Q. What is a "download"?
When you visit our
website, we give (sell you legally) access to our hard drive, which has
numerous recordings stored on it. Once you have paid for the music through
our system, we email you a code which enables you to
Q. Why would I
want a download of early music?
Because our material
is copyrighted, sharing the music over the internet without paying for
it is illegal. This is called 'file sharing' and should not be confused
with legal downloading.
If you wish, you can transfer the download to an MP3 player, such as iPod or equivalent device. You can write it to a CD and play it in your CD or DVD player. A lot of people simply store it on the hard drive of their computers and play it through the media players and speakers. All of these are personal uses. It makes working on a computer a bit less stressful, though we think it would be nice if you would sit and listen to it without distractions, at least once. Read the first newsletter on the subject of listening to our music, it may help you to imagine a world you never suspected.
Q. Can I buy a
Q. Why should I
pay for a download from earlymusicstudio.com if I can get a free file
from the web?
A lot of the free music files on the web really are not very good quality. That's why they are free.
We have made unique recordings which combine fine instruments, a high standard of technical production, and excellent performances. Some of our material is very hard to find elsewhere. Our particular pairings of instrument and composer are very specific and chosen for their illumination of what is a lost tradition.
We do a lot of research and reflection to find what we think is a combination that works musically and historically. You won't find that for free anywhere. Our supporting material is intended to underline this important point. That information is free and is supposed to help you to hear the music in a way that makes sense for the modern listener who may not be a specialist or aficionado.
We think the time and effort we put into it is worth it.
Q. Should I choose
MP3 or wav files for the best quality?
Compression reduces the file size, but some of the really fine distinctions are inevitably less acute. It may be apparent to you that the harpsichord, with its bright attacks, and the lute, with its very soft gut string sound, act differently with the MP3 algorithm (method of file compression). Likewise you'll be able to hear the harpsichord very well in the car, but the lute sounds a little strange, kind of disembodied. Unless you own a Lexus or Mercedes...
Q. Why do you at
earlymusicstudio provide music in downloadable format?
As retailers are increasingly pressed by the costs of maintaining expensive space in high-tax commercial real-estate, the attraction of downloads is greater. They offer the consumer greater choice and access to material that would never sell in a retail store, unless it were in a very specific market in a very large city. It give us access to you, as well as the other way around.
The dialogue of musician and audience is one of the most interesting things about intimate music such as we play.
Q. What are period
instruments and why are they interesting?
The composers exploited these qualities. In our case some of the instruments were actually made by the player, so they reflect a completeness of purpose which was the hallmark of the period. Part of our skill lies in selecting which instrument to use for the music of a particular composer, and in making that choice apparent to the listener. In a highly commercial world those kind of choices are becoming increasingly endangered by mass market numbness.
Q. Why are so many
different instruments used for the music?
With keyboards, which are often expensive and labour-intensive to make, there are radical differences of stringing, size and shape, materials, keyboard proportions and other details which give the instruments and the music played on them a unique character.
These differences are readily apparent to the listener. In order to make you more informed and we hope, appreciative of these qualities, we have included notes and photos about the instruments and music which make these important points clear.
Q. Who made the
The other instruments, the harpsichords, lutes, period guitar, and Viennese fortepiano are reproductions. We make distinctions of naming by talking about "antiques", those made in the period of their music, and "period instruments", which are made in our time, but for a specific period of music.
In this application, even our contemporary instruments are "period" instruments. There's a thought! Read our early instrument pages for details and photos. We choose the instrument carefully to reflect the sound world of the composer, based on a reading of the sources about music, and the music itself.
Q. Are they recorded
differently from modern instruments?
There are no coughs or noisy cough-drop wrappers, no overwhelming perfume or other odours, no squirming children, no worrying about the security of your car. Live concerts are a very different medium which calls for instruments and music designed for them, just as these instruments were designed for use mainly at home or in larger rooms, rather than concert halls.
Early music is often
not suited to this environment. Recording it may be the best way to enjoy
Try downloading one of our pre-selected packages of downloads, thus avoiding the whole difficult choice. Trust us, we know what goes together. We do this for a living!
If you would rather just try an individual work, suite or sonata (collection of pieces by one composer):
For an intimate gathering of friends, try a lute suite by Reusner or Weiss.
Children love piano and guitar music like the Carulli Sonata.
One friend finds that Bach is perfect for Sunday morning listening, and we have Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for lute, French Suite #5 for harpsichord, or the beautiful Largo which we transcribed for lute and harpsichord.
Feeling blue? Mozart always lifts the spirit, particularly with pieces like Sonata K. 330 or 331.
Haydn's music is very witty; try the Sonata in E-flat major.
For a sparkling atmosphere we recommend the Musettes by Couperin and De Visée.
And for you abstract/minimalist people we have the Tombeau for Glenn Gould.
We offer a wide variety of music to suit many tastes.