With the exception of the new form, Opera, the previous two centuries of musicology have tended to present the Baroque Period, 1600-1750, as a period of functional, even mechanical, music. The contemporary discussion in this volume will help the reader understand that nothing could be further from the truth. The great interest of most musicians living in the Baroque Period was the role of emotion in music both in composition and in performance. The role of all idioms of performance, including especially improvisation, were directly associated with the goal of increased communication of emotion. We believe these pages will suggest to the reader that no player of the Baroque Period ever just played what he saw on paper, and we don’t believe anyone should do so today.