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Re[2]: Patch: figured bass. [Comments wanted]

From: Jérémie Lumbroso
Subject: Re[2]: Patch: figured bass. [Comments wanted]
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 12:53:30 +0200

Hi Juergen,

JR> Figured bass notation does not at all encounter harmonics, it just gives
JR> fingerings relative to the bass note.  For example, if you have a chord
JR> <c f a>, then the bass note "c" is engraved as note, and the fingering
JR> numbers are:
JR> 6
JR> 4

JR> In other words, I see two possibilities of syntax: either you specify all
JR> notes like in <c f a>.  Then lily has to separate the bass note
JR> (i.e. the deepest note) c from all other notes (in the example, f and a).
JR> The c is printed, and the f and a result in figures 4 and 6 (as counted
JR> relative to the c), respectively.  After that, you have to apply some kind
JR> of normalization, that should be done in scheme.  For example, the figures
JR> "3 5" are normalized into the single figure "5", since the "3" is, by
JR> default, always played, unless it dissonates (as in "3 4", which will stay
JR> "3 4" after normalization).  There are roughly a dozen of such
JR> normalization rules.

I really don't want to be rude, but you obviously have abso-
lutely  no idea what you are talking about. Figured bass has
nothing  to do whatsoever with fingering chord relative to a
bass note. I'm guessing you just read this out of a book. If
all this was about is putting chords out, why the heck would
any body prefer writing numbers instead of the plain chords?
I don't even know why you used the word "fingering" to refer
to it.

I'll  be  plain and simple. You are right, as I've explained
previously,  figures indicate chords relative to the note in
the  continuo (which is indeed, in most case the lowest note
BUT  not  always:  I have examples of hands meant to cross).
They  indicate a chord, but if you went out there and simply
plucked  those chords, with the left hand playing the conti-
nuo, you'd look bad. They're just there to tell to you which
harmonies  to  use, but then, it's left to the player to im-
provise  his  own  right  hand (usually by inspiring himself
from the tunes he is accompaning).

I just realize you must have the modern definition (which is
way  different from the baroque definition, as nowadays,  a-
part from harpsichordist and organists, nobody is capable to
improvise figured bass).

JR> Please also note that the conversion from figures to notes is not unique,
JR> since it allows chord inversions.  The conversion from chords to figures
JR> is, as far as I know, more or less unique.  "Less" means, that ornaments
JR> are dropped when converting to figures; but they were anyway notated
JR> sparsely in baroque music (which is the domain of figured bass).
Never  were  there ornaments in figured bass, it's extremely
rare a composer explicitly tells the executer that he has to
ornate  such note. It's left to the performer, to create his
own  tune. Ornamentation was NOT spare at all. D'Anglebert's
music  pages  were  litterally (I mean it) darked with orna-
ments! Just looking at his table will give you hint (most of
it  was  copied by Mats in the file). I'm against,
and  always will be converting notes into figures. Most peo-
ple  (including  me) will want to directly include their fi-
gures (and note pass my some imprecise second mean).

Please,  believe-me  when  I say I got a little too vivid in
that message, and that I have not meant any disrespect,

 Jérémie                            mailto:address@hidden

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