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date: 16 May 2021

Blahoslav, Janlocked

  • John Clapham


(b Přerov, Feb 20, 1523; d Moravský Krumlov, Nov 24, 1571). Czech music theorist, hymnographer, grammarian and poet. He studied theory under Listenius and Hermann Finck at Wittenberg University from 1544. After a short period at Mladá Boleslav (1548–9) he continued his education at Königsberg and Basle. He was a fine linguist who strove to preserve the purity of his native tongue and succeeded in bridging the gulf between Christianity and humanism. He was ordained at Mladá Boleslav in 1553, and became a bishop of the Fraternity of Czech (or Moravian) Brethren in 1557. In the following year he established himself at Ivančice, where before long he installed a printing press. Towards the end of his life he moved to Moravský Krumlov.

His treatise Musica: to gest knjžka zpěwákům, published in Olomouc in 1558 (ed. and Eng. trans. in Sovík), is believed to be the first on music theory in the Czech language, but its information is derived from the writings of Listenius, Finck, Ornithoparchus and Coclico. Blahoslav wrote two entirely new sections for the second edition giving critical and practical advice to singers and choirmasters, and guidance to composers of hymns: he emphasized the need for the musical rhythm to correspond with the ...

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