Exploring the Performance Practices of Early and New Music
A volume to be edited by Rebecca Cypess, Estelí Gomez, and Rachael Lansang
Deadline for proposals: October 15, 2020

Synergies in the performance practices of early music and contemporary solo and chamber music are widely acknowledged, but until now, they have scarcely been explored in writing. The work of numerous ensembles, soloists, and performer–composers demonstrates the compatibility of careers in early music and new music, since both fields demand similar performance practices and approaches to musical creativity. Moreover, some contemporary composers have begun to seek out collaborations with specialists in early music to build on the performance practices that such specialists cultivate. In some cases, composers have drawn on their own experience in the performance of early music for the creation of new music. 

While lines between “mainstream” and “historically informed” performance have blurred in recent years, strong distinctions in the performance practices associated with these styles persist. By contrast, solo performers and chamber ensembles specializing in contemporary music often draw on the same language of performance practice as that used by those in historical performance. This shared language includes a flexible approach to the realization of musical texts; reliance on improvisation; cultivation of varying approaches to tone and sound production; the use of vibrato as a method of ornamentation rather than an essential feature of sound; and a collaborative/democratic approach to decision-making and conductorless performance.

This volume will consist of a series of essays by performers, composers, and scholars involved in the worlds of early and contemporary solo/chamber music. We invite proposals for chapters that will explore the many points of overlap in the performance practices of early and contemporary music. 

Suggested topics include:
• Improvisation, notation, and text-(in)fidelity
• Collaboration between performers and composers
• Approaches to ornamentation and elaboration
• Idiomatic use of instruments/voices
• The cultivation of new or extended techniques
• New compositions for period instruments
• New compositions in period styles
• The democratization of ensembles and the absence of the conductor
• The use of folk idioms and folksong 

Proposals of ca. 500 words should be sent to rebecca.cypess -at- rutgers.edu. Chapters will be due 10/2021.

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