When musicians invest the time and effort in understanding the musical and historical context in which a piece was composed, their performances can only be enriched and their musical knowledge and critical thinking skills expanded. Fidelity to the composer is a legitimate consideration because the composer has arguably the most valid understanding of how a piece should sound. Research is required because musical conventions were context-specific and often went unnotated, modern instruments drastically change the sound of piece, and reliance on innate musicality and contemporary practices can lead to naïve interpretations. Contemporary classical musicians are typically distanced by centuries from the composer’s work; the introduction of contemporary musical practices into a Baroque or Classical piece changes the character, import, and meaning of a work.
With a burgeoning number of digital resources available, remembering titles of sites and pathways to them can be difficult. This website provides links to substantial open-access projects including manuscript scores, score reprints, repertory- and genre-based projects, structured databases, portals and search engines for music, resources for music theory, historical audio and video, historical maps, early newspapers, music magazines, large humanities digital corpora, image banks, and more.