Photo: Louis-Auguste Bisson
Anyone who loves, buys, performs, and/or attends concerts of Early Music will be able to tell you what “it” is.
The question, “What is early music?,” appears to be a simple one, but the answer is complex and tends to vary wildly from person to person.
Back in September, I shared a link related to a Chopin article which drew an immediate and clear-cut answer from a fan on the Harmonia Facebook page:
“Baroque music is not early music. Medieval music is early music. Chopin is definitely not early music.”
Another fan agreed:
“Chopin not early music, even my beloved Baroque is not—it has its own place in the history. It should be pre-Baroque.”
One fan didn’t care for the pervading view and went with “Early music is anything before 11 am.”
The exchange between fans reached two-dozen comments, clearly it was a subject about which people felt strongly. But it didn’t necessarily answer the question.
There is one place we can look to for light on the subject—Wikipedia:
“Early music is commonly defined as European classical music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, sometimes also including the Baroque.”
Does the definition of Early Music only “sometimes” include baroque music? Can it include Classical and Romantic music?
What do you think?