Modeling strategies in Michael Tippett's early music for strings

Date of Completion

January 1998






Musical borrowing, including quotation, allusion, and structural modeling, is a hallmark of twentieth-century music. Michael Tippett, like many of his contemporaries, makes extensive use of musical borrowing and, particularly in the string music of his first period, a primary source of that borrowing is the music of Beethoven. This study exams Tippett's early Beethovenian borrowing procedures, with a concentration on formal modeling, and on the interaction of such large-scale borrowings with those at the surface level of musical structure. Sketches and autographs are used to trace the development of borrowed ideas through their incorporation into the finished work, and the ways in which those ideas are reinterpreted in a specifically twentieth-century context are explored. In addition, the composer's writings are examined for information concerning the borrowing relationships in evidence in the music. ^