Early Music and Historically Informed Performance Practice

Early Music and Historically Informed Performance Practice


My name is Greg Dikmans.

Here you will find some of the research and materials I’ve used in over 40 years as a practitioner and teacher of historical performance practice.

Introduction to Historically Informed Performance Practice

What is historical performance? And why should we spend time studying and making sense of the historical source materials?

Curiosity is an admirable quality and the sources provide ideas to help performers today enrich and enliven their performances.

The Performer as Orator


Primary Rhetoric — the art of persuasion — is at the core of a communication. It is the main concern of the Performer as Orator.

The Nature of Rhetoric


Classical Rhetoric 101.

The differences between Primary and Secondary Rhetoric, and an explanation of the Precepts of Rhetoric.

Elysium, or Zen and the Art of Early Music

Zen ideogram

Life, the universe and historical performance practice.

Some musings on the connections with Zen Buddhist philosophy and a brief discussion of Castiglione’s decoro, sprezzatura and gracia.

Johann Joachim Quantz on Historically Informed Performance

Johann Joachim Quantz

C.P.E. Bach on Historically Informed Performance

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Leopold Mozart on Historically Informed Performance

Leopold Mozart

Rhythmic alteration and articulation in 18th-century French flute music: a reappraisal of Jacques Hotteterre le romain

Flute player

A case study about the French convention of notes inégales (unequal notes).

Quotations about Historically Informed Performance

A curated collection of quotations and longer extracts that show the importance of knowing about rhetoric and the passions.

Affects in Italian and French music and the Baroque sonata

Composers often added words at the start of a movement to indicate the affect or passion (rather than a tempo).

Telemann called them ‘hinting’ words as they hint at the character of the music and the appropriate manner of performance.