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Periods of
Western classical music
Medieval c. 500–1400
Renaissance c. 1400–1600
Common practice
Baroque c. 1600–1760
Classical c. 1730–1820
Romantic c. 1815–1910
Modern and contemporary
Modern c. 1890–1930
20th century 1901–2000
Contemporary c. 1975–present
21st century 2001–present

Early music is generally understood as comprising all music, usually of the Occident, from the earliest times up to the Baroque.[1] 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."[2]


Main article: Early music revival

Performance practice[edit]

Musical eras
Ancient (before 500 AD)
Early (500–1760)
Common practice (1600–1900)
Modern and contemporary (1900–present)

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".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael Kennedy, "Early Music"", in The Oxford Dictionary of Music, second revised edition, Associate Editor Joyce Bourne. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-19-869162-9.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Bent, Margaret. 1998. "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. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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).

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_music — Please support Wikipedia.
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