Early Music: A Very Short Introduction [#265]
Early Music: A Very Short Introduction [#265]

Early Music: A Very Short Introduction [#265]

Thomas Forrest Kelly


  • A unique and succinct survey of both the history and current study and performance of early Western music (medieval, Renaissance, and baroque)

The music of the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods have been repeatedly discarded and rediscovered ever since they were new. An interest in music of the past has been characteristic of a part of the musical world since the early 19th century. The revival of Gregorian chant in the early 19th century; the "Cecilian movement" in later 19th-century Germany seeking to immortalize Palestrina's music as a sound-ideal; Mendelssohn's revival of Bach: these are some of the efforts made in the past to restore still earlier music. In recent years this interest has taken on particular meaning, representing two specific trends: first, a rediscovery of little-known underappreciated repertories, and second, an effort to recover lost performing styles, with the conviction that such music will come to life anew with the right performance. Much has been gained in the 20th century from the study and revival of instruments, playing techniques, and repertories. In this VSI, Thomas Forrest Kelly frames chapters on the forms, techniques, and repertories practices of the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods with discussion of why old music has been and should be revived, as well as a short history of early music revivals.


List of illustrations

1. What does “early music” mean?
2. Repertories: Medieval
3. Repertories: Renaissance
4. Repertories: Baroque
5. Performing issues
6. The modern early-music revival
Further reading


Thomas Forrest Kelly, Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music, Harvard University
Thomas Forrest Kelly is the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. He is the author, among other books, of First Nights (Yale, 2004, named a New York TimesNotable Book of the Year), and First Nights at the Opera (Yale, 2004). He has been president of Early Music America.

When this book was announced, the only question was whether it would be any good. The answer, emphatically, is yes, and the author addresses both specialist readers and newcomers. - The Independent

"This introduction may be 'short' but it's packed with good stuff. Authoritative, surprisingly comprehensive for its size, and presented with all of Professor Kelly's usual grace, wit, and clarity."-- Paul Hillier, founding director, The Hilliard Ensemble, and former director, Early Music Institute, Indiana University
"Smart opinions and a coherent overview of what many still consider a Very Contentious Topic. Professor Kelly offers historical perspective, not only on the music itself, but the long trail of interpreters who preceded the more recent Revival, plus a very astute recognition that present ideas could soon seem as dated as those of Beecham and Stokowski -- or Mozart and Mendelssohn. Not only is Professor Kelly's heart in the right place, but his ears and brain seem to be more correctly connected than usual in the polemical world of early music."-- Christopher Hogwood, emeritus director, Academy of Ancient Music


ISBN : 9780199730766

Thomas Forrest Kelly
144 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Early Music: A Very Short Introduction [#265]

Early Music: A Very Short Introduction [#265]

Early Music: A Very Short Introduction [#265]