Major Activities and Research Areas

square Maintaining Collections square Source Studies
square Publishing Activities square Digitizing Sources
square Organizing Conferences square Teaching
square Related Activities

Maintaining Collections
The maintenance of several kinds of collections is a fundamental duty of the Department, which includes the enriching, categorization and cataloguing of the material of these collections. Several of them serve as an aid to the research (e.g. microfilm collection, digital archive), while others are themselves objects of research (e.g. in the case of the antiphon collection, where the development of the collection was combined with its musical categorization and publication).
At the same time the maintenance--enlargement of the material is never confined exclusively to a given research or publishing project. For example the collection of CAO-ECE databases contains not only the sources of the published traditions. CAO-ECE is a more general method of describing and analysing the sources, so its collection comprises many unpublished repertory databases produced in the course of personal research works of the colleagues.
It is a general principle that cataloguing is made by computer, so the handling of every collection is made easier by means of electronic databases. About the content of the individual collections, the work with them and their catalogues see the page Collections.   Top of the Page

Publishing Activities
square  Source editions
Members of the Department initiated the foundation of the series Musicalia Danubiana devoted to the publication of primary sources of Hungarian music history. Since 1982 eighteen sources have been published in the series, among them four manuscripts from the Middle Ages:
squareSzendrei, J. -- Rybarič, R.: Missale Notatum Strigoniense ante 1341 in Posonio. Musicalia Danubiana 1. Budapest, 1982. (Facsimile and Studies.)
squareSzendrei, J.: Graduale Strigoniense (s. XV/XVI). Musicalia Danubiana 12/A-B. Budapest, 1990. (Transcriptions and Studies.)
squareSzendrei, J.: Breviarium Notatum Strigoniense (s. XIII). Musicalia Danubiana 17. Budapest, 1998. (Facsimile and Studies.)
squareDobszay, L.: Liber Ordinarius Agriensis (1509). Musicalia Danubiana Subsidia 1. Budapest, 2000.
Other source editions from the Middle Ages outside the frame of Musicalia Danubiana:
squareFalvy, Z. -- Mezey, L.: Codex Albensis. Ein Antiphonar aus dem 12. Jahrhundert. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1962.
squareThe Istanbul Antiphonal (about 1360). Ed. Szendrei, J. Facsimile edition with studies. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1999.
square  Other publishing activities
Another long-term project of the Department is the CAO-ECE, which analyses and publishes not only the individual sources but the musico-liturgical traditions behind them as well. See the pages devoted specially to the CAO-ECE project.
Since the meetings of the Cantus Planus Study Group have regularly taken place in Hungary for the last 15 years, the publication of the papers of these conferences has also become a permanent task of the Department. While the papers of the first 2 CP meetings were published in the journal Studia Musicologica, the later ones appeared in separate Cantus Planus volumes published by the Institute for Musicology.
Beside these permanent publishing tasks, the members of the Department publish the results of their research on a regular basis. Their articles can be found tipically in the following periodicals: Zenetudományi Dolgozatok, publications of the Cantus Planus Study Group, Magyar Könyvszemle, Magyar Egyházzene etc.   Top of the Page

Organizing Conferences
The Cantus Planus Research Group was founded under the aegis of the International Musicological Society in 1983. By virtue of its activities for nearly 15 years the Group has become a prestigious body, and by now about 80 distinguished scholars of the musical mediaevistic from 20 countries participate in its work. László Dobszay played a major role in the international cooperation from the beginning. It is due to this circumstance and perhaps to Hungary's geographical position that of the 10 meetings of the Study Group have held so far, 7 were organized in Hungary. The organization of these meetings and the publication of the many papers have belonged to the main tasks of the Department for the last 15 years.
Meetings of the Cantus Planus held in Hungary:
19841st meeting, Veszprém, published in: Studia Musicologica 27 (1985).
19883rd meeting, Tihany, published: Cantus Planus. (Papers Read at the 3rd Meeting.) Budapest, 1990.
19904th meeting, Pécs, published: Cantus Planus. (Papers Read at the 4th Meeting.) Budapest, 1992.
19936th meeting, Eger, published: Cantus Planus. (Papers Read at the 6th Meeting.) Budapest, 1995.
19957th meeting, Sopron, published: Cantus Planus. (Papers Read at the 7th Meeting.) Budapest, 1998.
19989th meeting Visegrád, published: Cantus Planus. (Papers Read at the 4th Meeting.) (in preparation)
200010th meeting in the frame of the IMS Intercongressional Symposium, Budapest--Visegrád.   Top of the Page

