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The Musical Rhetoric of the Polish Baroque

The Musical Rhetoric of the Polish Baroque


Tomasz Jasinski

This book looks at the rich means of text interpretation in seventeenth and eighteenth century Polish music, a relatively unknown phenomenon. The works of old Polish masters exhibit many ingenious and beautiful solutions in musical oration, which will appeal to wide circles of lovers and experts of old music. One of the fundamental components of baroque musical poetics was music-rhetorical figures, which were the main means of shaping expression – the base and quintessence of musical rhetoric. It was by means of figures that composers built the musical interpretation of a verbal text, developing pictorial, emphatic, onomatopoeic, symbolic, and allegorical structures that rendered emotions and meanings carried by the verbal level of a musical piece.
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Foreword to the First Edition


This book is the result of my long fascination with Old Polish music, and that of baroque composers. I owe this interest to Prof. Karol Mrowiec during my studies at the Institute of Musicology of the Catholic University of Lublin. Under his guidance, I wrote my master’s thesis, followed by a doctoral dissertation. Both were dedicated to ancient Polish music; therefore, The Musical Rhetoric of the Polish Baroque is a natural continuation of those earlier undertakings. Contact with Prof. Zygmunt M. Szweykowski—both individual and with the Ancient Music Academy he run at the Institute of Musicology of the Jagellonian University in Cracow, an inspiring gathering researchers from different musical centres for over a decade—also proved crucial for the deepening of my musicological interests, as well as the choice of musical rhetoric as my next object of research.

I am also indebted to the reviewer of the present book, Prof. Piotr Poźniak from the Institute of Musicology of the Jagellonian University. His thorough and precise remarks and corrections have considerably improved the content and form of this book. I also wish to thank Prof. Zygmunt M. Szweykowski, who read the first version of this book and provided many useful remarks.

During the many years of my research, I have experienced the good will and helpfulness of my superiors from the Institute of Musicology of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. My thanks go to Prof. Urszula Bobryk, Prof. Beata Dąbrowska,...

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