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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland’s Kraków seeks bugler to sound centuries-old call

29.12.2020 16:34
The fire department in the southern Polish city of Kraków has announced a vacancy for a bugler.
Image by max_gloin from Pixabay
Image by max_gloin from PixabayPixabay licence

The successful candidate will become one of seven buglers who sound a traditional trumpet call from the tower of the city’s St Mary’s Church.

The vacancy opened up following the retirement of a team member, Jan Sergiel, after 24 years of service.

Candidates for the post will undergo tests of their physical fitness and musical abilities. They will also be checked to determine whether they have a fear of heights.

The appointee will undergo a fireman’s training before taking up his duties, and will work a 24-hour shift, in a two-man team, once every three days. To reach the top of the tower, which looms 81 metres above the city, he has to climb 272 steps.

A traditional bugle call is played every hour on the hour and is repeated four times, out of the north, south, east and west-facing windows of the church tower.

The tune consists of a simple melody of open chords which is cut short in the middle of the final cadence.

According to legend, an 11th century trumpeter in Kraków was shot through the throat with an arrow while raising an alarm warning of a Mongol invasion.

But 16th century sources suggest other buglers at the city gates would finish the musical phrase when the opening or closing of gates was completed.

The first written accounts of the Kraków bugle call come from 1392.

(mk/pk)