• 2-3/2009: Music Iconography

    2-3/2009: Music Iconography


    ČIERNA, Alena: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 107 – 108


    URDOVÁ, Sylvia: Musical Motifs in the Notated Breviary (1375) in the Fund of College Library in Prešov
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 109 – 133

    Among the number of music codices in Slovakia coming from the medieval period and completely preserved till the present Notated Breviary/Breviarum notatum deserves attention from the viewpoint of music iconography. It was created in 1375 in the city of Dębno (Dambno, today in Poland), and it is part of College Library in Prešov, deposited in State Scientific Library in Prešov (as a vault unit lacking the call mark). The visual component of the manuscript reveals figural music scenes: among 16 initials of notated chants there may be found 16 black and red drawings of human and animal heads playing wind musical instruments (horns and trumpets, in one case we may presume the musical instrument of a shawm type).
    The present article proposes the comments to the taxonomy of music motifs depicted in the codex and outlines three viewpoints for contemplation over their music-iconographical interpretation and iconological relations, while reflecting functional bounds of the codex and context of complicated period symbolism related to music.

    A = 1st viewpoint: Paleographical rendering of initials in relation to the general decoration of the Notated Breviary (NB) from the fund of the College Library in Prešov;

    B = 2nd viewpoint: Musical motif as a symbol:
    B.2.1 – in the context of liturgy (utility) – a relation of the artistic elaboration of an initial to the content and meaning of the text of the particular Gregorian chant at the beginning of which the initial occurs,
    B.2.2 – in the context of opposite to the celestial liturgy in the sense of medieval metaphysical dualism;

    C = 3rd viewpoint: a concept of connection of graphical records of officium chants in the NB to the artistic element (picture) of the codex.

    The value of utterance of music iconograms of the NB with regard to music practice is very modest: musical instruments are depicted in a simplified way, stylized and schematized to a great extent. The depictions of musical instruments in NB are not sufficient for a deduction of organologically positive conclusions.

    Other reflections regarding the interpretation of musical motifs in initials of officium chants in NB are conditioned by further more intense textually-critical research of the repertory of the officium chants of the manuscript in interdisciplinary relations (music – liturgiology/theology – history of art) with respect to the geographical and sociological context of the codex.

    Although the musical and iconographical taxonomy of the depicted musical scenes (drawings depicting the playing the wind musical instruments) in the Notated Breviary from the fund of College Library in Prešov, deposited in the State Scientific Library in Prešov, and their iconological characteristics cannot be unambiguously defined for now, these musical motifs offer us inspirational incentives for a more intense foray into the realm of medieval art and culture.

    MATOUŠEK, Lukáš: Medieval Musical Instruments on the Wall Paintings of Karlštejn Castle
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 134 – 171

    The decoration of the Great Tower of Karlštejn Castle in Central Bohemia, realized during the second half of the 14th century (under the direct supervision of Emperor Charles IV), includes 29 half figures of angels with musical instruments. Today’s professional views of this work are rather sceptical, which is understandable, since at the very end of the 19th century the work underwent a complete “restoration”, which significantly damaged the original wall paintings. However, in view of the fact that the set of instruments portrayed are not often found in other medieval depictions, it is necessary to admit that these paintings deserve our attention. On the basis of period materials, there has been an effort to reconstruct the original likeness of these musical instruments, which was almost lost and came to significant changes at the hands of careless “restorers”.

    The wall paintings were created during the years of 1365–67. From the beginning of the 16th century to the beginning of the 17th century, the Great Tower staircase underwent several renovations, which may have also affected the depictions of the half figured angels and their instruments. During 1897–99 extensive restorative works were done on the staircase’s wall paintings. In order to be able to perform this restoration a large quantity of various documents had to be assembled. The most important of these were copies of the wall paintings, and often their duplicates, drawn on tracing paper in either charcoal or pencil. The tracings where in black and white however were quite often accompanied by written instruction as to which colours were to be used. It was these tracings that would later play a major role in yet further restoration of the paintings. Parts of the mural, where the wall plaster had become loose, were in the greatest danger of being lost. These were taken down and unprofessionally fixed up with plaster and wooden structures. Before the taking down of parts of the mural, the restorers first cleaned them and then locally accentuated certain contours with a charcoal pencil directly on the original. During the course of years to come, the removed portions of the paintings were to be subjected to even further various forms of damage. This “restoration” of the mural was conducted in an absolutely appalling manner. In the end, not even the character of the original paintings was respected. Rather, the “restorers” recreated the mural according to the aesthetic sentiments of the late 19th century. They changed the entire character and effect of certain parts, including their colour and even the way in which they had originally been drawn.

