Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-11

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

This essay is not meant to be a musicological study nor a practical how-to-play Early Music guide with detailed references to all the historical sources; enough examples of both kinds already exist. I very deliberately chose to include an index of only the most relevant composers and concepts. ...

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1. The Underlying Philosophy

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pp. 1-4

When reading most twentieth- or twenty-first-century scores, trained musicians can hear them quite precisely in their “mind’s ear.” The exact instrumentation is given; the characteristics of the instruments are familiar; standard modern pitch and equal temperament are presupposed; tempo is prescribed by metronome markings; ...

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2. My Way Toward Research

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pp. 5-10

My passion for Early Music developed in the 1960s. I played the recorder in childhood and continue to play it, with much pleasure, as a secondary instrument next to the transverse flute. Contrary to the opinion of my flute teacher at music school, who saw the recorder as a mere toy or penny whistle, I could not help but consider it as a real instrument. ...

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3. The Limits of Notation

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pp. 11-16

Notating everything with utmost precision, if possible at all, would ask for a very great effort and look very complicated. It would also limit the performer’s freedom more than most performers or even composers would have wanted. In Der Critische Musicus (May 15, 1737), Johann Adolf Scheibe criticizes J. S. Bach’s habit of writing out the whole “method” of playing, ...

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4. The Notation, Its Perception, and Rendering

In sections 1–13 the most important notation parameters of Early Music will be treated separately. Short texts in italics will point to the frequent overlapping and continual cross-influence between them or will lead from one section to the next in an attempt to see all these parameters not as isolated elements, but rather as interwoven parts of one integral artistic product. ...

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Pitch

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pp. 19-26

For most listeners, other than those with perfect pitch, centered at today’s official a1 = 440 Hz, hearing a piece lower or higher might not make very much difference, though the general mood and sound color will undoubtedly be changed. In earlier times there was no standard pitch. ...

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Temperament

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pp. 27-32

Unfortunately, in any given composition, one cannot simultaneously have all octaves, fifths, fourths, and thirds—the first encountered intervals in the series of overtones—acoustically pure, i.e. non-beating against each other. Temperaments are practical solutions to this problem, necessitated by the fixed notes of the keyboard ...

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Tempo and Rubato

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pp. 33-38

There are few precise descriptions of tempo before the metronome came into general use during the nineteenth century. Even then, they are not necessarily to be taken at face value; recordings (from ca. 1900 onward) show that composers such as Alexander Scriabin and Edward Elgar frequently performed their own pieces at another tempo than the one they prescribe. ...

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Rhythm

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pp. 39-48

The eighteenth-century musician did not observe our modern rules about strict solfège down to the smallest note values. These notes seemed to be treated as ornamental rather than essential, and could thus be performed more freely, some longer, some shorter than notated. ...

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Phrasing

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pp. 49-51

In most of today’s mainstream musical performances we hear “long-line playing”: the horizontal aspect clearly dominates, and sometimes almost annihilates, the vertical aspect. Each note is quite similar to its neighbors to the left and right, and changes are made very gradually. In earlier times, music, just as society, was not so democratic; ...

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Articulation

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pp. 52-55

With regard to articulation, singing treatises are of great help, as they stress the singer’s obligation to clearly pronounce consonants as well as vowels and to respect the correct prosody. The fact that this is stressed so often probably indicates that in earlier times, too, not all singers fulfilled this obligation. ...

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Dynamics

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pp. 56-60

Though dynamics are a very personal element of performance, in Early Music where they are mostly not specified, historical documents such as treatises and descriptions of performances, the instruments themselves, and concert venue acoustics must provide much of our information. ...

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Orchestration—Instrumentation—Arrangement

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pp. 61-72

Composers frequently handled orchestration aspects quite freely; scores do not indicate the number of players per part, and we must undertake considerable research in order to know the local customs. The very words “orchestra” and “choir” may be misleading. ...

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Basso Continuo

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pp. 73-75

The manner in which the basso continuo—one of the determining elements of baroque music—is realized is continuously under debate, in theory as well as in practice. The figures only indicate which harmony is desired, but many questions remain unanswered. Which (combinations of) instruments are to be used? ...

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Ornamentation

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pp. 76-84

Quantz’s distinction, clearly expressed in his Versuch (1752), between “wesentliche Manieren” and “willkürliche Veränderungen” is a convenient starting point. The latter can be translated as “arbitrary alternatives,” that is, substitutions of one note or passage by another, freely invented by the performer. ...

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Cadenzas

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pp. 85-88

Related to freely improvised ornamentation are the cadenzas and fermatas, which occur in arias, sonatas, and concerti. Whereas fermatas are performed on one single chord, usually a dominant seventh, and are thus limited to one basic harmony, a cadenza occurs on the succession of a 6/4 and a 5/3 chord on the dominant, just before the end of a piece or a solo. ...

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Improvisation

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pp. 89-90

Most great composers were great improvisers, too. Very likely, they will have included a great deal of improvisation in playing their own compositions, or varied their pieces from one performance to another, not only in the field of free ornamentation or cadenzas. ...

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Manuscript—Print—Revision—Modern Editions

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pp. 91-96

Music was mostly written for immediate use, not for eternity, and certainly not in view of a scientific edition in our times. Anybody who has handled old manuscripts and prints will have experienced how many mistakes they contain—especially notational details such as unclear and inconsistent positioning of articulation and dynamics marks. ...

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The Audience’s Attitude

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pp. 97-99

Professional musicians were normally employed in the service of a court, town, or church, and thus did not enjoy complete independence. The character, the degree of education (musical and otherwise), and the social class of the audience or employer, and the local etiquette, and expectations inevitably had their effect on both the composer and the performer. ...

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The Performer’s Attitude

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pp. 100-106

Very often, musicians from earlier centuries performed in situations that would not inspire envy today: during meals, receptions, and balls, in the open air, on the water (Handel)—merely as background noise. I suppose not everybody reacted in the same way to these circumstances; ...

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Emotion and Affect

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pp. 107-108

We all know and feel that in spoken language, the “real” meaning lies below or beyond the words. That is the benefit we receive by going to the theater, reading a book, or listening to poetry, by talking to somebody rather than writing. ...

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The Mirror

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pp. 109-110

What “moves” into me from the score, through the affects staged by the author(s), will obviously stir my emotions. As an amateur I could keep these emotions to myself, but as a professional performer, I will direct the affects suggested by the composer (in as far as I can detect, accept, feel, and render them today) ...

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The Two-Fold Concept of Authenticity

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pp. 111-112

As a minimal sign of respect and responsibility toward both the composer and the audience, I feel I have to put together, accept, and apply all the existing evidence, as illustrated elsewhere in chapter 4. In my opinion this is no more than simply doing justice to the composer and his work, and taking both him and the listener seriously. ...

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5. Outlook

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pp. 113-114

The notation gives us the raw but lifeless material from which we have to reinvent the actual music, applying the reading and performing conventions of different times and places. This quest will, of its nature, be a long one without easy, conclusive answers. ...

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Sources of Inspiration

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pp. 115-116

My vision of Early Music performance has received particularly stimulating impulses from many sides and on many occasions. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to: ...

Bibliography

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pp. 117-122

Selective Index

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pp. 123-124

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About the Author

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pp. 142-142

World-renowned baroque flautist, conductor, and researcher Dr. Barthold Kuijken is considered one of the pioneers of the Early Music movement. As Professor of baroque flute at the Royal Conservatories of The Hague and Brussels (where he is also Head of the Early Music Section), ...