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16 votes

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

Traditionally, this isn't specified. A single "7" in the figures could be performed either complete (with the chordal fifth) or incomplete (without). Rarely, though, the figures can specify ...
Richard's user avatar
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10 votes
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A 3/3 figured bass

Typically, a root-position triad has nothing in the figured bass; if the text is really specific, it will provide "5 3" as the figures. But in this case, they've taken it one step further: they ...
Richard's user avatar
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8 votes

Do incomplete chords get roman numerals in harmonic analysis?

No, not all three notes of a triad must be present for it to be given a Roman numeral. Common practice requires at least two pitches to be present to recognize it as a triad: the root, so that we know ...
Richard's user avatar
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8 votes

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

The figures show intervals relative to the given bass note. Unaltered figures generally mean the diatonic pitch at that interval. Therefore, for example, in a piece in A minor, whether the bass is G ...
phoog's user avatar
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8 votes

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

It really depends on the context since there is no standard way to denote this. In a harmony class, you should ask your teacher which kind of notation they would find acceptable for the omission of ...
11684's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did continuo players consider figured bass as "interval symbols" or "chord symbols"?

Part of the problem is what is meant by the term "chord." It's tricky to interpret the occurrence of that word (and synonyms in other languages) from the 17th and 18th centuries, as there ...
Athanasius's user avatar
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7 votes

Function of augmented-fifth in figured bass

If you also look at the 5th bar... ...the 5+ figure is used again. If the bass were unfigured, both of the chords could be 6 or 6/5 chords, some kind of dominant harmony. I think the editor may be ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
7 votes

Do incomplete chords get roman numerals in harmonic analysis?

I would add the Roman numeral if there is an implied harmony. The 5th is such a strong fundamental (acoustically speaking) that it is still perceived by the listener even if it is not written in the ...
Giovanni's user avatar
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7 votes

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

Since figured bass shows the intervals above the bass, it only shows chromatic alterations for intervals above the bass. As such, if the only chromatic pitch is itself the note in the bass, there's no ...
Richard's user avatar
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6 votes

is this F 6'9 chord a figured bass or a chord extension?

69 chords are chords in their own right. They are major triad, with M6 and M9 added. So F69 comprises F A C D G. 9th chords generally are expected to include a 7th of some kind, unless they're 'add9' ...
Tim's user avatar
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6 votes

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

I don't think it is a "misunderstanding" at all. It is just the fact that the English word "thorough" has changed its meaning over time. The original meaning only survives in a few compound words like ...
guest's user avatar
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Confused on figured bass in minor

The last chord shows the notes: G, A, E, C#. If we rearrange these into a stack of thirds, we get: A, C#, E, G. This is a dominant seventh chord: A7. But, as the note G is in the bass it is: A7/G....
Elements In Space's user avatar
6 votes

What does a "2" on top of a figured bass exercise mean?

These numbers indicate what we call octave designation, which these authors discuss in their chapter on key/scale/modes (depending on what edition of the book you have, these chapters may be separated)...
Richard's user avatar
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6 votes

How to write a double sharp in a figured bass symbol

You can write it exactly as you've done it! Double accidentals in figured bass are rare, but they do happen; see Can we use double accidentals in figured bass? Another option would be to replace the &...
Richard's user avatar
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5 votes

How can I learn thoroughbass?

As someone who is currently learning to play from figured bass on the harpsichord, I can recommend starting with the book "Continuo Playing According to Handel: His figured bass exercises" ...
Semiprime's user avatar
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5 votes

How can I learn thoroughbass?

There are several texts that are readable. One is available on IMSLP: https://imslp.org/wiki/Thorough-Bass_Made_Easy_(Pasquali%2C_Nicolo) Arnold's two volume set is available from Dover so not too ...
ttw's user avatar
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5 votes
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Figured bass 52?

Remember that figured bass tells you the intervals up above the bass pitch. With that in mind, the 5/2 above the B♭ suggests C (that's the 2) and F (that's the 5). Unfortunately for us, B♭ C F isn't ...
Richard's user avatar
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5 votes
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Can we use double accidentals in figured bass?

This is a cut and paste answer so please consider double checking my source, I could have taken this paragraph out of context. The frustrating thing is there are no musical illustrations regarding ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
5 votes

Abbreviations for dominant seventh chords

A big part of it has to do with the abbreviations for triads, which are traditionally taught before the figured bass for seventh chords. (By the way: this whole process is called "figured bass," and ...
Richard's user avatar
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5 votes
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What does an isolated horizontal dash mean in figured bass notation

Figured bass written when it was a living notation is often not so neatly formalized as modern figured bass used as a teaching aid for learning common practice harmony. Also, most music editions ...
guest's user avatar
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5 votes
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Can you solve these figured bass queries?

Just a few quick clarifications to onto Aaron's answer. BAR 5 In many historical figured bass practices, accidentals were sparingly used with figures and only when absolutely necessary. In fact, ...
Athanasius's user avatar
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5 votes

Do incomplete chords get roman numerals in harmonic analysis?

Figured bass and Roman numeral analysis are two separate things. In figured bass, each interval above the given bass is specified. A chord that features an octave and a third above the bass would be ...
Aaron's user avatar
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5 votes

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

Chord notation systems, including figured bass, leave room for interpretation. It lets the performer or the arranger to interpret the composition their own way. In order to specify the exact notes to ...
user1079505's user avatar
5 votes
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Figured Bass Standalone Accidentals

Yes, an accidental by itself always refers to the third above the bass. I also have not encountered a double-accidental in baroque music, though Wikipedia places them as early as 1615, which at least ...
Aaron's user avatar
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4 votes
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What chord does the following figured bass represent in this progression?

Check out Piston's Example 24-12 on page 380. Note that the second through fourth chords progress from a root-position tonic triad through this 6 5 4 harmony and into a first-inversion tonic triad. I'...
Richard's user avatar
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4 votes

Did J.S. Bach write the figured bass in scores or continuo parts?

To Bach, the bass was central and often the first voice that he wrote. As an avid keyboard player and composer he was probably too meticulous to not realize voices for orchestral scores. A first ...
noumenal's user avatar
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4 votes
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How writing a dominant 7 sus4 chord in RNA ( Vsus7 chord in the 1st inversion)

The suspension won't be shown in the Roman numerals, but it can be shown in the figured bass: As long as we remember that figured bass shows the intervals above the bottom pitch, it just becomes a ...
Richard's user avatar
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