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Re: Figured Bass support
Re: Figured Bass support
Fri, 27 Dec 2002 12:34:04 +0000
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Han-Wen Nienhuys wrote:
(a first attempt to post seemed to go into a black hole ... try again
The figured bass support in lilypond (wonderful!) is a little tricky
for three reasons:
1) The figures have to be entered in the reverse order (that is a
chord is entered <4 6>). Of course, this assumes that you do call it
not a four-six chord, but I *think* is universally so.
In dutch, <<c' f' a' >> (absolute pitches) is called a 4-6 chord, not
6-4; that's what you mean, right?
yes - with classic anglo-saxon myopia I referred to the English
nomenclature as "universal" ...
the research for the Right Way turned out to be very easy - typing "six
four chord" into Google yielded 137 hits and "four six chord" yielded
7 hits. For example:
I'm not sure about the proper names
Can you do some more research to find out what is the Right Way?
"Six-four chord (siks for kord) A chord consisting of three notes, the
bass note, the interval of a fourth above the bass note, and a sixth
above the bass note. ..."
from this site
and likewise for "four six chord", though less common.
However, it occurs to me that I've started us thinking along the wrong
lines here - what matters is what people who may want to write figured
basses into lilypond will find most natural. I jumped to the conclusion
that the reason I write 6 followed by 4 when writing out figured basses
was because I call it a six four chord. In fact, since the figures are
always aligned at the top there is a much stronger reason why, when
writing out the figures you start at the top and work downwards, and
hence why you write them out as six followed by four (to continue the
example). If you didn't write downwards, you would have to guess where
to start writing the figures, judging by how many figures you had to
This all presupposes that figured basses are indeed aligned horizontally
at the top: I am sure this is always so, based on sampling Italian,
French, English and German 17th & 18th c. sonatas from my bookshelf and
thirty odd years of knocking round in early music circles. In fact, I
think anything else would appear outlandish, because the commonest
figures (a # or b or a six on their own) would have to be placed at some
distance from the bass note, depending on the maximum number of figures
to be found on any one note in the piece. A # would then frequently
appear to be associated with some note on the next line, which usually
either means that the editor thinks *that* note should be sharpened (or
if ornamented, the ornament should be sharpened). (I feel perhaps I'm
labouring the point now ...).
The default should be the normal direction else we risk creating another
standard in figured bass notation!
I've added #'direction for the BassFigure grob, so you can the
stacking direction. (1.7 cvs)