Over the past twenty-five years Europe and North America have witnessed an enormous revival of interest in early music. Since the late 1950s numerous professional and amateur ensembles have delighted audiences with the vocal and instrumental music of the twelffth to the sixteenth centuries, while scholars have addressed themselves to the many problems involved in its authentic re-creation. This book unites the two fields; it is both a summary of the most recent scholarly investigations into the subject and a practical guide to the performance of early music based on the experience of the author and others who have performed a sizable portion of the early repertory.
McGee lays out clearly the foundation and background of each of the performance problems, presenting the most recent research and pointing out areas of incomplete knowledge and controversy, and then introduces practical solutions based on the scholarship.
All the topics necessary for a historical performance of early music are discussed: tempo, rhythmic flow, instrumentation, ornamentation, articulation, improvisation, style, and singing technique, along with some practical hints for selecting a program and shoosing substitute instruments. The final chapters is a reference guide to modern editions of the music and an introduction to the scholarly literature on early music performances.
At the time of publication, this book was the first to address the problem of how to perform medieval and Renaissance music. It is intended for both the amateur performing musician and the serious student.
'The book is attractively presented, and the clear arrangement of chapters, along with the comprehensive index,makes it a valuable reference work heartily to be welcomed.'