Basso continuo & Partimento
The videos on the submenus offer the results of my research in practical form. Although based on historical sources (treatises on basso continuo, counterpoint and partimento, as well as contemporary compositions), my examples of continuo realizations are of course not meant to be definitive. The attractive thing about continuo accompaniment is that it can always be adapted to different performances, with different soloists, and may thus accommodate different dynamics and different levels of ornamentation, sometimes even different harmonies, depending on what the soloist is doing.
It is my experience that continuo students are more often concerned with the elaboration of a continuo realization than with its theoretical aspects. Yet knowledge of contemporary theory is a great help if one wants to be able to “speak” the composer’s harmonic language, especially in early 17th-century music. For 18th-century styles, if one wants to add such elements as imitation or the playing of melodic lines, Partimento, which involves the creation from a bass line of extempore self-contained keyboard compositions, is an indispensable source and therefore one of the subjects of this website.
The material on these pages is aimed at experienced continuo players and music students who have already been trained in common-practice harmony. The submenus lead to different style periods.