Early music is Western classical music prior to the Baroque era, comprising Medieval music (500–1400) and the Renaissance music (1400–1600). According to the UK's National Centre for Early Music, the term "early music" refers to both a repertory (European music written between 1250 and 1750 embracing Medieval, Renaissance and the Baroque) – and a historically informed approach to the performance of that music. However, today this term has come to include "any music for which a historically appropriate style of performance must be reconstructed on the basis of surviving scores, treatises, instruments and other contemporary evidence."
According to Margaret Bent, "Renaissance notation is under-prescriptive by our standards; when translated into modern form it acquires a prescriptive weight that overspecifies and distorts its original openness. Accidentals … may or may not have been notated, but what modern notation requires would then have been perfectly apparent without notation to a singer versed in counterpoint".
^Bent, Margaret. 1998. "The Grammar of Early Music: Preconditions for Analysis", p. 25. In Tonal Structures in Early Music, edited by Cristle Collins Judd, 15–59. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 1998; Criticism and Analysis of Early Music 1. New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
Davidson, Audrey Ekdahl. 2008. Aspects of Early Music and Performance. New York: AMS Press. ISBN 978-0-404-64601-1.
Donington, Robert. 1989. The Interpretation of Early Music, new revised edition. London and Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-15040-3.
Epp, Maureen, and Brian E. Power (eds.). 2009. The Sounds and Sights of Performance in Early Music: Essays in Honour of Timothy J. Mcgee. Farnham, Surrey (UK); Burlington, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-5483-4.
Haskell, Harry. 1988. The Early Music Revival: A History. London and New York: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01449-3.
Haynes, Bruce. 2007. The End of Early Music: A Period Performer's History of Music for the Twenty-First Century. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518987-2.
Judd, Cristle Collins. 1998. "Introduction: Analyzing Early Music". In Tonal Structures in Early Music, edited by Cristle Collins Judd, 3–13. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 1998; Criticism and Analysis of Early Music 1. New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
Roche, Jerome, and Elizabeth Roche. 1981. A Dictionary of Early Music: From the Troubadours to Monteverdi. London: Faber Music in association with Faber & Faber; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-571-10035-X (UK, cloth); ISBN 0-571-10036-8 (UK, pbk); ISBN 0-19-520255-4 (US, cloth).
Sherman, Bernard. 1997. Inside Early Music: Conversations with Performers. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509708-4.
Stevens, Denis. 1997. Early Music, revised edition. Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides. London: Kahn & Averill. ISBN 1-871082-62-5. First published as Musicology (London: Macdonald & Co. Ltd, 1980).