Introduction to Musicology


Week 12: Performance Practice

Essay Title (800 words)

  1. Discuss salient issues of performance practice with reference to EITHER the vocal forces of Bach’s choral-orchestral works OR the instrumental forces of Handel’s Messiah. Consider the ways in which practice has changed over time, and the arguments that have been advanced for specific manners of performance.


  1. BACH

  2. Joshua Rifkin, ‘Bach’s Chorus: A Preliminary Report’, Musical Times, 123 (1982), 747–54 (jstor)

  3. Robert Marshall, ‘Bach’s Chorus: A Preliminary Reply to Joshua Rifkin’, Musical Times, 124 (1983), 19–22 (jstor)

  4. Joshua Rifkin, ‘Bach’s Chorus: A Response to Robert Marshall’, Musical Times, 124 (1983), 161–2 (jstor)

  5. Andrew Parrott, ‘Bach’s Chorus: A “Brief yet Highly Necessary” Reappraisal’, Early Music, 24 (1996), 551–80 (jstor)

  6. Andrew Parrott, ‘Bach’s Chorus: Who Cares?’, Early Music, 25 (1997), 297–300 (jstor)

  7. John Butt, ‘Bach’s Vocal Scoring: What Can It Mean?’, Early Music, 26 (1998), 99–107 (jstor)

  8. Ton Koopman, ‘Bach’s Choir: An Ongoing Story’, Early Music, 26 (1998), 109–121 (jstor)

  9. Andrew Parrott, ‘Bach’s Chorus: Beyond Reasonable Doubt’, Early Music, 26 (1998), 636–58 (jstor)

  10. Joshua Rifkin, ‘Bach’s Chorus: Some New Parts, Some New Questions’, Early Music, 31 (2003), 573–80 (jstor)

  11. HANDEL

  12. Watkins Shaw, The Story of Handel’s Messiah, 1741–1784: A Short Popular History (London: Novello, 1963) (library)

  13. ————, A Textual and Historical Companion to Handel’s Messiah (London: Novello, 1966) (library)

  14. John Tobin, Handel’s ‘Messiah’: A Critical Account of the Manuscript Sources and Printed Editions (London: Cassell, 1969) (library)

  15. Donald Burrows and Watkins Shaw, ‘Handel’s Messiah: Supplementary Notes on Sources’, Music & Letters, 76 (1995), 356–68 (jstor)

  16. Donald Burrows, Handel: Messiah (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) (library)

  17. Mary Ann Parker, G. F. Handel: A Guide to Research, 2nd edn (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005), see §V.1 (library)