Musica Baltica - International Musicological Conference edition:5 location:Gdansk (PL) date:15-17 May 2014
Only recently it became clear that mechanical carillons inform us about the performance practice of both the historical carillon repertoire and historical keyboard music in general.
Comparative study of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries re-pinning and carillon books (e.g. Claes 1616, de Sany 1648, de Gruÿtters 1746) not only broadened knowledge of the carillon repertoire, but also provided new insights into performance practice. The study gave rise to a new methodology that originates in the observation that versteken (arrangements for the automatic carillon) imitate the play of the carillonneurs, and thus are an important source for a Historically Informed Performance. The method consists of both playing the versteken (practice-based research) and comparing them with other primary musical sources. An example of this method will be explained by means of Théodore de Sany’s versteek-intabulations. They show the common use of intabulation technique (polyphonic reductions, diminutions) by carillonneurs, allowing polyphonic vocal works to be performed on the carillon. This will be demonstrated with a practical example: the reconstruction and the performance of Lassus’ chanson Bonjour mon coeur . From the study of the manuscript of Johann Ephraim Eggert (Danzig, 1784) appears that the Choral Lieder were intended to be played on automatic carillon. But they need still be thoroughly analysed and evaluated in the context of the new insight that versteken imitate the way carillonneurs played, taking into account the technical limitations and/or possibilities of the mechanical playing system.