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The learning of musica choralis at the Benedictine Nuns Abbey of Staniątki in the 18th century

Kubieniec, Jakub

The article deals with the musical training of the Benedictine nuns at Staniatki Abbey as witnessed by 18th-century sources Music was definitely a substantial component of the life of Benedictine nuns in early modern times With reference to the Staniatki Abbey near Krakow, the importance of music is confirmed by a significant collection of various music books from the 16th to the 20th century preserved in the local library, and the testimony of chronicles mentioning heroic nuns who insisted on singing in the choir notwithstanding their advanced age, maladies and other afflictions. The foundation for this particular allegiance to liturgical singing had been already laid at the beginning of cloistered life The five (l) to fifteen-years—old girls, after having been received on probation, were required to learn, during a period of time not exceeding a year, to read and write in Polish and Latin, and to sing according to the rules of solmization Four 18th-century manuals provide examples of the peculiar solmization system taught by the ‘Mistress of the lay maidensl It can be inferred from the manuscripts that the first lessons included also an introduction to the tonal idiom of the eight modes for which a short tonary with psalm tones difierentiae was used Girls, as it seems, were also required to memorize the most basic repertoire including ferial antiphons for Vespers, invitatory tones and Benedicamus domino formulae The notated entries in the manuals confirm that as late as the 18th century, local, medieval melodies were preserved.
 

Grant funded by Narodowe Centrum Nauki (National Science Centre Poland), nr 2011/03/D/HS2/01824.

See also: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.291881

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