Emotional Logic

Bernard D. Sherman

in Inside Early Music

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195169454
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865017 | DOI:
Emotional Logic

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Conventional wisdom holds that during the Renaissance period, instrumental music was a sideshow. Vocal music, such as that discussed by Peter Phillips and Paul Hillier, had such prestige that only after 1600 did instrumental repertory come into its own. But according to the harpist-keyboardist Andrew Lawrence-King, conventional wisdom is wrong. It became the conventional view anyway, he argues, partly because of the modern preoccupation with written scores. In Renaissance instrumental music, much of what was important was not written down but was improvised. This raises, he points out, a paradox at the heart of the early music movement: to be faithful to the spirit of the past often means being unfaithful to the written notes that survive from the past. This chapter presents an interview with Lawrence-King on improvisation in Renaissance instrumental music and perfect instruments.

Keywords: Andrew Lawrence-King; instrumental music; vocal music; perfect instruments; early music movement; written scores; improvisation; Renaissance period

Chapter.  6665 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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