Musical BorrowingAn Annotated Bibliography

General Editor: J. Peter Burkholder
Co-Editors: Andreas Giger, Felix O. Cox, and David C. Birchler


This bibliography represents the current stage of an ongoing project whose ultimate aim is to create a comprehensive, indexed, and annotated bibliography of published materials and theses relating to the use of existing music in the tradition of Western music.

This is a wide field, embracing borrowing, transcription, variations, quotation, cantus firmus technique, paraphrase, imitation/parody, modeling, allusion, and other ways to rework existing music, from troping and organum to collage and electronic manipulation. The number of books, articles, and other published sources that treat these issues is staggering. We have chosen to include only items that consider the reworking of one or more particular musical works in new compositions (as opposed to general stylistic allusion or resemblance) and to exclude sources that do no more than mention in passing the relationship of a new work to an existing one. We also include items that consider some aspect of borrowing as a whole, that refute claims of borrowing, or that assemble lists of borrowings, whether or not they discuss individual works in detail. Despite these limitations, the scope of the project is still vast; in its current state, the bibliography has more than 1850 items, 1025 of them annotated. Indeed, part of our intent is to demonstrate how pervasive such borrowing and reworking have been throughout our musical tradition by bringing together all the instances and all the scholarship on the subject we can find.

Because this is such a wide field, such a bibliography must be a collaborative undertaking. The project began in the fall of 1987. The original basis was my own list of items on musical borrowing, supplemented by a preliminary bibliography on the same subject by David Pacun of the University of Chicago and by the card index of items on quotation and borrowing in the library of the Musikwissenschaftliches Institut at the Universität Köln, generously provided to me by the Institute librarians and faculty. David C. Birchler worked as my assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987-88, preparing annotations and gathering further items. Members of graduate seminars on musical borrowing held at Indiana University in 1988, 1994, 2002, and 2010 and at Yale in 1995 contributed annotations and new items, as did members of a seminar conducted by Harry Elzinga at Baylor University in 1994. Thanks to all of them for their careful and diligent work. Andreas Giger, my research assistant for 1990-91, wrote many new annotations and revised the entire bibliography. Felix O. Cox, my assistant in 2001-2003, further revised the bibliography and added numerous annotations. Will Sadler, John A. Johnson, Carol Crowley, David Montgomery, Mirna Polzovic, Luiz Fernando Lopes, Dana Gorzelany, Rika Asai, James Rodgers, Tong Cheng, Bethany Goldberg, Mary Ellen Ryan, and several other assistants provided additional editorial help. Thanks also to Honey Meconi, Brian Phillips, Murray Steib, James L. Zychowicz, and others too numerous to mention for providing citations.

The best way to make such a bibliography available in a preliminary, constantly-changing form is on the World Wide Web. Thanks to Rob Carter for technical assistance and to Thomas J. Mathiesen for programming, design, support, and advice.

We offer this preliminary product with the hope that it may be useful to others working in this field and that some may wish to join us in this endeavor. Please direct any comments, suggestions, and additions to me at or at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405.

J. Peter Burkholder, General Editor

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