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Polyphony then and now

As a preface, I would like to make it clear that in the following/hereinafter I am using the term/concept of polyphony in its narrowest sense, or in other words polyphony is the exact opposite of homophony. I find this necessary to point out from the beginning, because there have been and still are theories that use the term polyphony for all types of music with multiple parts. For my purposes, in my presentation I would further narrow down the concept of polyphony, and at least for the period of the following essay, I would restrict it to counterpoint.


I would like to justify my method with the fact that starting from the moment when music with multiple parts was born, but no later than from the disassociation of 2-3 voices it programmatically bound itself to counter-motion, or in other words the independent movement of parts and the leading of parts. This independence survived for centuries, both in the melodic and the rhythmic sense.


We might ask why is vocal polyphony so important to us?


The first and most conclusive argument for this is that all of European music, including the good half a millennium of instrumental music since then is in some way the product, imitation, parody, contrafactum or later divergence of vocal polyphony, or in one word it is its descendant.

The goal of my presentation is to trace intellectual and the emotional roots of music through the vocal music of later periods, in particular primarily European music of the 20th/21st centuries through examples that in given cases can be adopted for other musical phenomena outside of Europe as well.

The Hungarian choral conductor and music pedagogie, Valér Jobbágy, studied at the Pécs Secondary School of Arts - clarinet studies (1961-1965); Liszt Ferenc College of Music - Secondary School Singing Teacher and Conducting Department (1965-1970); Liszt Ferenc College of Music - clarinet artist teacher (1966-1972). In 1973, he attended master-class of Professor Hans Swarowsky in Ossiach. In 2003, he earned DLA degree at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, after a ’Summa cum laude’ defense of his doctoral thesis titled "A deklamáció szerepe Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina motettáiban" (The Role of Declamation in the Motets of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina)

Valér Jobbágy's teaching activities include: 1971-1974: Zoltán Kodály Secondary School of Music, Debrecen (clarinet, chamber music); 1974-1976: Pécs Secondary School of Arts (solfege-music theory, choir); 1976-1986: Teacher Training College of Pécs, Janus Pannonius University; 1986-1996: Gyula Illyés College of Education, Szekszárd; 1990-1996: Cathedral Singing School, Pécs; 1996-2007: University of Pécs, Faculty of Music and Visual Art, Head of Department; Since 1988: Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest (Subject: conducting practice, choir repertoire, choral conducting); 2004: Tokio Cantat, Japan - master-class.Valér Jobbágy's choir conducting activities include: 1961-1965: Pécs Cathedral Youth Choir; 1975-1980: IH Chamber Choir, Pécs; 1977-2007: Female Choir of the Teacher Training College of Pécs, later Janus Pannonius University; "Puellae" Female Chamber Choir of the University of Pécs; Since 1981: Szekszárdi Madrigálkórus (Szekszárd Madrigal Choir); Since 1988: Pécs Cathedral Palestrina Choir; 1990-1996: Pécs Cathedral Singing School; Since 1994: Schola Cantorum Sopianensis.

Bio en CAT

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