Prof. David J. Smith's contribution to a prestigious book on editing early music has just been published.
David contributes to a departmental research strength in the scholarly editing of music from original manuscript sources. This essay is a reflection on the nature of differences between texts as they occur in various keyboard sources. Some may be identified as mistakes in copying, and as a piece is transmitted from one scribe to the next, more and more errors may creep in (a little like a game of Chinese whispers). However, in a seventeenth-century manuscript culture, scribes had no notion of copyright, nor any wish to preserve a particular text: often they made changes reflecting their own performance practice, or to update the music to contemporary taste. The essay also analyses various approaches to editing keyboard music.