Early music is generally understood as comprising all music from the earliest times up to the Renaissance. However, today this term has come to include "any music for which a historically appropriate style of performance must be reconstructed on the basis of surviving scores, treatises, instruments and other contemporary evidence."
According to Margaret Bent, "Renaissance notation is under-prescriptive by our standards; when translated into modern form it acquires a prescriptive weight that overspecifies and distorts its original openness. Accidentals … may or may not have been notated, but what modern notation requires would then have been perfectly apparent without notation to a singer versed in counterpoint".
The general discussion of how to perform music from ancient or earlier times did not become an important subject of interest until the 19th century, when Europeans began looking to ancient culture generally, and musicians began to discover the musical riches from earlier centuries. The idea of performing Early music more "authentically", with a sense of incorporating performance practice, was more completely established in the 20th century, creating a modern Early Music Revival that continues today.