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of the typescript (286 pages) consists of tables of vowel transcriptions indicating each speaker's response for each of the words. A set of maps (91 pages) plots the geographic distribution of variant pronunciations of particular words. The accompanying text is relatively slight (138 pages), and most of it is devoted to explicating the survey techniques that yielded the data and the expository devices used in the book. Only the first 26 pages discuss Ulster history, geography, and dialectology. Readers will have to look elsewhere in order to satisfy their curiosity about such topics - and the most likely sources will prominently include Gregg's 1972 article. This book obviously has a different purpose: it is a distinguished scholar's compendium of his data-base. (J.K. CHAMBERS) Timothy J. McGee. Medieval and Renaissance Music: A Performer's Guide University of Toronto Press. 304. $27.95 Up to now, there has never been abook which attempts to speakabout the performance of Medieval and Renaissance music in a comprehensive manner, striding boldly along that hazy line of reconciliation which separates the often conflicting fields of musical scholarship and musical practicality. Baroque music has been served by the writings of Dolmetsch (1915), Dart (1954), and DOnington (1963 and 1974), but music of the more remote eras, with even greater need, has languished without such ecumenical counsel. We should all be grateful that this new book by TimothyJ. McGee of the University of Toronto succeeds as well as it does in this thorny task, and blazes a trail for others to follow. A book such as this can only be judgedby its stated aim, which is to help those interested in performing Medieval and Renaissance music with a 'historically authentic interpretation.' Some have argued that 'authenticity ' with regard to this music is not achievable in modern times, but McGee's historical approach is a valid one, aimed at generating performances where the aesthetic is congruent with the composer's intent or, at least, expectation. In any event, while that is the preoccupation of this book, McGee readily concedes that it is not the only approach and that the music should be heard regardless. There are two components to the discussion. One is a summary of 'state-of-the-art' research into historical performance practices. The other consists of McGee's own insights, based on his personal experience and informed intuition about issues for which we have no firm historical basis for decision-making. Some problems exist with both aspects, however. With regard to the research summary, the main problem is that this is perhaps the fastest moving field of inquiry in music, and any book which assumes a 'state-of-the-art' posture will almost certainly be out of date HUMANITIES 253 before it reaches the bookstores. This is a shortcoming which must be agonizingly evident to the author, particularly in the bibliography, which seems to have a cut-offdate of1983, and whichis therefore missing several importantnew articles, monographs, editions, and even reference works, the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984) being one obvious example. This kind of thing can easily be remedied in subsequent editions, however. A more serious problem of documentation is the regular omission of page references in the footnotes, particularly for the primary sources. That, combined with the necessary generalization and simplification in the performance practice discussions, raises questions in my mind as to whom the book is really meant to address. If the intended constituency is the serious student of this repertoire, then the frustration wiIl be the lack of detail and the imprecision of the documentation. At the same time, serious students could be expected to have the skills to follow up passing references on their own, so the book may, in fact, be useful as a first line of approach. It is also true that McGee's index to editions by repertoire (chapter 11) and the Myers chart of instrumental popularity (chapter 4) provide tools not available elsewhere in so convenient a form. If the intended constituency is the dedicated amateur, then the whole approach and format make more sense, except that access to a fully equipped university music library is assumed. Perhaps a more detailed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 252-254
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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