The term "early music" is closely associated with the concept of authentic performance . The authentic performance movement began with the performance of early music,and in general, the earlier the music, the more likely it is that its performers will show an interest in authentic performanceas it becomes more difficult for the reason listed below and others.
Notation and performance
According to Margaret Bent (1998), Early music notation , "isunder-prescriptive by our standards; when translated into modern form it acquires a prescriptive weight that overspecifies anddistorts its original openness." Before about 1600, written music did not consistently state which instruments are used when. Acentury earlier, people who wrote down music did not always specify whether lines of polyphony were to be sung or played on an instrument. Similarly, the notation frequently does not indicate whatkey to play the music in, if any. Accidentals were not necessary. Notations for rhythm go back only to about 1200. There is thusa speculative element to all modern performances of Medieval and Renaissance music. However, Renaissance musicians would havebeen highly trained in dyadic counterpoint and thus possessed this and other information necessary to read a score, "whatmodern notation requires [accidentals] would then have been perfectly apparent without notation to a singer versed incounterpoint." See: Renaissancemusic#Notation and performance .
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