Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Frei, Walter. "Gedanken zum Gegebenen des Cantus firmus." Musik und Kirche 32, no. 5 (September/October 1962): 212-18.

Frei traces a history of the cantus firmus from its beginnings in the ninth century through the early seventeenth century, adding a comparison of its contemporary application. The cantus firmus in sacred compositions of the early Middle Ages expresses belief in the absolute. Only through submission to its laws does man become free to participate in the essential. In secular motets, the tenor still stands for the primacy of the sacred reference, which increasingly loses its importance in the Renaissance (secular tenors) and experiences a short revival in the form of the German chorale. Contemporary composers may resort to sacred cantus firmi for two reasons, either a false escape from religious and musical insecurity or an expression of the consciousness of what we have lost.

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