Definitions

basso continuo

basso continuo

"Basso continuo," or "continuous bass" in English, is a type of musical accompaniment that characterized all genres of music in the Baroque period, a time frame that refers to musical styles from the year 1600 to about 1750. Also known as "thoroughbass," "figured bass" or simply "continuo," this style allowed musicians considerable freedom in composition as bass notes were the only predetermined aspect of a piece written down before performance. Members of the lute family such as the archlute and theorbo, viola, cello, bassoon, organ or other low melody instruments were most often employed in establishing a continuo line. From this bass line foundation, musicians can create or "realize" a harmony using improvisation. Although this technique was nearly ubiquitous amongst musicians in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it has moved out of fashion today, when modern players often provide harmonies themselves or work with other musicians to do so.

Search another word or see basso continuoon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature