mgr Agata Magdziak


ORCID: 0000-0003-4897-7577

The topic of my dissertation is: "Motifs of musical instruments in Polish Romantic literature"

The aim of my dissertation is to analyse the motifs of musical instruments in the literature of the Romantic era and to look at the functions and meanings of these motifs within Romantic artistic literary works, worldview and aesthetics. In my work, I intend to answer the following questions: What is the frequency of the occurrence of musical instrument motifs in Romantic literature? In which works do these motifs play a key role in the meaning of the whole literary work? In which ones are they merely an ornamental element? Are they framed in a conventional or a concretised way? What does the use of musical instruments say about the literature, worldview and aesthetics of the period?

A preliminary examination of the issue allows posing the thesis that there is a notable overrepresentation of musical instrument motifs in Romantic literature. Writers of the Romantic era often place these motifs at the very problematic or compositional centre of their works. Musical instruments are also sometimes attributes of the Romantic genius artist, with the lute, harp or lyre usually playing this role, along with the bardon, violin and piano. At times musical instruments also constitute key motifs for the expression of Romantic folklore or an element of Romantic staffage.

I will describe the above mentioned motifs in relation to the construction of musical instruments, their sound and their traditional function in music. In my research I will also apply the knowledge of contextual musicological issues i.e. the mechanics of the instruments, performance techniques, modes of sound production and aesthetics. I will use two auxiliary criteria of meaning to describe the conclusions of the analyses. The first one will span a scale the boundary points of which will denote, on the one hand, that which is extremely conventionalised and lexicalised, and, on the other, that which is concretised and individualised. I will superimpose a scale of chronology on the criterion determined in this manner, taking into account that not all examples meet these two criteria in a parallel way. I will apply the analyses to the realities of nineteenth-century Polish and European musical life and combine them with historical literary commentary and interpretation of literary works. I will also arrange the examined material according to such interpretative categories as rustic space, symbolic space and the space of a romantic salon, an artist's study or a concert hall (opera house, theatre).