Tomasz Dobrzański / fot. Łukasz Rajchert
Tomasz Dobrzański / fot. Łukasz Rajchert
Forum Musicum
Loud Playing Ca 1400
5:00 PM
Wrocław's public spaces

Mini concerts in Wrocław's public spaces

5 pm, Town Market (between Aleksander Fredro statue and Town Hall)
6 pm, pl. Wolności (in front of NFM main entrance)


Alta Cappella:  
Tomasz Dobrzański – shawn, bagpipe, one-hand pipe and tuntune  
Fryderyk Mizerski – slide trumpet
Jacek Muzioł – percussion

Wrocław's public spaces

People have always liked it, and power has needed it. There’s nothing like loud music! Demanding physical effort, it was the domain of professional guild city artists who graced the ceremonies, accompanied dances, and were tasked with playing bugle calls from the towers (hence their English name waits).

For various old formations of loud wind instruments, musicologists thought up a neat name: alta cappella – a loud band. Its most characteristic instrument was the shawm, which evolved from small reed instruments called zurna and brought from the Middle East. Trumpets, too, appeared in such ensembles – initially simple busines, and later, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the most common was the slide trumpet, the precursor of the trombone. However, the best for dance music and creating an atmosphere of noisy joy were undoubtedly the bagpipes, a self-sufficient instrument with its own bourdon accompaniment. As part of the alta cappella ensemble, there was also a one-hand pipe with a drum or other percussion instrument. The set, played by one musician, was loved by dancers for centuries, and in many traditional cultures it has survived to this day.

The preserved repertoire is small, because the pieces were not recorded – they were played from memory, with a lot of improvisations. Today we know just two manuscripts containing dance programmes that could have been performed by alta cappella ensembles. We invite you to listen to them during free mini concerts at the Wrocław Market Square and Wolności Square!

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