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Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music | Paweł Gancarczyk (Polish Academy of Sciences)

November 10 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Speakers: Paweł Gancarczyk (Associate Professor, Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw) with discussants Lenka Hlávková (Charles University, Prague), Reinhard Strohm (University of Oxford)

Music in a vanished kingdom: traces of fifteenth-century polyphony in the Teutonic Order State in Prussia

The Teutonic Order State in Prussia (1228–1525) belongs among those ‘vanished kingdoms’ (Norman Davies) that, not having contemporary heirs, remain on the margins of the main stream of historiography. While much attention has been focused on the political and church history of medieval Prussia, we still know extremely little about its musical culture. To fill this gap in our knowledge is the aim of the project ‘Music in the Teutonic Order State in Prussia: sources, repertoires, contexts’, of which I am principal investigator.

Alongside chant sources preserved in Pelplin, Gdańsk, Toruń and Berlin, we also have evidence of polyphony being practised in Prussia. All this evidence concerns the fifteenth century and the western regions of the state (which in 1466 became part of the Kingdom of Poland known as Royal Prussia). During my lecture I would like to discuss archival records regarding polyphonic practices, and present several music sources preserved mainly in Gdańsk. I will focus in particular on fragment 2153a, containing repertory typical for Central Europe in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. I will describe the genres represented in this manuscript (motet, cantio, rotulum) in the context of mensural theory known from the treatise originating in the Duchy of Mazovia (Prussia’s southern neighbour). Referring also to other sources, I would like to put forward the hypothesis that the Teutonic Order State belonged to the same network of Central European cultural connections as Silesia and Bohemia.

About the series

The seminars in 2021-22 will continue on Zoom. The seminars are all at 5 p.m. UK time (this will be BST for the first seminar and GMT for seminars 2 and 3). We have seized the opportunity to bring together people in a way not geographically feasible in normal times. A larger online attendance will make our usual free-for-all discussion impossible; the format consequently differs from the live seminars. Individual presentations will be about half an hour, followed by invited discussants who will engage the speaker in conversation about the paper, before the floor is opened for comments and questions by others. This mailing comes to you from our colleague Dr Matthew Thomson, who expertly hosts the Zoom meetings, as set out below. We hope you will join us.

Margaret Bent 
All Souls College, Oxford

Registering for seminars

If you are planning to attend a seminar this term, please register using this form. For each seminar, those who have registered will receive an email with the Zoom invitation, instructions for joining the call, and further materials for the seminar. We are keen to make the seminars available to a global audience, so please feel free to share the registration link with anyone you think might be interested. If you could try to register at least a week in advance for seminars, that would be very helpful.

In each seminar, you’ll be able to join the call up to half an hour before the seminar for a virtual ‘meet and greet’. The seminar will last for two hours, but those who wish to are welcome to stay on the call for a little while after that for virtual drinks and further discussion.

If you have questions, please just send me an email (matthew.thomson@ucd.ie).

Matthew Thomson  
University College Dublin  


November 10
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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All Souls College
+44 (0)1865 279379