Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Grave, Floyd. "Abbé Vogler's Revision of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater." The Journal of the American Musicological Society 30 (Spring 1977): 43-71.

To both exemplify contemporary musical practice and expose the limitations of older music, Abbé Vogler presents a Verbesserung, or revised version, of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in his analytical and critical commentary Betrachtungen der Mannheimer Tonschule (1778-81). Though Pergolesi's Stabat Mater had received favorable reviews throughout the 1750s, negative criticism began to emerge around 1774. Taking advantage of this reversal of opinion, Vogler revises Pergolesi's work to show the "enlightened" musical idioms of his day. Vogler's revisions are based on a system of scientific laws explained in his Tonwissenschaft und Tonsetzkunst (1776), a handbook which discusses consonances and dissonances, intervals, chords, scales, and rules for composition. Noting errors in Pergolesi's treatment of harmony, key, and rhythm, Vogler offers several corrections. Pergolesi's irregular patterns and displaced rhythms are exchanged for more regular and periodic writing. Textures are modified by giving the accompanimental parts more varied and individual roles. In opening and closing ritornellos, Vogler often omits repetitions of motives and sharpens the contrast between themes. Although the overall shapes of movements and phrases can undergo significant changes, Vogler usually keeps the original vocal line intact. Overall, Vogler's revisions provide more regular phrasing and a slower-moving bass and allow for more interchange between the inner parts. These alterations, alongside a thicker texture, richer harmonic support, and stronger cadential progressions, transform the style of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater into music of a modern idiom. This, in turn, provides a tangible link between the musical theory and practice of Vogler's time.

Works: Georg Joseph (Abbé) Vogler: Revision of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, found in Betrachtungen der Mannheimer Tonschule.

Sources: Pergolesi: Stabat Mater.

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Laura B. Dallman

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