Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: quotation from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In music, the use of short passages in musical works taken from other music by the same composer or by another.

Examples of auto-quotations include:

Brahms, Regenlied in finale of G major violin sonata;

Elgar, a number of themes from earlier works in The Music Makers; demons' chorus from The Dream of Gerontius in The Fourth of August (as a theme for the enemy);

Mozart, ‘Non più andrai’ from Figaro in second-act finale of Don Giovanni;

Prokofiev, March from The Love for Three Oranges in ballet Cinderella;

Puccini, ‘Mimi’ theme from La Bohème in Il tabarro;

Rimsky-Korsakov, theme from Pskovitianka (Ivan the Terrible) in The Tsar's Bride (referring to Ivan);

Saint-Saëns, theme from Danse macabre in Fossils section of Le Carnaval des animaux;

Schumann, opening of Papillons, Op. 1, in Florestan piece in Carnaval, Op. 9;

Shostakovich, themes from tenth symphony and first cello concerto in eighth string quartet (1960);

Smetana, theme associated with the Vyšehrad citadel of Prague in the first symphonic poem of Má Vlast and referring to in the later one entitled Vltava;

Strauss, theme from Guntram in ‘Childhood’ section of Tod und Verklärung; a number of themes from earlier works in the ‘Hero's Works’ section of Heldenleben and in the dinner music in the Bourgeois Gentilhomme incidental music; Ariadne auf Náxos in Capriccio; transfiguration theme from Tod und Verklärung in Im Abendrot (‘Last Songs’);

Vaughan Williams, theme from Hugh the Drover in violin concerto;

Wagner, two themes from Tristan in Meistersinger, III. i; swan motive from Lohengrin in Parsifal, I; themes from Siegfried in Siegfried Idyll (some going back to a projected string quartet);

Wolf, song, ‘In dem Schatten meiner Locken’ from Spanish Song-Book in opera Der Corregidor, I.

Examples of quotations from a different composer's work include:

Bartók, Nazi march theme from Shostakovich's seventh symphony in Concerto for Orchestra;

Beethoven's ‘Song of Thanksgiving’ in the third piano concerto (both composers had just recovered from illness);

Bax, theme from Wagner's Tristan in symphonic poem Tintagel; passage from Elgar's violin concerto, in G major string quartet dedicated to Elgar;

Beethoven, ‘Notte e giorno faticar’ from Mozart's Don Giovanni in Variations on a theme by Diabelli, Op. 120;

Berg, themes from Wagner's Tristan and Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony in Lyric Suite for string quartet; Bach chorale Es ist genug in violin concerto;

Berio, scherzo from Mahler's second symphony and other items in Sinfonia;

Brahms, ‘Batti, batti’ from Mozart's Don Giovanni in song Liebe und Frühling, Op. 3 no. 2;

Bréville, ‘Tarnhelm’ motive from Wagner's Ring in Portraits de Maîtres for piano, indicating a transformation between the pieces imitating various composers;

Britten, theme from Wagner's Tristan in Albert Herring;

Chabrier, Serenade from Mozart's Don Giovanni in song Ballade des gros dindons;

Charpentier, theme from Wagner's Ring in Louise, II;

Chopin, air from Rossini's Gazza ladra in Polonaise in B minor dedicated to Kolberg (1826);

Debussy, theme from Wagner's Tristan in Golliwogg's Cake-Walk (Children's Corner);

Elgar, theme from Mendelssohn's overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage in ‘Enigma’ Variations (Romance); Chopin's G minor nocturne and Paderewski's Polish Fantasy for piano and orchestra in symphonic prelude Polonia;

Falla, opening motive from Beethoven's fifth symphony (‘Fate knocking at the door’) in ballet The Three-cornered Hat;

Fibich, various themes from Mozart's Don Giovanni in opera Hedy (based on Byron's Don Juan);

Křenek, Mendelssohn's Spring Song in incidental music for Goethe's Triumph der Empfindsamkeit;

Mahler, theme from Charpentier's Louise and Hunding's motive from Wagner's Ring in the first movement of the ninth symphony; prelude to scene 3 of Boris Godunov in Der Einsame im Herbst (Das Lied von der Erde);

Mozart, tunes from Martín y Soler's Una cosa rara and Sarti's Fra due litiganti in second act finale of Don Giovanni;

Mussorgsky, Handel's ‘See the conquering hero’ and themes by Famitsin and from Serov's opera Rogenda in satirical song The Peep-Show; sea motive from Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko in song The Classicist;

Offenbach, ‘Notte e giorno faticar’ from Mozart's Don Giovanni in Tales of Hoffmann, prologue; ‘Che farò’ from Christoph Willibald von Gluck's Orfeo in Orphée aux enfers;

Rimsky-Korsakov, themes from Mozart's Requiem in opera Mozart and Salieri;

Saint-Saëns, themes from overture to Offenbach's Orphée aux enfers in Tortoises section of Le Carnaval des animaux (because Orpheus's lute was made of tortoise-shell), also Berlioz's Dans des Sylphes in Elephants and a phrase from Rossini's Barber of Seville in Fossils in the same work;

Schumann, theme from Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte in Carnaval, Op. 9 (written while Schumann was separated from Clara Wieck); aria from Heinrich Marschner's Der Templer und die Jüdin in finale of Etudes symphoniques, Op. 13;

Shostakovich, overture from Rossini's William Tell and the fate motif from Wagner's Ring, in the 15th symphony;

Strauss, Denza's song Funiculi, funiculá in symphony Aus Musicien (under the impression that it was an Italian folk song); giants' motive in Wagner's Ring in Feuersnot; Wagner's Rhinemaidens' theme in dinner music (salmon) of Strauss's Bourgeois gentilhomme (Ariadne, first version); themes by Bull, Legrenzi, Monteverdi and Peerson in Die schweigsame Frau; fragment from funeral march in Beethoven's ‘Eroica’ symphony in Metamorphosen for strings;

Stravinsky, waltz by Lanner (played on a barrel-organ) in ballet Petrushka; themes from Tchaikovsky's piano music and songs in ballet The Fairy's Kiss/Le Baiser de la fée;

Tchaikovsky, song from Grétry's Richard, Cœur de Lion in The Queen of Spades;

Vaughan Williams, opening theme from Debussy's L'Après-midi d'un faune in incidental music for Aristophanes' Wasps;

Wagner, Di tanti palpiti, from Rossini's Tancredi, parodied in the tailor's episode in Meistersinger, III.

Walton, two themes from Rossini's William Tell overture in Facade (Swiss Yodelling Song); theme from Rossini's Tancredi overture in Scapino overture.

Also numerous examples of quotations from earlier works in the music of contemporary composers – Kagel, Holloway, and Stockhausen (Beethausen, Op. 1970, von Stockhoven).

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article quotation
Collins Dictionary of Business

the price and terms on which a firm is prepared to supply a good or service. Quotations often include detailed technical specifications of...

See more from Credo