Critical Editions and Performing Editions

ACE publishes both critical editions and performing editions. Our critical editions aim to present scholarly new versions of musical works through a process of critical editing that involves consulting all sources and presenting the new version together with detailed scholarly ‘apparatus’: historical introductions, explanatory footnotes, editorial comments, critical commentary on the differente sources used.

Such an edition is usually based on a number of critical assumptions: that a ‘work’ can be defined as such; that an ‘original’ source exists; that one source may be more ‘authoritative’ than another; that new information supercedes existing information; and so on. All of these assumptions can, and should, be interrogated. 

A new performing edition aims to make available individually, one by one, and eventually in collected volumes, all extant compositions by one composer without critical intervention. The aim is not to compare sources or interrogate authenticity, but to present each work in the most recent and most complete format sanctioned by the composer, with minimal additional information.

Both critical and performing editions can be made of single works or complete collections. African Composers Edition's editions aim to build the libraries of scholars and the repertoires of performers, in line with ACE's mission.