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  • Michael Tilmouth
  •  and Richard Sherr


A term used to denote a technique of composition, primarily associated with the 16th century, involving the use of pre-existing material. Although the technique of parody was important, particularly in mass composition, throughout the 16th century, the term itself was not used until 1587 when it appeared in the form ‘parodia’ on the title-page of a mass by Jakob Paix. ‘Missa … ’, ‘Missa super … ’ or ‘Missa ad imitationem … ’, followed by the title of the work on which the mass was based, had been the usual way in which borrowed material was acknowledged. The preference for Greek terms, seen earlier in Kotter’s use of ‘anabolē’ for prelude, for example, was a product of humanistic influence which was strong in Germany by the time of Paix, and may account for his adoption of ‘parodia’ from the Greeks as the equivalent of ‘ad imitationem’. In ...

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