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Playing an Historical Musical Instrument

Playing an historical musical instrument is an enormously enjoyable and satisfying pastime. These instruments are capable of producing the most beautiful sounds, and have a vast repertoire of music, which it would take a lifetime to explore fully. This repertoire includes not only solo music, but a substantial body of songs, duets, and consort pieces. These instruments attracted the attention of the most accomplished musicians in its day, and so some of the repertoire is very hard, but at the same time, the simplest historical music can sound truly beautiful if played with a correct basic technique.

A golden rule
If your real passion is for historical music there is no logical reason why you should not begin on an historical musical instruments.

It cannot be emphasised too strongly that, whether you are starting playing the historical instrument from scratch or coming from a contemporary instrument, you should seek lessons from an experienced teacher. Even if it is not convenient to have regular lessons, you should have a few lessons at the start to lay the foundations of a good technique.

Before buying an historical musical instrument it is worth deciding which parts of the repertoire you are most attracted to. Different instruments could be required for the music of different periods.

Historical instruments were and are made in different keys. Some singers may welcome an instrument tuned a little lower or higher.

Recommended listening
If you are not familiar with the full range of the repertoire, it is worth listening to CD recordings of music of different eras. Better still, go to as many recitals as you can, such as those organised for early music.

A good technique is essential to getting the best sound from your instrument, and is not usually discovered intuitively, or from a book. A summer school with a dedicated teacher is a good option for some intensive tuition, especially if you live a long way from any teacher.

If you already play a similar contemporary instrument you will already have a part of the technique which is perfectly serviceable for playing the historical one.

If you are starting from scratch it is a good idea to take lessons from a teacher, perhaps working through one of the tutor books, at the same time, as the teacher advises. A common problem with tutors, from the point of view of those who do not already play a contemporary similar instrument, is that the learning curve tends to be rather steep. To avoid frustration setting in at an early stage, it is a good idea to stock up on books of easy repertoire. Ask a teacher for suggestions.

More information:

Renaissance Workshop Company Ltd.
c/ Viella 8. 28040 Madrid. Spain
Tel: (+34) 91 450 30 50
Fax: Not available. Please use the email.
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Copyright © 1999 Renaissance Workshop Company Ltd.
Last modification: 03 de mayo de 2019
Phone:(+34) 91 450 30 50