What do you define as "early music"?
By "early music," we generally mean Western music from the Baroque Era (mid 18th century) and before. Besides Baroque, this would also include music from the Renaissance and Middle Ages (Medieval Era).
Another definition (admittedly imprecise): early (instrumental) music is music originally written for and played on "early instruments" (see the Early Instruments page)--a whole class of softer sounding instruments that essentially died out in the course of the 18th century to be replaced by louder, technologically more "advanced" instruments (e.g., the transverse flute replacing the recorder) when music making became a less intimate, more a large-scale concert experience toward the end of the 18th century.
Still another way to look at it (again, imprecise): early music is music without an unbroken performance tradition (think of how the music of J.S. Bach was virtually forgotten by Beethoven's time)--music in the main "lost" then rediscovered and revived in performance with the advent of the "early music movement" in the early to middle part of the 20th century.
For purposes of this website, early music performance is not necessarily synonymous with "historically informed performance" using period instruments and historically appropriate playing styles (which might apply to a more "authentic" performance of Mozart's or Beethoven's music, for example).
For a different perspective, read the Early Music FAQ's definition of Early Music here.
Do you cover music from later eras, or non-Western music?
Generally speaking, no. (Note, however, the strong Islamic influence on some Western music further back in time.) If a group also performs "modern" and other "serious" music, so long as the focus of at least some of its performances is "early music," it qualifies (although we probably will not list a non early music concert by a quasi early music group). A concert of non-early music with a token old church hymn or two or a modern composition written in an early style would (probably) not qualify. Similarly, a general music store with several plastic recorders behind the counter doesn't qualify. You get the idea. Please honor the purpose and spirit of this website.
What geographical areas do you cover?
What matters is the cultural map, not arbitrary geopolitical divisions or conventional notions of space or community.
For some things--announcements of upcoming events, performer rosters, organizations, instrument teachers, and so on--we confine our coverage to the greater Chicago metropolitan area and adjoining region--the arc around southern Lake Michigan, encompassing southeast Wisconsin, northeast Illinois, northwest Indiana, and southwest Michigan.
A working definition of our coverage: If it's an event or place within a half day's drive of Chicago, we'll cover it. (For residents of Chicago's north suburbs, driving to Milwaukee is usually faster than driving across town to one of Chicago's western suburbs. "Chicagoans" driving to Indiana or southwest Michigan for some activity or event is commonplace.)
If it's a week-long (or longer) special event or activity farther away that is worth devoting an entire vacation trip to (such as a major national or international early music festival or workshop), or say a school or conservatory where you might want to send your child (or study there yourself!), we might cover it also.
For other things--composer web pages, instrument websites, publications, CD/record labels, and so on--we broaden our coverage to encompass all the world and the entire World Wide Web.
General rule of thumb: We want to cover "all things early music." If anything is lacking locally, rather than exclude the category, we'll extend our reach.
We feel that if this site were to lack a central geographic focus, or try to become all things to all people wherever they might live, we would overwhelm our intended local and regional audiences with information glut. (Not to mention that we don't have the personnel, time, or energy to cover absolutely every aspect of the national and international early music scene.)
In deciding what we do or do not cover, we always consider the question: Is this potentially relevant to our core Chicago area/regional audience? (If it's of interest to a broader national or international audience, all the better.)
Note that there are no geographical restrictions to membership and participation in the Early MusiChicago Forum. The Forum is open to anyone, from anywhere.
Please, please, can't you make some exceptions to the above rules of coverage?
We are thinking of ways to accommodate items and situations that violate our normal coverage policies, possibly including a separate omnibus page. Note, however, that we are more relaxed about the Early MusiChicago Forum , since we don't directly control its content. Forum members post their messages, and the Forum moderators remove offensive content or possibly move messages to more appropriate categories as warranted. We might open up a new subforum or subforums for quasi early music discussions and things farther afield. If an item is about early music but falls outside our geographical rules of coverage, consider posting it in the General Discussion subforum of the Early Music category.
What are the reasons for this website?
Early music needs better nurturing at the grass roots.
We feel that the mainstream media and many existing early music websites (either too specialist or too general in nature) all fail to serve the area early music community very well or at all.
