Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Chou, Chien. "Variation Procedure in Rachmaninoff's Piano Works." D.M. document, Boston University, 1994.

The musical continuity in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini represents the culmination of his approach to writing a set of variations explored in his earlier pieces as well as in those of his predecessors. Through such continuity he resolves the stop-and-start method that composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms employed in variation writing: the breaks that occur when one variation ends on a cadence and the next one begins at once. Musical continuity in the variation process was not new but was revitalized by Rachmaninoff, who focuses more on the variations as a whole rather than on their individuality. Within such continuity, his variation sets are connected to his models. For example, in the Corelli Variations, the majority of the variations retain the regular phrase structure, similar length, and simplicity of the Folia melody. In the Paganini Rhapsody, Rachmaninoff's use of chromaticism, particularly in the introduction, is a direct reference to the chromatic contrary motion that resolves the augmented-sixth harmony in the penultimate measure of the original Paganini theme.

Works: Rachmaninoff: Variations on a Theme of Chopin, Op. 22 (19-26), Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42 (26-33), Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43 (34-205).

Sources: Chopin: Prelude, Op. 28, No. 20 (23-24); Corelli: Violin Sonata, Op 5, No. 12 (30); La Folia melody (30); Paganini: Caprice in A Minor, Op.1, No. 24 (42-44).

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Hyun Joo Kim

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