Source Studies
The study of sources belongs to the traditional key activities of the Department for at least two reasons:
square It is well-known that Hungary's history abounds in events that involved serious losses and destruction of the medieval codices. The survived manuscripts and fragments are therefore of special importance as far as the study of the early music history is concerned.
square In consequences of the well-known reduction of Hungary's territory after the World Wars the major part of the source material belonging to Hungary's medieval history became ‘foreign property’. A not negligible part of our source material has been difficult to come by up to the present, moreover, there might still exist unknown or unexamined sources outside Hungary's present frontiers.
The first comprehensive survey of notated manuscripts was carried out in the 40s: Radó, Polikárp: A magyar középkor kótás kéziratai. [Notated manuscripts of the Hungarian Middle Ages.] Magyar Zenei Szemle (1941), 93-101. The 60s and 70s meant the beginning of a new era in Hungary, concerning the study of codices with music. The work was performed by a new generation of musicologists led by Benjamin Rajeczky. They carried out a thorough study of complete sources, began to compile their contents in comparative charts, to investigate their liturgical structure, repertoire, typical choice of melodies, the system of their musical variants, and to describe their notations. After analyzing the complete sources a systematic research of fragments started in the 70s. As a result of these works a more complete and thorough survey of our sources could be published in 1981: Szendrei, Janka: A magyar középkor hangjegyes forrásai. [Notated Sources in Medieval Hungary.] Budapest. By now all known Hungarian sources or sources coming from the territory of medieval Hungary are analyzed, including the description of their notation, the definition of their provenance and the musical analysis of their melodic contents.
Because of the mentioned circumstancies, source studies also include visiting libraries, on-the-spot analysis of sources, organizing research trips to neighbouring countries with the hope of discovering further sources of the discontinously documented Middle Ages of Hungary. In the recent past trips were organized to Romania (Gyulafehérvár-Alba Julia, Brassó-Braşov, Nagyszeben-Sibiu, Csíkszereda-Miercurea Ciuc, Csíksomlyó-Sumuleu Ciuc, Segesvár-Sighisoara, Gyergyószentmiklós-Gheorgheni), Turkey (Istanbul), Slovakia (Pozsony-Bratislava, Nagyszombat-Trnava) and the Czeh Republic (Praha, Brünn-Brno, Olmütz-Olomouc).   Top of the Page

Digitizing Sources
The microfilm collection of the Department is a large and representative set of Hungarian, Central and Western European plainchant sources, consisting of more than 800 items. Although, the microfilm is an indispensable means of the research, especially for the modern comparative research, it is a vulnerable tool, and its use is sometimes unaccomodating. The modern digital technique makes it possible to overcome these difficulties, and along with the general trend, a digitization project started at the Department in 1998. The primary aims are:
squareto preserve the most important sources of the Hungarian Middle Ages;
squareto make easier to study and publish the sources using the possibilities of the digital technique.
For more about the project and for a database of the CD collection supplied with sample images and detailed descriptions see: CD Catalogue   Top of the Page

Members of the Department have close connections with the Liszt Academy of Music. They have been teaching at the Department of Musicology for many years and in 1990 László Dobszay became head of the newly founded Church Music Department of the Academy. For the last 25 years numerous young musicologists who graduated from the Music Academy hav been introduced to the scholarly work performed at the Department, some of them work now in other Departments of the Institute. All younger members of the present Department were earlier students of László Dobszay and Janka Szendrei. Sometimes postgraduate students from abroad study here at the Early Music Department.   Top of the Page

Related Activities
Closely connected with research into plainchant history László Dobszay and Janka Szendrei founded the choir Schola Hungarica with the support of Benjamin Rajeczky in 1969. Its aim was to perform the scholarly examined melodic repertories and utilize the experiences of research.
So far the ensemble has published 39 recordings and has been awarded several prizes in Hungary and abroad.
Characteristically, Schola Hungarica does not rely on modern practical editions but uses the material of medieval sources as a basis, drawing thereby a realistic picture of some local plainchant tradition of the Middle Ages. Since the overwhelming majority of the sung items are not available in literature, the recordings of the Schola can also be regarded as a kind of publication. In addition to the basic medieval repertory the Schola performs items from the following segments of music literature:
squaresequence and trope repertory;
squarerhymed Office and liturgical plays;
squarepieces from the age of the Renaissance, early Classicism and from the 20th century.   Top of the Page

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