- Woodwind Instruments and Their History by Anthony Baines. The first half of the book describes the modern flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and bassoon, and modern playing techniques for these instruments. The second half provides a history of woodwinds, including all the woodwinds of the Mediæval period and Renaissance. This is truly a bargain book. Most experience wind players probably already have a copy, and beginners should get one as a reference. I spent some enjoyable evenings reading the last half word-for-word.
- Brass Instruments: Their History and Development by Anthony Baines. There is more history in this book than in his woodwind book, and less about modern instruments. Brass instruments played less of a role in early music than they did in later eras, and this book puts them in perspective. Another "must-have" for wind players.
- The Amateur Wind Instrument Maker by Trevor Robinson. This book gives detailed instructions for making a variety of early wind instruments, but you'll need a woodshop with a lathe and a bit of woodworking experience.
- Antique Musical Instruments and Their Players by Filippo Bonanni.
History and Theory
- Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Music edited by Tess Knighton and David Fallows. This is just now coming out in paperbound; the hardcover was more than I wanted to spend, but the library at my University had a copy. It is truly a technical work, and will be best appreciated by people for whom "musicologist", "iconography", "musica ficta", and "just temperment" roll off the tongue. Nevertheless, a number of the articles are engagingly written, and far more accessible than technical articles in many other fields. I find myself returning to it as I learn more about early music. If you think you want to go deeper into early music than just listening or playing, give it a try.
- Medieval Music (Oxford Topics in Music) by Joan Arnold. This book is best suited to elementary-grade teachers looking for material for a unit on Mediæval music. It's a fun book (I used some stuff from it in the Internet Renaissance Band), but it does have a few glaring inaccuracies (e.g., dances under the wrong names, later works cast as Mediæval) which detract from its more general usefulness.
- The Music of the Troubadours by Elizabeth Aubrey.
- Renaissance and Baroque Music : A Comprehensive Survey by Friedrich Blume.
- Music in the Renaissance by Howard M. Brown.
- Performance Practice : Music Before 1600 (The New Grove Handbooks in Musicology) edited by Howard Mayer Brown and Stanley Sadie.
- Editing Early Music (2nd Ed) (Early Music Series, 5) by John Caldwell.
- Study of Counterpoint by Johann Joseph Fux.
- Luis Milan on Sixteenth-Century Performance Practice by Luis Gasser.
- Authenticity and Early Music by Nicholas Kenyon.
- A Performer's Guide to Renaissance Music (Performer's Guides to Early Music) edited by Jeffery T. Kite-Powell.
- Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance edited by Timothy J. McGee.
Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and reference books
- Grunt: Pigorian Chant from Snouto Domoinko De Silo by Sandra Boynton. A delightful spoof on the modern Gregorian Chant craze, including an audio CD. Competent music, competent Latin (and Pig Latin, too), and the always humorous drawings of Boynton make for a pointed and amusing parody.