chapter  8
10 Pages

Recorded Performance Traditions

Although recordings have existed for over a century, methods for empirically studying and evaluating them have developed slowly. Compared to the fixed properties of a printed score, recordings have posed problems for researchers, and, as Bowen notes, ‘our discomfort with the variable aspects of music largely explains why musicology has been reluctant to study performance events even as regards its central repertoire’.2 The lack of a method to analyse and interpret recordings ensured that while countless musicologists and analysts focussed on scores, recordings became the almost exclusive domain of critics, record

purchasers, and record companies. As Daniel Leech-Wilkinson describes, ‘most discussion of performance style until quite recently was to be found in the work of collectors and enthusiasts, whose minute and deep knowledge of recorded performances remains as yet unmatched’.3