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Like classical music composer Igor Stravinsky once said, "Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal." I think Handel took this to an art form, and called it "transformative imitation":
Probably no other composer in the history of western classical music has been as consistently chastised for his musical borrowing as George Friedrich Handel. The first published expose on his musical “pilfering” appeared in 1722, setting in motion a veritable witch hunt that still “harbors a subversive discomfort, a puzzlement of judgment, about Handel’s compositional practices, adding controversy to his art and threatening to diminish the stature of his genius.” Creative art has consistently used imitation and transformation of preexisting models as an educational tool and as a compositional approach. For Handel, this process was known as transformative imitation, and he made an art out of this rather common practice. 
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