Questions tagged [figured-bass]

For questions related to figured bass (also called thoroughbass), the notation of a bass line and the intervals to be played above the bass.

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Why aren't passing V64 chords in minor notated with a raised 6 in figured bass?

If all accidentals are supposed to be notated in the figures why do passing 64 chords only appear with 64 and no slash or sharp symbol next to the 6. The 6 in a passing 64 chord is the leading tone ...
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3 answers
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Can there be a chord with two inversions represented by the same figure?

When figures are used to describe chords, they represent the intervals above the lowest pitch, and these seem to be treated as unique. For example, basic triads come in 5-3, 6-3, and 6-4 forms; and ...
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4 votes
2 answers
172 views

Why are accented passing tones not figured but suspensions are?

If 4-3 happens as a suspension and it is figured then why not also figure an accented passing tone 4-3?
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3 votes
3 answers
321 views

Goldberg variations - chord progression changes between variations

The Wikipedia article on the Goldberg variations sets out the chord progression which all variations follow. In some bars, different options are separated by commas and it says there are different ...
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1 answer
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Should the inversions of VII and VII7 in minor be seen as dominant chords in the relative major?

I am doing some harmony exercises in minor keys where there are tonicizations of III approached usually by VII. By having VII7 or just VII and its inversions available as applied chords or secondary ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does a 7 - 6 mean in figured bass?

Here in this voice leading exercise I am doing I have 73 going to 63 in the figured bass but I am not sure what this means for the voice leading. I understand the 7-6 means that the 7th above the ...
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5 votes
3 answers
204 views

What does a "6——" mean in figured bass?

I can't figure out what a "6——" means in figured bass. The bass notes are C and A.
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1 answer
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Help understanding basso continuo in Vivaldi's 'La Folia'

This piece by Vivaldi is shown in the score to be notated for 3 voices. However in performances, there are 4 instruments played: 2 violins, cello and keyboard. The keyboard, along with playing the ...
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8 votes
3 answers
1k views

How can I distinguish between a full 7th chord and a 7th chord without a 5th in figured bass?

The standard figured bass is usually just a 7 for a 7th chord in root position, right? If this is correct, the 5th and 3rd are assumed. But what about if the 7th chord should omit the 5th and double ...
  • 8,597
2 votes
2 answers
309 views

How to write a double sharp in a figured bass symbol

Here is an image of the exercise I am doing. I'm supposed to write the figured bass symbol underneath the chord label but I am not sure if this is right. I just put a double sharp next to the 3. Can ...
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2 votes
3 answers
99 views

Is a figured bass symbol supposed to show a raised 6th scale degree?

I am harmonizing this figured bass Please look at the E note where the blue arrow is pointing. I have raised this note because otherwise there would be an aug 2nd leap to the F#. Can someone please ...
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2 votes
2 answers
121 views

Do figured bass symbols work with roman numerals?

I often see roman numerals and figured bass together when labelling chords but are both really necessary? Surely the Figured bass will have accidentals if the chord is to be modified in some way so ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What does a "2" on top of a figured bass exercise mean?

Here is a pic from my textbook, Adwell/Schachter's Tonal Harmony. It tells me what the soprano should be in the figured bass but there is a 2 next to both notes. What does that mean?
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4 votes
2 answers
428 views

For a first-inversion major V in a minor key, is the figured bass just a 6?

In figured bass usually a first inversion chord is just labelled as 6. However, in minor the V in first inversion has a raised note. In my book the V in first inversion is still notated as 6 without ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Figured bass question: When to use #6 in minor key?

So I'm transcribing a piece by Giuseppe Valentini, one of his Allettamenti da Camera (1714), but my figured bass is a bit rusty. Here's an excerpt that illustrates my question: So in the end of first ...
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2 answers
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Is partimento a good way to learn how to write a Baroque trio sonata in the style of Corelli?

Who I am: I am 16 years old and I play violin. I am a music student and I consider myself to have a very good ear and understanding of music theory. My piano-playing is however not very good. I really ...
8 votes
3 answers
497 views

Do incomplete chords get roman numerals in harmonic analysis?

