Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Dorothy Hindman

Second Committee Member

Charles Mason

Third Committee Member

Melissa de Graaf

Fourth Committee Member

Juan Chattah


This document proposes to examine the aesthetic ramifications of quotation as applied in musical composition. While this essay focuses on the techniques of “clandestine” and micro-quotation, other methods of quotation employed as a compositional device are also examined, citing pertinent examples from the literature. In order to provide context to this discussion, this essay includes a broad survey of the history of quotation in Western art music, as well as a focused discussion of recent works. For the purposes of this document, the scope of the sample group is limited to concert music. Drawing upon the research of Burkholder, Reynolds, and others, in addition to empirical observations, the author posits a taxonomy comprised of three basic categories of the use of quotation as a compositional device. Direct, referential quotation is distinguished from significant manipulation or use at deeper structural levels, which in turn is differentiated from hidden or clandestine quotation. These categories are principally based on the level of perceptibility of given borrowing procedures. While this categorization is primarily based on the musical features of particular works, salient musicological facts are also brought to bear on certain cases. The aesthetic and rhetorical impact that quotation has on a composition is also considered, especially in the music of Peter James Learn, and particularly in his trumpet concerto, Necessary Steps.


music; trumpet; concerto; clandestine; quotation; borrowing