Introduction to Musicology


Week 10: Attribution and Authentication

Essay Title (800 words)

  1. With reference to one of the works or groups of works listed below, discuss the motivations and methods for questioning and confirming composer attributions. Address such issues as scribal reliability, reception history and stylometry.

  2. Byrd, opera dubia

  3. Wassenaer, Concerti armonici

  4. Bach, early works OR spurious organ works

  5. Haydn, symphonies and concertos


  1. Philip Brett, ‘Did Byrd Write “Non nobis, Domine”?’, The Musical Times, 113 (1972), 855–7 (jstor)

  2. C. L. Cudworth, ‘Notes on the Instrumental Works Attributed to Pergolesi’, Music & Letters, 30 (1949), 321–8 (jstor) — the remarks on the six concertos make for interesting reading given the subsequent identification of their true composer

  3. Frank Walker, letter ‘Spurious Pergolesi’, Music & Letters, 34 (1953), 183 (jstor)

  4. Albert Dunning, Count Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer (1692–1766): A Master Unmasked, or The Pergolesi-Ricciotti Puzzle Solved (Buren: Frits Knuf, 1980)

  5. David R. Melamed, ‘The Authorship of the Motet “Ich lasse dich nicht” (BWV Anh. 159)’, Journal of the American Musciological Society, 41 (1988), 491–526 (jstor)

  6. ————, ‘Constructing Johann Christoph Bach (1642–1703)’, Music & Letters, 80 (1999), 345–65 (jstor)

  7. Peter Williams, ‘BWV 565: A Toccata in D minor by J. S. Bach?’, Early Music, 9 (1981), 330–37 (jstor)