I am studying figured bass. I see some chords might be incomplete, for example 8/3 chords. Would those chords get Roman numerals assigned to them, or must all 3 notes of a triad be present to be able ...
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2 votes
1 answer
136 views

How to use figured bass over a stationary bass note

I am studying figured bass, and as a test I wanted to try and add figured bass symbols to the following passage marked with the pink arrow. I got stuck right at the beginning, because I am not sure ...
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3 votes
5 answers
215 views

Why are all voicings of a 5/3 chord written the same way?

A G major chord in root position is named 5/3 because of the intervals above the bass, but if I move the 3rd and 5th around up higher through the octaves, those intervals change but the chord is still ...
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3 votes
1 answer
49 views

Denoting multiple suspensions in figured bass Roman numeral analysis

When composing a figured bass Roman numeral analysis for a chord that has more than one suspension, is it typical to denote both suspensions, as I have done at the end of my analysis?
11 votes
5 answers
749 views

Function of augmented-fifth in figured bass

What is the harmonic function of the 5+ in the figured bass in the following snippet? If I have interpreted the figuring correctly, a F♯ figured 5+ should realise the triad F♯ A C𝄪. I am confused ...
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2 answers
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Is this the correct numeral for the given bass?

Pardon me, I'm pretty new on the whole "part writing from figured bass". Based on what I know, I believe that a 6th means 1st inversion? (correct me if I'm wrong) However, here's what I don'...
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3 votes
2 answers
149 views

What does a prime mean in figured bass?

What does a prime symbol after a bass figure mean? For example 6' or 6 4' 2? I came across this in a 1956 edition of J.S. Bach's BWV 1035, by Otto Heinrich Noetzel. Looking at the written right hand, ...
2 votes
1 answer
379 views

How do you figure an accented passing note in the bass?

How do you figure an accented passing note in the bass, specifically when the harmony changes? If you have non-chord tones in the bass following a figuring, it's easy to show the same harmony ...
5 votes
1 answer
124 views

Lilypond: Convenient code for basso continuo horizontal lines?

In basso continuo you sometimes want to place horizontal lines to indicate stable harmony. This is done in LilyPond using \bassFigureExtendersOn: \version "2.18.2" \score { << ...
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1 answer
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LilyPond: Figured bass help - Vertical figure order with bass figure extenders on

I'm having a bit of trouble obtaining the desired result in the following example: \version "2.18.2" << \relative c' { e2 e, } \figuremode { \bassFigureExtendersOn ...
2 votes
1 answer
87 views

Is this a deceptive cadence?

i was wondering if someone could clear up whether this is some sort of deceptive cadence or not. We are recently back to Bflat Major. The very last beat of the previous bar is F7 (labelled here ...
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4 answers
167 views

Is this a Neapolitan 6?

I have a couple of questions regarding this passage. Have labelled the bars in question ''1'', ''2'' and ''3''. The stave in question is second from bottom (directly above ''N6??''). We are in G minor,...
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Have I successfully/legitimately modulated?

Hi guys! Just wondering if I've done this properly. We are newly in Csharp minor from the relative major E major, and we need to finish in the home key- F sharp minor. As it stands, I have written the ...
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Is this some sort of suspension? If so, how do I write it in?

Hi guys, We are in F sharp minor. There is a G sharp being held over V7 (Csharp7), the second inversion tonic chord (Fsharp minor), and then the ii7 chord that follows. The G sharp is a chord tone of ...
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1 answer
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Which modulation is correct? (amongst other things!)

Hi guys. I’ll try and be as concise as possible. Forgive the messy score, its just a product of the confusion! I have a few query areas, but please feel free to correct me in any other areas. 

 Bar 1-...
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1 answer
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Can you solve these figured bass queries?

Hi guys- I'll try and keep it brief. Working through a figured bass workbook and came across a couple of points of confusion. In bar 5, we seem to have just modulated to G minor, as shown by the A ...
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5 votes
2 answers
220 views

Can the harmony change at the resolution of a suspension?

