Early music is a term that refers to a broad musical era in the history of Western art music, composed prior to the Classical era. The term generally comprises Medieval music (500–1400) and Renaissance music (1400–1600), but can also include Baroque music (1600–1760), and, according to some authorities such as Kennedy (who excludes Baroque), Ancient music (before 500 AD). According to the UK's National Centre for Early Music, the term "early music" refers to both a repertory (European music written between 1250 and 1750 embracing Medieval, Renaissance and the Baroque) – and a historically informed approach to the performance of that music. However, today this term has come to include "any music for which a historically appropriate style of performance must be reconstructed on the basis of surviving scores, treatises, instruments and other contemporary evidence."
In the later 20th century there was a resurgence of interest in the performance of music from the Medieval and Renaissance eras, and a number of instrumental consorts and choral ensembles specialising in Early music repertoire were formed.
According to Margaret Bent, "Renaissance notation is under-prescriptive by our standards; when translated into modern form it acquires a prescriptive weight that overspecifies and distorts its original openness. Accidentals … may or may not have been notated, but what modern notation requires would then have been perfectly apparent without notation to a singer versed in counterpoint".
- ^ a b Michael Kennedy; Tim Rutherford-Johnson; Joyce Bourne Kennedy (2013). "Early music". The Oxford Dictionary of Music. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press Oxford. p. 255. ISBN 9780199578542.
- ^ "About Us". National Centre for Early Music. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- ^ Harry Haskell, "Early Music", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001.
- ^ Nick Wilson (2013). The Art of Re-enchantment: Making Early Music in the Modern Age. New York: Oxford University Press USA. p. 76. ISBN 9780199939930. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- ^ Margaret Bent, "The Grammar of Early Music: Preconditions for Analysis", p. 25. In Tonal Structures in Early Music, edited by Cristle Collins Judd, 15–59 (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 1998; Criticism and Analysis of Early Music 1), New York: Garland Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
- Davidson, Audrey Ekdahl. 2008. Aspects of Early Music and Performance. New York: AMS Press. ISBN 978-0-404-64601-1.
- Donington, Robert. 1989. The Interpretation of Early Music, new revised edition. London and Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-15040-3.
- Epp, Maureen, and Brian E. Power (eds.). 2009. The Sounds and Sights of Performance in Early Music: Essays in Honour of Timothy J. Mcgee. Farnham, Surrey (UK); Burlington, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-5483-4.
- Haskell, Harry. 1988. The Early Music Revival: A History. London and New York: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01449-3.
- Haynes, Bruce. 2007. The End of Early Music: A Period Performer's History of Music for the Twenty-First Century. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518987-2.
- Judd, Cristle Collins. 1998. "Introduction: Analyzing Early Music". In Tonal Structures in Early Music, edited by Cristle Collins Judd, 3–13. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 1998; Criticism and Analysis of Early Music 1. New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
- Kelly, Thomas Forrest. 2011. Early Music: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-973076-6.
- Roche, Jerome, and Elizabeth Roche. 1981. A Dictionary of Early Music: From the Troubadours to Monteverdi. London: Faber Music in association with Faber & Faber; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-571-10035-X (UK, cloth); ISBN 0-571-10036-8 (UK, pbk); ISBN 0-19-520255-4 (US, cloth).
- Sherman, Bernard. 1997. Inside Early Music: Conversations with Performers. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509708-4.
- Stevens, Denis. 1997. Early Music, revised edition. Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides. London: Kahn & Averill. ISBN 1-871082-62-5. First published as Musicology (London: Macdonald & Co. Ltd, 1980).
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