Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Fitch, Fabrice. "Agricola and the Rhizome: An Aesthetic of the Late Cantus Firmus Mass." Revue belge de musicologie/Belgisch tijdschrift voor muziekwetenschap 59 (2005): 66-92.

Although Agricola's sacred music has been understudied in comparison to other contemporary composers, an analysis of his cantus firmus masses reveals a highly particularized approach to such compositional procedures, especially in relation to composers such as Josquin and Obrecht. In Agricola's four masses based on secular models, the prevalent technique is isomelism: the tenor retains the song's pitches but the durations are substantially manipulated, thereby removing the model from its metrical context. An extreme example can be found in Missa Malheur me bat, where in a run of semiminums some are augmented up to sixteen times their original value. Agricola's mass on Je ne demande stands apart from the other masses in its predominant use of the paraphrase type and ornamentation within the outline of the model. A predilection for using free and cantus firmus passages is visible in Missa In minen sin, a technique also reminiscent of Ockeghem, who blurred the boundaries between quotation and free melody. Agricola, in contrast to Ockeghem, incorporates more exact quotations alternating with free passages. Other types of borrowing procedures include strict tenor statements situated late in a mass as a culmination device and a restricted use of polyphonic quotations. The multiple and varied approaches to cantus firmus treatment within Agricola's masses has posed a problem for scholars who have taken "classicizing" or systematic approaches to the music of Josquin and Obrecht. Because Agricola's music does not exhibit a systematic taxonomy, it may be more useful to use the framework of the rhizome developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, which provides a useful theory of asystematic tendencies incorporated into an organicist approach.

Works: Alexander Agricola: Missa Malheur me bat (70-72, 74-76, 78-80), Missa Le serviteur (72, 75-77), Missa Je ne demande (71, 77), Missa In minen sin (72-73, 76-83).

Sources: Malcourt (?): Malheur me bat (70-72, 74-76, 78-80); Dufay: Le serviteur (72, 75-77); Busnois: Je ne demande (71, 77); Anonymous: In minen sin (72-73, 76-83).

Index Classifications: 1400s

Contributed by: Mary Ellen Ryan

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