Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Rifkin, Joshua. “Obrecht, Double Counterpoint, and Musical Memory.” The Musical Quarterly 104 (November 2021): 61-70.

The Benedictus of Jacob Obrecht’s Missa Malheur me bat demonstrates a theoretical awareness of double counterpoint well before its principles were laid out in written music theory in the mid-sixteenth century. The mass’s model, Malcort’s Malheur me bat, exhibits imitative counterpoint with its tenor. Rather than duplicating Malcort’s imitation, Obrecht modifies the relationship between voices to create a new imitative relationship at a new transposition. Obrecht’s ability to spot this relationship between the voices in Malcort’s song opens up further questions in how he conceived of the music at a fundamental level. At the time, counterpoint was thought of as a primarily vertical relationship, Obrecht would only have access to part books, and the idea of Obrecht “hearing” the piece as a whole (as one might today) is in danger of an overly “presentist” approach to music history. On the other hand, an overly “historicist” approach denies the motivic approach to counterpoint documented in Obrecht’s mass.

Works: Jacob Obrecht: Missa Malheur me bat (61-67).

Sources: Malcort: Malheur me bat (61-67).

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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