    During 1995–2001 a thorough restoration of the murals as well as of the transfers, which were taken down at the end of the 19th century, was undergone. Most importantly, during this restoration, any painting over of the original figures was removed. The fragments of the transfers were masterfully saved, assembled together and after all repainted portions had been removed, and Mr. A. Novák unfortunately completed any incomplete portions. The finishing work that Mr. A. Novák provided, even though providing for greater aesthetic appeal, annulled the paintings significance as material for the study of musical iconography.

    For the reconstruction of the original state of the wall paintings, comparable works were used from the same time period in which the murals were first created. These included: the decorations of the monastery Na Slovanech (also called Emauzy) in Prague which were created by the same artist as the depictions of the half figured angels and their instruments in the Great Tower of Karlštejn (1353), the desk altar of Tomaso da Modena from Karlštejn (1355), the paintings from the church of the Virgin Mary as well as from the Great Tower of the chapel of the Holy Cross. Also used were depictions of the musical instruments, of Karlstein’s Great Tower, from before the critical “restoration”: Rühlmann’s drawing of the hurdy-gurdy (1882), Sequens’ water colours (1887–88), working copies on tracing paper (1888) and Zíbrt’s illustrations (1895). And last but not least, photographs taken of the transfers of the originals, once any over painting had been removed, and before any new painting had been done by Mr. A. Novak (1995–2001).

    After comparing all of these materials and today’s state of the wall paintings (while lending attention to other depictions of musical instruments from the 14th century), we can with confidence state that a large portion of the musical instruments on the ceiling of the Great Tower of Karlštejn Castle, even having undergone various damaging restorations, still have their documental value in the area of expertise of medieval organology. The work also comments on certain territorial specifications of certain medieval musical instruments during the Middle Ages.

    SEEBASS, Tilman: Lady Music and her Proteges. From Musical Allegory to Musicians’ Portraits
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 172 – 201

    The presented study concentrates on the issue of presentation of medieval discipline ars musica and its gradual deflection from the pictorial expression of an abstract idea to the depiction of a real person–musician in the form of a portrait. This process is explicated on numerous iconographic sources from 9th to 15th century in two lines. On one hand it is presented as a process of development of a pictorial theme progressively losing its allegorical utterance in favour of depiction of reality and on the other hand as a process taking place in social sphere, in acceptation of the status of a musician – an author worth portraiting.

    KALINAYOVÁ-BARTOVÁ, Jana: Mural Painting in the Roman-Catholic Church in Martinček Examined from the Viewpoint of Musical Iconography
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 202 – 240

    From the point of view of musical iconography one of the most remarkable murals in Slovakia is the decoration of the church of St. Martin in Martinček, revealed only several years ago. It is the oldest mural painting with musical motifs preserved until now in Slovakia. A study of these motifs aroused several questions; an endeavour to answer them poses interpretative problems brought by the medieval fine art when considered from the viewpoint of musical iconography.

    A scene of six sitting figures with musical instruments is based on the scheme of apocalyptic elders participating in a celebration of God at the end of time, depicted in the text on the apocalyptic vision of St. John. The scene was favoured in West-European fine art (namely in France and Northern Spain) in the period from 10th to 12th century, while in the Central Europe it occurs only rarely and is unique in the medieval fine art in Slovakia. The painter drew inspiration from older models, probably based on other iconographical contexts: psalter illustrations, and mainly the image of King David with musicians-aides among them.

    The choice of instruments concentrated exclusively on stringed types corresponds with the original text of Revelation of St. John with its early illustrations. In it archaic types of instruments (lyre, rounded rotta), most likely non-existent in the period practice, mix with utterly modern instruments (ala). Basically, we cannot consider their depiction as a proof of their existence among the instruments of medieval Slovakia, particularly when they are not proved by any other sources of either artistic or written character. It is mostly rotta, an instrument of ancient German tribes, which used to be depicted from 11th to 13th century as a musical attibute of King David in book painting coming from scriptoria on the territory of the present Germany and Austria; however, besides the painting in Martinček there are no traces of it on our territory. The presence of this instrument in the painting in Martinček points to the inspirational sources from the Transalpine region (upper Rhineland, upper-Austrian monastery Sankt Florian) – in accordance with the artistic-stylistic analysis of the whole oldest part of the painting in the church. A depiction of a kind of psaltery in the shape of a bird’s wing – ala bohemica – is remarkable; as the painting is dated to 1320s–1330s, it belongs to the oldest depictions of the instrument in general. The assumption about its depiction after an older iconographical model is questionable from several viewpoints.

