Žak Ozmo, “Towards a Global Performance Practice” (read a version of this paper here)

ARTICLE ABSTRACT: The phrase ‘global performance practice’ is proposed in order to describe a flexible approach that acknowledges the reality of current early music performance and scholarship and which takes into account the connections and performative traditions from around the globe.  This article proposes that we engage in this approach of reconstructing and reimagining the musics of the past in a more organized way. This global approach has many advantages, from breaking down traditional Euro-centric views of early music, to discovering new ways in which intercultural connections affected performance styles, genres, dances, and instruments.

“Innovation, exploration, debate: these are the qualities needed if early music is to have a healthy future.”

Credits: Photo of Žak Ozmo and archlute by Stephen Page.

Photo of Tunde Jegede and kora by Yoshitaka Kono. http://www.tundejegede.org/


an approach which takes into account the connections and influences of performative traditions from around the globe.

It is the next step in the evolution of our approach to the study and performance of Early Music, one which places it in the global context and acknowledges the cultural diversity at its core.

Towards a Global Performance Practice

-We can better understand early music by learning more about its global contexts – and without limiting by nation, geography, and genre.

-Borrowing from other fields such as history, anthropology, art history, and ethnomusicology can bring us new insights and approaches.

-Both written and oral traditions are legitimate musical artifacts of our past.

-Performer-scholars are key to the future of historical performance and to global performance practice.

-A global approach is more accessible to students and to a popular audience.

-‘Global performance practice’ is already happening!

Selected Resources:

Ozmo, Žak. ‘Towards a Global Performance Practice’ (forthcoming)

Bentley, Jerry, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, eds. The Cambridge World History, Volume VI: The Construction of a Global World, 1400–1800 C.E., Part 1 Foundations. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015.

Cook, Nicholas. ‘Western Music as World Music’, in The Cambridge History of World Music, ed. Philip V. Bohlman. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013.

Conrad, Sebastian. What is Global History? Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2016.

Gelbart, Matthew. The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music”: Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007.

Yri, Kirsten. ‘Thomas Binkley and the Studio der Frühen Musik: Challenging “the Myth of Westernness”’, Early Music 38, no. 2 (2010): 273–80.

The Inclusive Early Music Project: https://inclusiveearlymusic.org/