The Early Modern English period developed out of Middle English in the later decades of the 15th century and came to a close towards the end of the 17th century, when the language had become so similar to that of the present day that (despite many later changes) it is thereafter referred to as Modern English. Several accounts take the arrival of printing in 1476 as a convenient opening marker and the Restoration in 1660 as a convenient closing one. Shakespeare (1564-1616) and his contemporaries thus sit comfortably around the middle of this period, and as this is where most interest in OP has been shown, the phonology presented in this section focuses on the decades around 1600.

Although poems and plays were the original motivation for OP performance, the approach has also been explored in other domains. The 400th anniversary in 2011 of the King James Bible led to several OP readings, and some illustrations can be found in the Shop. A British Library recording of the St Matthew Gospel in the translation by William Tyndale illustrates the OP of an earlier time (the 1520s).
Tyndale's Bible

Many expressions of interest have come from practitioners of the English vocal music of the period, and several choral and solo events are listed in the Events Archive. OP has also been explored by some of the heritage projects that present original scenarios of places and people from the 17th century, both in Britain and the USA.