Basic information
Original title:
Stare tradicije v novih oblačilih: Glasbene in besedilne predelave v izvajalski praksi liturgične glasbe
Researchers involved:
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Matjaž Barbo, PhD
Nejc Sukljan, PhD
1 July 2019–30 June 2022

Music genres developed, changed and transformed with time. Some of them, even if they existed in the same me period, were perhaps strictly separated, but the others were connected more than we would assume regarding their function and form. The genres of some seemingly incompatible traditions of completely different origins met in time because they found themselves in a common function. In the territory of today’s Slovenia, for the time between the council of Trent and the end of the 18 century, such traditions were the liturgical plainchant and the music originating in secular, even profane genres, such as opera, which was of more recent origin. In the 18 century—if not before—they met in the liturgy, with the same texts and in the same function. Plainchant music of that time usually continues or reworks older tradition, but in the case of secular music we find textual and sometimes musical reworkings. Both genres of music were probably known to listeners, each from a different context: one from the liturgical, the other from the profane context; one genre was the most sacred, while the other was probably the most secular; one had the patina of tradition, the other excitement of novelty. How could this so different music exist and co‐exist under a common liturgical cover?

This unusual couple will be the subject of the proposed project, which will study performing practice of two different musical traditions, which can be found in liturgical “vestments”, i.e. reworkings, in the time between the Council of Trent and the end of the 18 century on the territory of today’s Slovenia. The main studied repertoire will be the post‐Medieval chant, for which many sources are preserved and which can be observed through the whole time in question, as a tradition with possible further reworkings. A contrasting, even opposite tradition to this “most ecclesiastical” one, the tradition of reworkings of the (perhaps most) “profane music” (such as opera c compositions), will serve for the comparison. The project will attempt to answer the following: what was the repertory of the Modern Era plainchant from the territory of today's Slovenia; where, how, and in which context it was written down; and when, how, in which context, and by whom it was performed. At the same me, it will try to establish possible connections with other music genres, especially with the hitherto unknown profane music reworked for the liturgical use. It will also aim to discover parallels of this segment of musical life in Slovenia in the music from other European countries, where similar research is done more and more.

The research will focus on the sources used in the territory of today’s Slovenia, and preserved in Slovenia or abroad. They will be analyzed, catalogued and categorized, and the results of this analytical work will enable comparisons between both repertoires. Later, comparisons will be carried out in a broader European (especially Central‐European) context since comparable European sources will be drawn into comparison. We are explicitly interested in roles of both traditions in the liturgy, their performing practice and probable stylistic differences. Implicitly, the project will raise questions about the relationships between the sacred and profane in music of a certain period, between the original and its reworking, and between the text and music in the original piece as well as in its reworking.

Project steps

1 July 2019–30 June 2020
-    kick-off meeting of the project team and launching of the project website
-    collecting and studying of secondary sources and literature
-    field research of primary sources in the archives and libraries in Slovenia and abroad
-    further development of methods and model studies for discovering and research of the repertoire
-    analysis and classification of sources

1 July 2020–30 June 2021
-    further analysis of the selected sources and further studies into the context and repertoire connections
-    further field research in the archives and libraries containing comparable sources and repertories in Slovenia and abroad
-    RISM cataloguing of the most important sources and collections of pieces
-    comparisons between the various repertoires from similar liturgical contexts within the Slovenian institutions
-    comparisons of these sources and repertoires with the sources from the wider Central-European context
-    presentation of the first part of the research results for the scientific community: an international round table, conference papers as well as journal articles and chapters in monographs
-    popularization of the researchc results for wider audiences: a concert

1 July 2021–30 June 2022
-    finalization of the analytical and comparative-synthetical research of the selected repertoires
-    further presentation of the final syntheses for the scientific community (conference papers, journal articles), where the researched phenomenon will be presented within the wider Central-European context
-    preparation of the selected source material for a special online catalogue (database)
-    presentation of the research results in the special thematic issue of the interntaional musicological journal De musica disserenda
-    further popularization of the project results for wider audiences with an experimental music workshop, concert and lecture-recital
-    final meetings, summarization and finalization of the project

Project manager at ZRC

Funded by

Slovenian Research Agency

Fields of research

Musicology H320 


repertoire transformation • music borrowings and reworkings • sacred music • post-Tridentine plainchant • opera arias