Figured Bass Accompaniment in Europe


edited by Livio Ticli, Turnhout, Brepols, 2023 (Musica Incarnata: Pedagogy, Performance and Market, 2), ISBN: 978-2-503-60851-8, pp. xiv + 424, ISBN 978-2-503-60851-8.


At the very end of his new and charming chapter included in this volume, Thomas Christensen sensuously claims that «for each generation, figured bass has something new to say, though it rarely gives up its secrets without a fight». This book, therefore, attempts to do justice to the “fight” lead by sixteen internationally-renowned scholars who ventured mapping the figured bass accompaniment in Europe through a wide timespan: from the early-seventeenth-century Germany to late continuo realisations by Johannes Brahms and Robert Franz. The volume also addresses several issues such as different ways to sketch and write extensively the instrumental accompaniment, its rendition into practice and how to teach and apply formulas for improvising (and realising) a contrapuntal texture over the bass. For the first time, counterpoint, basso continuo and partimento are put into dialogue, overcoming terminological antinomies and underlining the points of continuity amongst different accompaniment practices in France, Germany, England and Spain for over three centuries. Case studies shed some lights on accompaniment of specific instruments such as cello and guitar.

Livio Ticli’s interests range from historical musicology, researching the figure of the Renaissance virtuoso at the University of Huddersfield, to early music, performing with Palma Choralis and other international ensembles in prestigious venues in Italy, Europe and overseas, and organising international music festivals (Tasso Music Festival, BIEMSSF). He has dealt with early music performance practice and pedagogy, researching and giving lectures at universities in Italy, Europe, UK and USA. Since 2015, he has been co-chairing the Early Music Department of Brescia, now under the Istituto Italiano di Musica Antica. He is a member of the editorial board of the Tasso in Music Project, promoted by the University of Massachusetts and Stanford University and is the general co-editor of the series ‘Musica Incarnata: Pedagogy, Performance and Market’ (Brepols). He teaches music history, improvisation and ornamentation at the Conservatories of Alessandria and Vicenza.

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