    The issue of the patron as well as the maker is another problem unresolved definitively so far. Due to a non-traditional subject, more typical for temples with important position in the church organization than for a small village church, we may presume that its selection is related to the personality of a patron. The most probable initiator of the painting is the district governor of Zvolen and Liptov Master Donč, who entered the history of Slovakia as an active politician on high post, as well as a donator of several other sacred buildings. The painter has been unknown up to now, nevertheless, we may consider several reflections related to the preserved fragments of the decoration of the church in Liptovská Mara.

    GUNJI, Sumi: Musical Instruments of Sangaku zu. A Contribution to the History of Musical Instruments from the Period Preceding the Tang Dynasty Reign
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 241 – 266

    An ancient treasury of cult objects Shousouin (Shōsōin) in the Japanese city of Nara is a deposit of more than 70 musical instruments, a significant source for a study of history of Japanese musical instruments. The instruments come from 8th century and represent a culture of the Chinese Tang dynasty reign period. Morover the collection Shousouin collects also other precious objects important for the study of music history. One of them is a bow with paintings of musicians playing musical instruments. The goal of the study was to examine the possibilities of a more lucid explanation of the history of musical instruments depicted on the bow on the basis of their comparison with archaelogical sources dated to the period preceding the Tang dynasty reign.

    The painting on the bow (Sumie dangu^) represents a sangaku – what is an overall term for a traditional Chinese song joined with dancing, with an art of story narration and with a comic play which was cultivated at the Chinese imperial court, in temples as well as on places of entertainment since the 7th century as a Kyu^ bugi (9, or 10 kinds of performing art). Sangaku was transferred to Japan from China in the period of Nara (710–794) together with Buddhistic culture and religion. At first the performance of sangaku was bound to the imperial court and the performers were government employees. Gradually it spread to temples or sanctuaries outside the court and it was transformed into a folk performing art absorbing the intimity of folk classes. By this way Sangaku founded the Japanese music.

    Scenes of sangaku (expressed by the term sangaku zu) are depicted on the outer side of the bow. Over the grip there are 67 figures there, 29 others are depicted on the lower part of the bow under the grip. Out of the total number of figures 32 figures are playing some musical instrument or holding an object similar to a musical instrument. The depiction may be divided into 10 segments consisting of figures in court clothes, musicians, dancers, acrobats and the audience.

    On the basis of identification of musical instruments on sangaku zu and their comparison with the archaeological sources three ways of distribution of these instruments to China may be deduced. The first one, the “sea way” goes from Egypt to the west coast of India, then upstate towards the Great Silky Way on the north. By this way a drum with a membrane laced to the body of the instrument spread in China. The second way led eastward from Mesopotamia crossing the south part of the Caspian Sea and again to the Great Silky Way, reaching it close to the city of Sogd. By this way harp and lute spread out in China. While spreading, harp must have crossed enormous time spans as well as geographical regions; nevertheless, its basic features were preserved unchanged. Presumably harp gradually became an instrument of the governing class, which cultivated its life in endeavour to reach both political and diplomatic goals. Consequently harp spread from one country to another very quickly. Similarly the attributes of lute with bowed neck were preserved unchanged. Archaeological discoveries of the instrument of this kind are not sufficient for the explanation of its origin. We may suppose that its transfer from Asia Minor to China took place after the origin of the so-called Great Silky Way – a trade way between the West and East Eurasia, enabling a direct and quick cultural exchange between the countries. The third way began also in Mesopotamia and led to the north via Anatolia, Caucasus, north Caspian region, Kazakhstan, south Baikal to the Korean Peninsula populated by nomads. This third way is the concentration of the traces left by races from the North countries, like Scythians, Xiongnu and Xianbei since the 6th century BC. These races were spread on a relatively large geographical area, and due to impermanency and variability of nomad way of life only a small amount of archaeological sources has been preserved till today. While the first and second ways originated for trading, and accelerated the religious and cultural exchanges including the exchange of musical instruments, the third way was not populated and due to the lack of archaeological sources it is inappropriate for a research regarding the origin and expansion of musical instruments.

