Word – Music – Ritual
Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)Modul:
Course code: 85
Year of study: Brez letnika
Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours
Course type: general elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussion classes
Content (Syllabus outline)
This course is dedicated to the complex relationship between text and music in selected art music with a ritual (especially liturgical) function in Slovenia. The music will first be placed within an appropriate historical framework, and the selected musical genres will also be presented comparatively within the broader European context. The theoretical part of the lectures and seminars offers students the starting points for analyzing and understanding the material and its application. In the practical part students will analyze composers’ creative processes and then try them out for themselves, because part of the lectures will be dedicated to specific performance practices related to ritual function.
Individual thematic areas will be dedicated to various types of early vocal music in Slovenia, primarily Medieval and Renaissance music, which is less well-known but has a wealth of ritual content. The broad individual themes, viewed both in theory and practice, will cover characteristic aspects of 1) Gregorian chant, which was present in Slovenia from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century (forms of chant melodies, song content, modes, oral/written chant tradition and memory, formulas and improvisation, recitation of text, liturgical function, chant in men’s and women’s church institutions, chant teaching); 2) Protestant song in Slovenia (historical context, ritual function, connection with the Slovenian language); 3) early Slovenian sacred songs and 4) Renaissance music: masses and motets that have been preserved in sources within Slovenian territory and connect the music of this area to the contemporary European context. There will also be a section on 5) secular music adapted for liturgical use between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, such as opera arias reworked for ecclesiastical use. In the course of discussing these central topics, some other genres from Slovenian and European sources will be included comparatively. These genres provide new perspectives on the central topics: for example, a few Slovenian folk songs and European troubadour songs will be discussed alongside Gregorian chant for comparison, and the course will also cover adaptations of yet other secular genres for use in liturgical rites between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.
Among other things, the course will highlight important issues that arise with these repertoires and can be applied to other musical repertoires, and often to broader cultural phenomena in certain historical periods. These issues include: what the vocal music for a particular ritual is; what characteristics make it “ritual music”; what role text and music play in determining its ritual character; when a particular thing (in this case particular music) becomes suitable for a certain rite or ritual; and how the ritual characteristics of music are (were) understood in a certain environment and how this understanding changes (changed) over time. The course will reevaluate the concept of “artistic value” in music as developed during the nineteenth century, which elevated instrumental music to the level of the purest work of art but rejected any music that served functional roles as “inferior,” even though this very music is the foundation of European music history. At the same time, it will emphasize that in actual practice, music used in rituals was much more flexible and fluid than one often imagines today on the basis of certain concepts.
- Barbo, Matjaž. 2004. Obča muzikologija. Ljubljana.
- Cvetko, Dragotin. 1991. Slovenska glasba v evropskem okviru. Ljubljana.
- Harper, John. 1991. The forms and orders of the Western liturgy from the tenth to the eighteenth century. Oxford.
- Harrán, Don. 1986. Word-tone relation in musical thought: From antiquity to the seventeenth century. Neuhausen – Stuttgart.
- Gossen, Nicoletta. 2006. Musik in Texten – Texte in Musik: Der poetische Text als Herausforderung an die Interpreten der Musik des Mittelalters. Basel.
- Guzy-Pasiak, Jolanta in Aneta Markuszewska, ur. 2016. Music migration in the early modern age: Centres and peripheries; People, works, styles, paths of dissemination and influence. Varšava.
- Höfler, Janez. 1978. Glasbena umetnost pozne renesanse in baroka na Slovenskem. Ljubljana.
- Karp, Theodore. 2005. An Introduction to the Post-Tridentine Mass Proper. Middleton in Wisconsin.
- Kelly, Thomas Forrest, ur. 1992. Plainsong in the Age of Polyphony. Cambridge.
- Snoj, Jurij in Gregor Pompe. 2003. Pisna podoba glasbe na Slovenskem. Ljubljana.
- Snoj, Jurij. 1999. Gregorijanski koral. Ljubljana.
- Snoj, Jurij, ur. 2012. Zgodovina glasbe na Slovenskem I. Ljubljana.
- Stefanija, Leon. 2004. Metode analize glasbe: zgodovinsko-teoretski oris. Ljubljana.
Selected manuscript and printed sources as well as study materials brought by the lecturer.
- Izbrani članki v slovenski in tuji strokovni periodiki (po dogovoru). / Selected articles from international musicological journal.
- Izbrani zvočni posnetki v Naxos Music Library (Mrežnik NUK) in drugih bazah (po dogovoru). / Selected music recordings from Naxos Music Library and other databases.
Objectives and competences
Students will learn about the socio-historical impulses for the creation and performance of selected repertoires of early vocal art music for ritual purposes in Slovenia and Europe. The focus will be on the issue of the functionality vs. artistry of music of the styles and periods considered, and especially the ritual function of this music. This will enhance and broaden students’ perspectives on the role of artistic creation in society in general, which is also relevant to newer music. In the theoretical part of the course, students will improve their understanding of the interaction between text and music and their combined roles in the function of ritual. In doing so, they will master the interdisciplinary methodological procedures needed to study this issue and develop their analytical skills and the ability to independently seek out appropriate answers to selected specific questions and apply general and cultural-historical concepts to music history. In the practical part of the course, they will also obtain practical insight into certain creative procedures and performance practices.
Intended learning outcomes
Students will 1) acquire a theoretical and practical insight into the selected musical repertoires; 2) be capable of critically and independently reflecting on the ritual character of various musical genres; 3) understand the connections between text and music within the musical genres studied; and 4) know how to analyze the ritual character of musical works from these repertoires and also apply this knowledge more broadly to other musical genres.
Long written assignment (60 %), presentation (20 %), final examination (written/oral) (20 %).