Definition and background:
Term used in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in the Germanic countries for an association or guild of amateur musicians. The term was used in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries to denote a similar association of musicians. Today the term is used to refer to a group of musicians who prefer period-style performances of early music. association of amateurs for serious music. Now mostly found at universities
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary