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Early music

Early music is a term used to describe pre-Classical Western music, from the earliest written music (ca. 1000 A.D.) to the end of the Baroque era in about 1750. For information on early music, see the following articles:

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 performance.

Early music notation is, by current standards, very sketchy. Before about 1600, written music did not consistently state which instruments are used when. A century 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 what key to play the music in. Notations for rhythm go back only to about 1200. There is thus a speculative element to all modern performances of Medieval and Renaissance music.

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