Sakralność religijnej kontrafaktury świeckich utworów


  • Wojciech Kałamarz Uniwersytet Papieski Jana Pawła II w Krakowie Międzyuczelniany Instytut Muzyki Kościelnej, Kraków


Słowa kluczowe:

kontrafaktura, rodzaje kontrafaktur, historia muzyki chrześcijańskiej, melodie ludowe, chorał, kolęda, pieśni liturgiczne, muzyka protestancka


The phenomenon of contrafactum, that is giving new lyrics to the melody that already functioned with different words, is an old and common practice which occurred in many forms. Most often the term is associated with giving religious lyrics to a melody that previously possessed secular words. But this is only one of many possibilities. For centuries valuable melodies were used with both secular and religious words, regardless of original interrelationships of a particular melody.

Today, in society sensitive to copyrights, the practice of contrafactum raises a lot of emotions. Also, it often evokes mixed feelings in the milieus which are involved in sacred music. This is because melodies, to some extent, convey with them the meaning of the words to which they are related, especially in the minds of the people who know these words. The secularity of melody can therefore be present not only in purely musical characteristics of a particular melody (e.g., dance rhythm, chromatization, great variety of emotions and emotional intensity), but also with secular context with which it is identified by the people who use this melody, for example, the intention which lead to the creation of a particular melody or with its original meaning. On the other hand, sacred music is the music created to participate in a sacred reality (an integral part of liturgy) and in some sense also to co-create this reality by praising the glory of God and sanctifying the faithful.

When giving a secular melody to religious lyrics it is important to make sure that during liturgy their potential users should not associate this melody with anything secular. It should be composed in a perfect manner, in accordance with the rules of counterpoint. It should be a melody containing diatonic sounds, without unnecessary tension, alterations, and with dignified rhythm so that it lent itself to being performed by a large number of people. Moreover, it should simply be beautiful and its proportionally selected components should create internal unity of music and highlight the meaning of the lyrics to which it is to be added. Finally, the melody along with the words should be approved by the appropriate authority of the Church. Only then can we begin to consider it as a sacred, i.e., a liturgical song.






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