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Historically Informed Creativity — subcategory to HIP

I‘d like to introduce a subcategory to Historically Informed Perfomance Practice (HIP): Historically Informed Creativity (HIC).

Detail from S. Ganassi’s Opera Intitulata Fontegara (1535) — the first known treatise on diminution.

The creative aspects for musicians from the early music epochs (Middle ages, Renaissance, Baroque) included improvising, diminuting, ornamenting, arranging and composing. Studying the mentioned parts of music making from the original treatises, and thus obtaining knowledge on style, harmony– and counterpoint rules and respecting them, allows the early musician to create himself, but without abandoning HIP and without entering the world of music fusion.

The active creative part of early music deserves a specific name, as it is a specific subject, and a growing part of the early-music-world-habits.

A few examples of HIC:

Orí Harmelin

Alla Bastarda
Karel van Steenhoven

Christoph Ehrsam
& Attilio Cremonesi (min 12:30)

Elam Rotem — Profeti della Quinta

Vicente Parrilla & Miguel Rincón

Musick’s Recreation

Vox Tremula

5 comments Write a comment

  1. Hello, I like the idea. We have explored a related idea in the following article:
    Vervliet S. & Van Looy B. (2010) Bach’s chorus revisited: Historically informed performance practices as ‘bounded creativity’. Early Music, 38, 2, 205-215.
    Best wishes,

  2. Yes! I completely agree with you on this! My final project for my master’s degree (in music education) was about the need to teach students the creative aspects of making music. I believe we really need to go beyond only teaching our students how to simply recreate the compositions of others.

    By the way, I’d really like to play your variations on The Beggar Boy sometime soon (once I’ve saved up enough to buy a nice renaissance recorder consort…almost there!); it’s a great arrangement!

    Also, I’m beginning to plan a joint jazz and early music concert/lecture with a local jazz group and the early music group I play with here in El Paso in order to demonstrate the common ground both types of music share in terms of fostering creativity through improvisation, ornamentation, arranging, and so on (and hopefully help build a bigger audience for early music here as well). Perhaps you can get in touch with some local jazz musicians where you’re at so you can do likewise. Just a suggestion 🙂

    Finally, the early music ensemble here at the University of Texas at El Paso is having its spring concert next week in a bar; truly a victory for early music!

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