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Early music is based mainly on the music of the Medieval Renaissance and Baroque erasMany people like to define Early Music as ending in 1750 with the death of JS BachThis is a handy date but it misses the various stylistic changes taking place around thattime ie the emergence of the gallant and pre-classical idioms in close proximity to thefinal flowering of the baroque proper To add even more confusion this is also notclear-cut As with everything else Baroque music ended gradually and sporadically if weare to say that it ended all Perhaps the significant factor defining these eras as earlymusic is that they do not have a continuous performance tradition In other words thismusic ceased to be performed after its time had passed and needed to be revived in ourown era This is not true of the classical music of Mozart Beethoven et al Whichpossesses a continuous performance tradition This means that to some degree it is thisrevival which dominates EM that is early music as a movement at least in spirit Ofcourse things are not clear-cut here either For instance late Baroque composers likeBach Handel Vivaldi and etc Were revived relatively early and therefore have a fairlylong performance tradition which is not dependent on the present early music movementNow we are seeing an increasingly large number of performances of Mozart Beethovenand others in the content of early music this further muddies the waters There is thequestion of pre-Medieval music While early musicians would undoubtedly be happy toclaim it as their own unfortunately there is very little surviving evidence about music fromearlier times Indeed there are no music manuscripts from Western Europe at allHowever that doesnt stop some people from trying to recreate what might have beenheard Since music has also been a performance tradition classical concerts representdivergences from that tradition based upon a new look at the original context of acomposition New composers sometimes talk about capturing the original intentions ofan early composer
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