Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kirkendale, Warren. "Ciceronians versus Aristotelians on the Ricercar as Exordium, from Bembo to Bach." Journal of the American Musicological Society 32 (Spring 1979): 1-44.

The fundamental change in the style of the ricercar can be explained by considering analogies to rhetorical literature; the early improvisatory ricercar fits Aristotle's description of a proem while the late "motetic" ricercar follows the plan of the exordium described by Cicero. Early ricercars resemble Aristotle's proem in their preludial function, how they establish the mode of a following motet or madrigal, and how they are used for the tuning of the instrument (as an orator would "tune" the soul of his listeners by attracting their attention). Late ricercars, on the other hand, seem to be modeled after Cicero's exordium, which is divided into the principium and the insinuatio. The plain and direct principium makes the listener attentive while the more subtle insinuatio steals into the listener's mind indirectly. The musical implications of Cicero's principium and insinuatio are realized in ricercars by Andrea Gabrieli and Girolamo Cavazzoni featuring intonazioni which begin with full and plain chords, and imitative ricercars consisting of voices creeping in quietly one by one while imperceptibly increasing the number of voices. In this light, the two ricercars in J. S. Bach's Musical Offering can be seen as being modeled after Cicero's twofold distinction as well as Frescobaldi's toccata (principium) and ricercar (insinuatio) in his Fiori musicali.

Works: Andrea Gabrieli: Intonazione del primo tono (26); Girolamo Cavazzoni: Ricercar primo (26-27); Hieronimo Parabosco: Ricercar XVIII (27); J. S. Bach: Musical Offering (39-40).

Sources: Frescobaldi: Fiori musicali (41).

Index Classifications: 1500s, 1600s, 1700s

Contributed by: Jir Shin Boey

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