Unless you are already "plugged-in" to the early music subculture, have an unusual circle of friends, went to the "right" schools, live in a particularly "cultured" suburb, are on many specialized mailing lists, are just plain lucky in your web searches, or work very long and hard at acquiring information, most early music activity here and elsewhere will elude you.
By leveraging the ability of networked computers and the Internet to form "virtual communities," and by offering in just one place a carefully assembled collection of web hyperlinks and other information, we will make learning about "all things early music" as effortless as possible.
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By bringing together people with like-minded interests in this area, we hope to invigorate the local early music scene, building both audiences and audience participation (for without the latter, any elitist art form cannot hope to thrive or even survive).
We aim to provide useful, practical, and relevant information to the early music enthusiasts--and would-be enthusiasts--in this locality. We will help lower the barriers to participation in and enjoyment of this captivating but strangely under-appreciated art form that we call Early Music.
What about that name of yours?
You have noted the odd, run-together spelling of "Music" and "Chicago". A subtle but important distinction: "Early MusiChicago" (run-together) refers to this website. "Early Music Chicago" (separate words) refers to the early music association.
May we link to your website?
By all means, please do. Note that if you link to our website, we are under no obligation to add a "reciprocal link" back to yours. Our primary obligation is to our site visitors. If your site does not directly or indirectly pertain to early music, we will not link to it in these pages.
Will you link to our website?
If it qualifies under the guidelines stated earlier, we'll be happy to.
Will you host our home page?
If you or your organization don't maintain your own home page on some other web server, we will serve your home page for you. Feel free to supply and link to audio and graphics files, if appropriate.
Why haven't you listed [fill in the blank]?
If we haven't listed this event or that performing group (or anything else pertinent to early music and within our area of geographical coverage), it may be more due to ignorance than by intent or design. Although we don't plan to offer an exhaustive set of links or list absolutely every event or performer (we would probably not list if your child happens to perform at his or her school, for example), we do want to be comprehensive.
If you think we have missed reporting something worthwhile, don't be shy, please contribute!
How can we contribute?
To contribute editorial content and other material for this website, please contact us using the means described below. Consider, also, joining and posting in the Early MusiChicago Forum.
We solicit your contributions for everything. We don't as yet have the time or resources to actively cover "all things early music." We do our best, but for much of this site's content, we passively await and are dependent upon your input.
Please send us announcements about upcoming events especially.
We welcome original content (for example, articles, audio clips, photos, artwork, etc.) for posting at this website, or older content (for which you own the copyright) being posted electronically on the web for the first time. Articles--on performance technique, how to practice effectively, what to listen for in a performance, book and performance reviews, musicological tidbits, etc.--these are all appreciated!
For anything related to early music, but especially for shorter contributions--event announcements, buy & sell notices, questions, answers, opinions, etc.--please consider joining the Early MusiChicago Forum. You may browse the Forum and post messages as a Guest, but to fully participate you must first register as a Member. Membership entails no obligation (beyond common sense and courtesy), and you may participate or not as you wish. (Note: Unwanted messages will not flood your mailbox. Forum membership has no direct relationship with ordinary e-mail. You come to the Forum; the Forum doesn't come to you.) Eventually, we envision the Forum growing to become an on-line, fully searchable knowledgebase, a collective "store of wisdom" about everything early music imaginable. So, please join and post!
How else can we help?
You can also help by telling your friends, including friends in the early music business, about this website.
Early MusiChicago collects no user information beyond ordinary web server logs (which record things like IP addresses, date/time stamp, referring pages, etc.; IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information). We respect your privacy and do not share user information with anyone. We are not responsible for the practices of any websites we might link to, nor are we responsible for "cookies", "web beacons" or any other methods that advertisers, affiliate partners, etc. might use for tracking purposes (note that you can choose to disable cookies in your browser settings and/or run privacy software, if you so desire).
How can we contact you?
To contact the Early MusiChicago Webmaster, write:
robert.osterlund @ comcast.net
If you prefer, send written correspondence, advertising flyers, brochures, and other website-related material via surface mail to the Early MusiChicago Webmaster at:
c/o Robert Osterlund
1133 S. Grove Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois 60304-1908