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Jan z Lublina (Jan from Lublin)

   We do not know a lot about Jan from Lublin's life, neither his exact dates of birth nor death are clear; however, what we do know is the fact that he was a Polish organist and theorist who lived in the first half of the 16th century: Possibly he may have filled that position at the convent in Kraśnik, near Lublin. He was the collector of works and the compiler of one of the most comprehensive tablatures for keyboard instruments of the 16th century named, "Tabulatura Ioannis de Lyublin canonic: regularium de Crasnyc 1540".

The year 1540 marks the date of the writing of the introductory treatise to this tablature which is written in Latin and contains many musical examples to illustrate the given text as well; later in the manuscript, among the musical pieces, there are further additions to that treatise collected under various headings. The manuscript ends with instructions on the tuning of organs.

Among the extensive contents (520 pages, the largest extant organ tablature in Europe!) of the tablature are organ works for special liturgical occasions as well as a number of pieces for keyboard instruments of choice. The dates that are found near these works vary, ranging from 1537 to 1548, and most likely are meant to indicate the years in which the respective works were copied into this compilation. The choice of contents of that collection show well that Jan z Lublina knew what the best works available at his time were and where these were to be found: Included are works by Bianchini, Gir. Cavazzoni, Finck, Janequin, Josquin, Senfl, Stoltzer, Verdelot, just to name a few. Works of Polish composers naturally were included as well: Mikołaj z Krakowa and 'N. Z.', amongst others; many pieces are anonymous, of which some may be by Jan z Lublina himself. All the pieces that are contained in this collection are written in old German organ tablature; the transcriptions are not uniform in their nature: Some are limited to literal notations of the original works, others have formulaic indications for diminution, and still others are ‚laborated in compositional detail.

Information supplied by Monika Fahrnberger

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