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Early Music: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Early Music: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Forrest Kelly

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Product Description


a useful stocking filler ... packs an incredible amount into a pocket format (Ham & High)

Product Description

From Gregorian chant to Bach's Brandenburg Concerti, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods is both beautiful and intriguing, expanding our horizons as it nourishes our souls. In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly provides not only a compact overview of the music itself, but also a lively look at the many attempts over the last two centuries to revive it. Kelly shows that the early-music revival has long been grounded in the idea of spontaneity, of excitement, and of recapturing experiences otherwise lost to us--either the rediscovery of little-known repertories or the recovery of lost performing styles, with the conviction that, with the right performance, the music will come to life anew. Blending musical and social history, he shows how the Early Music movement in the 1960s took on political overtones, fueled by a rebellion against received wisdom and enforced conformity. Kelly also discusses ongoing debates about authenticity, the desirability of period instruments, and the relationship of mainstream opera companies and symphony orchestras to music that they often ignore, or play in modern fashion.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 768 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199730768
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (28 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Y4UT2M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars full of insights 26 Nov 2011
By Cronos - Published on
This book is part of the impressive "A Very Short Introduction" series, published by Oxford University Press. As such, it is supposed to cover in an accessible way the most essential concepts and trends of the respective subject. This particular book accomplishes this objective with flying colors. It covers in chronological order the rise and coming of age of the most interesting area of "Early Music", from its very first beginnings in the 60s and 70s to the present day. Fortunately, it is not restricted to the ancient repertoire and styles, but also provides interesting insights about social and performance-related issues. The challenging issue of reviving ancient music is discussed in a very enlightening manner. Among other interesting topics, the author describes how the Early Music trend redefined the way Baroque music is performed nowadays, i.e. by special ensembles using original instruments instead of classical orchestras. Another point I found particularly interesting was the trend from amateur performance in the 60s and 70s to the highly skillful ensembles of today.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Short Introduction to Early Music 26 July 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Music is one of the oldest art forms, and yet due to its intrinsically ephemeral nature we are unable to reconstruct almost anything from the earliest music. Only after the musical notation has been devised (some time in the early second millennium AD) can we begin to understand what musical performances were like. Nonetheless, for the longest time musical notation was used primarily as a musical guide, and not as a definitive representation for any given musical piece. Even in the recent centuries, when the notation became increasingly sophisticated and detailed, we are still largely left in the dark about how exactly any given piece of music was originally performed. All these systemic difficulties stand as an obstacle to our fuller understanding of the early music.

This very short introduction does a very thorough job of introducing the reader to the early music. It is aimed at the interested non-specialist, but it still adheres to the rigorous academic methodologies when approaching its subject. The book is tremendously informative and comprehensive, as much as such small format will allow. However, due to its subject matter and the relative obscurity of many of its concepts and themes, it is not the most readable of introductions. If you are a music nerd or intrinsically enjoy all aspects of musical history and theory, then you'll certainly enjoy this book. If you are a general reader on the other hand this book might be a slow read. It is still a pretty good book, as long as you understand exactly what it aims to do.
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for Me 28 April 2014
By NRL - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a fan of early music, I was attracted to this book because Amazon's sample pages promised insights and discussion about the links between the early music movement and the politics and folk revival of the sixties. In fact, while these links are asserted in a few sentences, they are not developed. Instead, the book is a strange mix - an attempt at a historical overview of the music from medieval times to Bach and Handel on the one hand and a cursory listing of early music's performers on the other. Because the book is part of a series intended by Oxford University Press as "A Very Short Introduction," both topics are handled in very summary manner. Those interested in an historical overview will find this book necessarily brief but interesting. Those wanting discussion of the social aspects of the early music revival will, like me, be disappointed. A better treatment of the revival, though it doesn't go into the social or political overtones, is Harry Haskell's "The Early Music Revival: A HIstory," published by Thames and Hudson in 1988.
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The gap between amateur and professional is an important aspect of the change of musical style, &quote;
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We have modern audiences, and it is at least important to please them &quote;
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The queen of instruments, and the instrument present in every Renaissance household, was the lute. &quote;
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