# What is Historically Enlightened Performance? ![[Frederick-the-Great-Concert.jpg]] > [!box] **Historically Enlightened Performance** (**HEP**) is a term I coined in early 2022 to describe what I’ve been working towards for the last 40 years or so. > > The Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 gave me a lot of time for reflection. 😀 --- The stated aim of the [Early Music Revival](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_music_revival) (well established by the second half of the 20th century) was **‘authentic’ performance**. As this implies an unachievable absolute historical accuracy, the designation [Historically Informed Performance](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historically_informed_performance) (**HIP**) is now preferred. HIP is cool. HIP is fashionable. And is often used in the marketing of performances and recordings. > [!box] I prefer the designation **Historically Enlightened Performance** (**HEP**). Not only is **HEP** an older version of the word HIP—in the 1930s a **hep-cat** was a stylish or fashionable person, especially in the sphere of jazz or popular music—but it better encapsulates what we are trying to achieve. > [!box] **HIP** is a step along the way to **HEP**. **HEP** highlights the role of **education** and **curiosity** in music performance, encouraging performers to ask “Why should I do this?” instead of merely following instructions. --- ## Being Informed versus Being Enlightened The classic _**How to Read a Book**_ (1940, rev. ed. 1972) by Adler and Van Doren makes the important distinction between being informed and being enlightened: > To be **informed** is to know simply that something is the case. > > To be **enlightened** is to know, in addition, what it is all about: why it is the case, what its connections are with other facts, in what respects it is the same, in what respects it is different, and so forth. … > > **Enlightenment** is achieved only when, in addition to knowing what an author says, you know what he means and why he says it. > > — Adler and Van Doren To be enlightened is to have a deep understanding. Understanding leads to insight and comfort with the data. Quantz talks about this in the Preface to his [[§ Quantz on Performance|Versuch]] (1752). He says that he has endeavoured to purify his taste ‘through long experience and reflection.’ He expands on this in the Introduction: > For everything in music that is done without reflection and deliberation, and simply, as it were, as a pastime, is without profit. Industry founded upon ardent love and insatiable enthusiasm for music must be united with constant and diligent inquiry, and mature reflection and examination. > >  —  Johann Joachim Quantz He is describing the search for explanations and understanding, for enlightenment. This is education (discovery) and not just training. > [!important] Curiosity is key and you need to do the work. --- > [!link] Related Links > - [[The Task of Historical Performance]] > - [[Historical Performance - An Introduction]] > - [[The Performer as Orator]] --- <small>© Greg Dikmans</small>