Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Beirens, Maarten. “Questioning the Foreign and Familiar: Interpreting Finnissy’s Use of Traditional and Non-Western Musical Sources.” In Critical Perspectives on Michael Finnissy: Bright Futures, Dark Pasts, 301-15. Abingdon: Routledge, 2019.

Michael Finnissy’s wide-ranging borrowing of various traditional musics in his Folklore cycle and Unsere Afrikareise from The History of Photography in Sound invite multiple hermeneutical readings revolving around two dichotomies: art versus folk music and Western versus non-Western music. In Unsere Afrikareise, Finnissy juxtaposes fragments of Moroccan, Ethiopian, and Venda traditional music with fragments of Mozart and Schubert dances. Finnissy’s work emphasizes the historical, colonialist link between the African and European traditions, complicating notions of musical otherness. Folklore extends this engagement with the politics of colonialism. A running theme in Folklore is the implication that folk music is often seen as inferior to art music. Finnissy borrows from a wide variety of musical cultures, transforming borrowed material through transcription and arranging it in multi-layered montages. This approach challenges the boundaries between familiar and “foreign” music and invites a personal and subjective approach to different cultures.

Works: Maarten Beirens: The History of Photography in Sound (304-7, 312), Folklore (307-12).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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