Moved this to a new post. Regarding the subject however, I would add that this is very much like the appreciation of style in art (all forms) in that it is best appreciated in the context of the period, which means having good knowledge of what came before so as to understand the novelty of the period/artist/style innovation in question. An early pianoforte, or fortepiano if you prefer, is really only inspiring (to me anyway) when compared against the limitations of the harpsichord and clavichord. Being inspired by such early efforts in the evolution of the technology is for most an academic one. Who really wants to use the first hand-pumped vacuum cleaner or drive the first Benz automobile? These are historical curiosites for sure. In a similar way, I would be inspired by a pianoforte or early square piano, as I would only in viewing a museum piece. Do you like the sound of Renaissance instruments such as a rackett, crumhorn or cornamuse? I'll take their modern-day reed progeny any day! PS: Thurston Dart did write an excellent little book on the interpretation of music (I think that is the title too). Edit: Added PS.