Sub Rosa is a three-piece band that plays instrumental music from the middle ages, mainly from the XIII. century. Our performance is suitable for medieval fares and festivals. It is loud and provides happy background music for such evens. The main instruments are: bagpipe, shawm, medieval lute and drums. We wear period costumes and try to be faithful to what the original idea of the music might have been in the middle ages.
We also have a vocal ensemble, where we play songs from the XIII. century. Here the singers are accompanied by harp, psaltery and percussion instruments. You can listen to this band here.
Sub Rosa was formed in 1999 in the Hungarian town of Törökbálint. It was originally meant to be a one-night-performance but the enthusiasm made us form a band and stay together. In the beginning, we had to get used to playing music together and learn more about the music and instruments of the middle ages.
Sub Rosa is a group of wandering musicians who have come to entertain people in the market-square.
We got introduced in historical festivals through Saint Sebastian Crossbow Company, who we accompanied during their shows. This is where Sub Rosa found its home alongside other performers in period costume and arms (including dancers, knights, falconers etc.) Together with them we hope to bring the middle ages to life and re-enact a slice of life from several hundred years back in time. Our band has performed over the years in various places and festivals in Hungary, as well as in Switzerland, Slovakia and Estonia.
In the early days Sub Rosa played renaissance music as well, but now our repertoire includes only the music of the middle ages. Luckily, enough music survived from the 13th century to be able to put together a colorful and exciting list of songs to play. Our pieces mainly come from the 13th century. In manuscripts back then they only wrote down the melody line, so all the accompanying parts are our own additions. We hope that the way we interpret them is not far from what it really sounded like and that the original composers would not be disappointed to hear their music from Sub Rosa.
We play medieval music on medieval instruments in period custume. The design, colours and materials and of the clothes are made based on studies of the 13th century garments.
The name of the band is a latin phrase and translates „under the rose”, which is supposed to mean: „in secret”. The rose was a symbol for secrecy from as early as ancient times and everything that was „sub rosa” was meant to be a secret.
Medieval music for the masses of people is still unknown. We could say: it is sub rosa for them. However we hope that those who discover it will find something of great beauty.