Basso Continuo In Baroque Music

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Basso continuo is one of the important aspects in Baroque music. It is also known as the ‘thorough bass’ or ‘continuous bass’, is a bass line which runs continuously throughout a piece of music. It is a way of writing accompaniment for a music, in which only the melody and bass line are written out. Figured bass, a type of shorthand that consists of numbers and accidentals, were written below the bass line to indicate and improvise the harmony between the melody and accompaniment. This accompaniment is then played by a chordal instrument, such as the harpsichord, theorbo or arch-lute for realisation, together with a bass instrument such as the Violoncello or Viola da Gamba. Bass instruments were needed in the Baroque period to reinforce and strengthen the bass line, since common chordal instruments in that era could not sustain their own notes. We could also say that the bass line is doubled since it is shared between two instruments. The concept of basso continuo surfaced in the late Renaissance, and the organ basses were the first recorded practice of improvising accompaniment. In sacred vocal music, the organist would draw notes from the vocal basses, playing them together with the harmony. This practice arose approximately around 1590s, from the need to supply the lacking vocal bass parts. As a period dominated by vocal music, it was only due to the lack of bass vocals that resulted in the doubling of bass parts in the basso continuo. And then, standard groupings of

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