    CHMELINOVÁ, Katarína – KALINAYOVÁ-BARTOVÁ, Jana: Several Remarks to the Issue of Image of Celestial Music in Spiš in 18th Century
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 267 – 282

    The contribution deals with the image of celestial music in Spiš (Zips) in the Rococo fine art. After overcoming the crisis in artistic commission in the previous period the artistic creation now revived. Two examples of representation of celestial music are studied: the fresco decoration of organ gallery realized by Andrej Trtina in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Levoča, and the decoration of the Chapel of Mary the Carmelite Virgin in Frydman, on the Polish side of Spiš made by unknown artists.

    The examination of these realizations supplemented by other evidence of representation of celestial music on the territory of the Eastern Slovakia led to the conclusion that in the second half of the 18th century two partially different images of celestial music were developing simultaneously in Spiš. The first realization is more modern in style and characteristic by stronger introduction of elements observed in the period music practice (more or less realistic types and proportions of period musical instruments, characteristic instrumental ensembles of the vocal-instrumental music of that time, period garment, etc.), applied in the decoration of the space of the west organ gallery and resulted in a wall painting or painting on wood. The second appearance is more traditional: medieval models brought by Baroque Gothic revival are intensely felt in the chosen subjects as well as in formal performance. It is distinct in sculpture, mainly in polychromatic woodcarving, and it was applied mostly in complements of the so-called small architecture – altars and organs, occasionally also in a wider concept of decoration of the whole space bound to the architecture of the building. A unique example of such an integrated concept of the building and decoration strongly accentuating medieval ideas and symbolism is the Chapel of Mary the Virgin Carmelite in Frydman.

    The study points also to the necessity to explore the artistic development of the Spiš historical region as an integrated whole diregarding the present borders.

    SZÓRÁDOVÁ, Eva: Visual Promoting Means in Musical Instrument Building in Slovakia
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 35, 2009, No. 2, pp. 283 – 323

    Since the late 18th century musical instrument building in Slovakia had been considered a specific craft, organized by the city council into some kind of a guild, in some towns it was even a guild craft. Till the half of 19th century regulation of the production and trade (quality, volume, prices, competition) was within the remit of guilds. The guilds were gradually losing their significance and importance in a process taking several decades; it culminated in 1859 by the extinction of classical guild organization. New and much more liberal laws for crafts and trades opened the way for free business, including the trade in the frame of which new means and forms of product promotion evolved. Advertisement was supported neither by offices nor by a state power, the situation changed only at the end of 1860s. The mission of a musical instrument builder did not cease with the production of an instrument, it had to be presented to the customer and sold. The producers utilized several kinds of means of modern promotion of wares, by which they penetrated the consciousness of customers, informed them, tried to arouse their attention and interest, and finally influenced them towards the purchase of a particular product. The goal of these means was to remind somebody of the existence of the firm, keep in touch, and create a tougher and long-lasting bond between the producer and the customer, to form positive emotions towards the brand. Some were one-shot actions, the others were long-run events.

    The goal of the study is to present the appearance, form, content, development and historical context of usage of various kinds of visual promoting means in musical instrument building in  Slovakia. The studied subject concerns mostly the 19th century, overlapping to the first decades of the 20th century. The basic source material comprises specific displays of these means (brands, firm names, advertisements, various printed documents, exhibitions, etc.), all of them are historical documents and iconographic sources of domestic and partially also foreign provenance. All these sources demonstrate a specific area of existence of music culture in relation to production and trade in musical instrument building in Slovakia. Simultaneously they represent a period aesthetic feeling, mentality as well as the general historical consciousness.

    Visual promoting means – the subject of the presented study – belong also to historical sources of musical iconography and they stand in the point of intersection of research interests and missions of music historiography and music marketing. By their content and form they document not only material aspect of music, but also spiritual cultural heritage and living music culture of a particular country. Their research relates to music-cultural, music-sociological, and music-psychological aspects. Alongside we recognise the appearances and changes of music culture, music market demand, development of musicians’ needs, trade competition, infiltration of foreign enterprises into Slovakia. The creation of promoting means demanded not only a good knowledge of the market with the particular product or service, but also an understanding of infrastructure and spiritual basis of music culture in the given space and time. Advertisement and promotion is and has been an inseparable part of music life not only in our century, but also in previous centuries. Its appearances and forms are different and manifold in every period. However, they may always serve for the recognition of a particular music life and namely of man – his mentality, needs, values, and aesthetic feeling. All of this was transformed into period visual promoting means in a historical process of social, economic and cultural changes.