The Performance Practice of David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London
: Medieval Music in the 1960s and 1970s

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis focuses on the musical contribution of David Munrow and his Early
Music Consort of London (EMC) to the so-called early music revival of the 1960s and 1970s. By exploring the notion of shared cultural space in performances of medieval music by leading ensembles of the time, this thesis seeks to isolate aspects of performance practice unique to the EMC.
An assessment of literary sources documenting the early music revival reveals
clear nodes of discussion around Munrow’s methods of presenting early music in concert performance which are frequently classified as ‘showmanship’ with a focus on more scholarly performance practice decisions only evident in the post-Munrow period.
Close readings of these sources are undertaken which are, in turn, weighed against Munrow’s early biography to map out the web of influences contributing to his musical life. Having established David Munrow’s intentions in performance, this thesis uses techniques of performance analysis to question whether he and the EMC achieved such stated aims in performance, and identifies how different approaches are made manifest in recordings by other ensembles.
The findings, which seek to marry sonic analysis with reception history, are
interpreted in the light of the New Cultural History of Music and reposition David
Munrow, often seen as a showman who evangelized early music, as a musician who profoundly influenced the modern aesthetics and surface details of performance for subsequent generations of early musicians.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorEmma Dillon (Supervisor) & Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (Supervisor)

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