I came across a 7-5 suspension for the first time today- as seen in the image. This is the first time I have come across a suspension which has a change of bass (that isn't an octave leap or fall) at ...
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6 votes
3 answers
317 views

Did continuo players consider figured bass as "interval symbols" or "chord symbols"?

The "modern" idea of chords and their inversions being functionally equivalent is generally credited to Jean-Philippe Rameau's 1722 Treatise on Harmony. However, figured bass was already in ...
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5 votes
2 answers
197 views

Confused on figured bass in minor

I’m new to learning figured bass... Why is the last set of notes considered as a capital Roman numeral V instead of vi? The root note shows G.
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1 answer
2k views

A 3/3 figured bass

I am working on my homework and encountered this that I cannot understand and the teacher did not talk about this. What does the 3/3 mean?
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understanding schematic analysis notation

What do the numbers above and below the staffs represent? I was assuming that the white-circled numbers under the bass parts were the thoroughbass and that the black-circled numbers above were the ...
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4 votes
3 answers
179 views

Who has brought up the English term **figured bass** for thorough bass?

I wonder when and by whom figured bass has been introduced as synonym for thorough bass in the basso continuo. In my view this must be somehow an error or a misunderstanding of figurierter bass in ...
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to realize a figured bass

I am arranging a Bach piece. I know, what the challenge it is to do it. But I have been able to successfully arrange Mozart and later, Beethoven, so I think I'm ready. But here is the challenge I am ...
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3 answers
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is this F 6'9 chord a figured bass or a chord extension?

I am looking at a lead sheet for I loves You Porgy, and the chord notation reads like a figured bass but does it not make sense as such, so I am wondering, if it is intended as a chord extension for ...
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1 answer
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In the partimento tradition, what strategies were used to harmonize non-bass melodies?

In my readings on partimento theory (mainly the books by Sanguinetti and IJzerman) I have so far only encountered rules for harmonizing a bass melody. This is to be expected of course, because ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What does an isolated horizontal dash mean in figured bass notation

Here you see a fragment from Francesco Geminiani's Guida Armonica (ca. 1752), a sort of 'dictionary' or catalogue of figured bass snippets. My question is, what do the isolated horizontal dashes mean ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Confused on marking figured bass for modulating sequence

I started writing down the figured bass of an anime theme, and for a particular passage, I am confused on how to accurately write the figured bass progression. I have recreated the bare progressions ...
4 votes
4 answers
648 views

5/7b in figured bass

What does 5/7b mean in figured bass? If it is just a 7th chord in root position, then why is it not just 7b? In other places in the same score, 7 or 7b are used to denote a 7th chord. Here is the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
131 views

Figured bass and ties

How does one play figured bass when the bass line contains ties? For example, here are the first three measures of Vivaldi's "Filiae maestae Jerusalem" (sheet music source). Do I understand ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How writing a dominant 7 sus4 chord in RNA ( Vsus7 chord in the 1st inversion) [duplicate]

Maybe I’ve just a black out. But I wanted to notate a V7sus (inversion 1) writing a dominant 7 without the suspension of the 4th in RNA. No idea ... g,c,d,f => c,d,f,g
8 votes
5 answers
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How can I learn thoroughbass?

I've done some reading and I've discovered that our modern system of music theory (I'm looking at you Roman numeral analysis) is not the same system that most of the great composers used, including ...
3 votes
3 answers
623 views

Is it necessary to use a dash to indicate a suspension in a figured bass?

In the ABRSM theory exams, a 4-3, 7-6 or 9-8 suspension always has a dash between the two numbers in the figured bass. I have not found this to be the case in analyses that I have looked at. So is the ...
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do accidentals in a figured bass last the full measure, or do they only apply to that single chord?

Consider the example below. In m. 1, the second beat has a G♯, but beat 4 should have a G♮. Does the G♯ used on beat 2 carry over into beat 4? As such, should we specify ♮...
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1 answer
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Figured bass 52?

This is from the ABRSM Grade 8 figured basses. What does the 5/2 mean? I have not come across this before.