Dicționar – [ANTIQUARISM] sees the larger part of tradition as an undesirable development, and romantically points to sometime in the distant past when an ideal state had been reached; it proposes to junk late accretions, and restore primitive practices. Characteristically, its ideal time is a time very early in history for which there is little concrete information; what data there are allow for great freedom in restoring the ancient practice. When the origin of a rite is known, the rite is to be reduced to its original form, or excised.
– William Mahrt, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy, p. 6
Antiquary, A curious Critick in old Coins, Stones and Inscriptions, in Worm-eaten Records and ancient Manuscripts; also one that affects and blindly doats, on Relicks, Ruins, old Customs, Phrases and Fashions.
– B.E. Gent [gentleman], A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew (1699)
In a sense, those of us who are seriously involved in performing early music are antiquarians, poring over worm-eaten scores—or modern facsimiles—and blindly doting on relics and fragments from which spring speculative theories pointing toward old ways of stringing, holding, and playing the lute. Or inventing modern means to describe the old ways of singing domestic music; originally music meant to be heard in small rooms by persons with nice ears who dwelt in a sound world that existed prior to the age of the ubiquitous produced vocal sounds. Or in the face of scant information, inventing what we think…
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