This introductory chapter discusses the book's intention, namely to investigate key issues relevant to understanding the intentions, expectations or assumptions of late 18th-century and 19th-century composers, and the conventions that informed the practice of musicians in general. The book focuses on the relationship between notation and performance, drawing upon written evidence and early recordings. It seeks to show how knowledge of historical practice can inform and enrich modern performance, broadening the performer's range of options and encouraging a more adventurous approach to the interpretation of Classical and Romantic repertoire. It argues that the late 20th century's rather strict adherence to the literal meaning of the notation is often unfaithful to the composer's expectations and invites a freer, more creative approach to the performance of this repertoire.
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