maurice White (songwriters): In the Stone (250); Chuck Mangione: The Land of Make Believe (250); Rossini: William Tell Overture (250-51); Leslie Bircusse and Anthony Newley (songwriters): Pure Imagination (250); David Listenbee, Stefan Gordy, Skyler Gordy, and Peter Schroeder (songwriters): Party Rock Anthem (250-51); Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (252-53); Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Marvin Hamlisch (songwriters): The Way We Were (252); Bill Holman: Malaga (252-53); Ernesto Lecuona: Malagueña (252-53); Marvin Hamlisch: score to Ice Castles (253); Puccini: Turandot (254-55).

Index Classifications: 2000s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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