Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Horsley, Imogene. "The 16th-Century Variation: A New Historical Survey." Journal of the American Musicological Society 12 (Summer-Fall 1959): 118-32.

The variation techniques exploited by English keyboard composers in the late sixteenth century were those found in early sixteenth-century lute intabulations of pavanes and passamezzi. The pavana alla venetiana and pavana alla ferrarese exemplify the two most prominent variation forms: (1) the single-strain variation, where each variation is governed by a fixed harmonic progression, and (2) the multiple-strain variation (e.g., AA' BB' etc.), where both the melody and accompaniment are retained in each variation. Both pavanes became prototypes of other variations in later lute and keyboard dance music. The pavana alla venetiana led to the passamezzo, which also involved written-out improvisations over a bass theme. The sixteenth-century "theme" was treated as a skeletal form to be filled in with new melodies, motives, texture or figuration at each repetition. The pavana alla ferrarese led to other multiple-strain variations (such as the galliard) where the technique of diminution is used. In diminution, the performer took care that the consonances on the strong beats were not violated when making the melody more florid. The historical place of English composers in the development of the variation should be re-evaluated because their techniques were used in the Continent long before they appeared in English keyboard music.

Works: J. A. Dalza: Pavana alla venetiana (119), Pavana alla ferrarese (120); Iacomo Gorzanis: Passamezzo Anticho (125, 131); Diego Pisador: Las Bacas sus differencias (126); P. Paulo Borrono: Pavana detta La Borroncina (128).

Index Classifications: 1500s

Contributed by: Jir Shin Boey

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