Basso Continuo and Sustained Bass Instrument Doubling (at pitch)

by Joƫlle Fancher Morton

see “Basso Continuo” by Paul O’Dette and Jack Ashworth in Stewart
Carter’s A Performer’s Guide to 17th Century Music Schirmer, 1997

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Italy, 1600-1635
Sacred Polyphony (Monteverdi)
Sacred Concerto (Viadana, Gabrieli)

Solo Song/Monody (Caccini)
Villanelle, Canzonette (Kapsberger)
Sonatas, Canzonas (Fontana, Castello)
Concerted, Madrigal (Monteverdi)
Opera (Peri, Monteverdi)
organ
organ (+ theorbo)

theorbo, harps.
guitar, theorbo, harps.
organ, theorbo, harps.
theorbo, harps., lute, organ
harps., organ, theorbo
no
bowed bass has own part
double bass added occasionally
no
no
no
no, except with other string parts
no, except with other string parts
Italy, 1635-1665
Liturgical Music (Rovetta, Cazzati)
Oratorio (Carissimi)
Opera & Cantata in Venice (Cavalli, Cesti)
Opera & Cantata in Rome (Landi, Rossi)
Sonatas (Uccellini)
organ, theorbo
organ, theorbo, harps., lirone
theorbo, harps.
theorbo, lirone, guitar, harps.
organ, harps., theorbo
usually, at pitch to reinforce organ
occasionally, in arioso mvmts, for effect
occasionally, in arioso mvmts, for effect
occasionally, in arioso mvmts, for effect
no
Italy, 1665-1700
Mass (A. Scarlatti, Legrenzi)
Oratorio, Opera, Cantata
Sonata da Chiesa (Corelli)
Sonata da Camera (Corelli)
Concerto Grosso (Corelli)
organ, theorbo
organ, theorbo, harps.
organ
harps. OR CELLO (chordal)
harps., theorbo, organ
yes
yes, but only within larger ensembles
no
possibly, if melodically interesting part
has own part, but
double bass may be added to ritornelli
England, 1600-1635
Service Music (Gibbons)
Masque Song (Ferrabosco, Lawes)
Solo Song (Lanier, R. Johnson)
String Consort (William Lawes)
organ
lute, theorbo, cittern, band., harps
lute or theorbo
organ, theorbo
no
yes
no
has own part (no double bass)
England, 1635-1665
Ayre & Dialoque (Lawes)
String, Consort (Jenkins)
lute, theo. OR BASS VIOL (chordal)
organ
no
has own part (no double bass)
England, 1665-1700
Service Music (Purcell)
Ayre (Purcell, Blow)
Theater Music (Locke, Purcell)
Chamber Music (Purcell)
organ, theorbo
organ, harps., theo OR BASS VIOL
harps., guitar, theorbo
organ, harps.
yes, at pitch, to reinforce organ
yes, bass viol or violone, at pitch
has own part
no, unless it has a specific part
North Germany, 1600-1635
Sacred Polyphony (Schutz)
Religious Polychoral (Praetorius, Schutz)
Sacred Concerto (Scheidt, Schutz)
String Consort (Schein, Brade)
organ or lute
one organ or lute PER choir
organ, theorbo
lute, spinet, or none
no
yes (preferrably violone, at pitch)
optional
has own part (no double bass)
North Germany, 1635-1665
Sacred Concerto (Schultz, Hammerschmidt)

Sacred Polyphony (Schutz)
String Consort (Hammerschmidt)
organ, lute, harps.

organ or lute
lute, spinet, theorbo
optional - both Schutz & Hammerschmidt permit 8' AND 16' bowed bass, if desired
no
has own part
North Germany, 1665-1700
Church Cantata (Buxtehude)
String Consort (Rosenmuller)
Chamber Music (Buxtehude)
organ, theorbo
harps., organ, theorbo
harps.
yes, as desired, both 8' and 16'
has own part
no
South Germany, 1600-1635
Mass (Priuli, Valentini)
Sacred Concerto (Valentini)
String Consort (Valentini)
Concerted Madrigal (Valentini)
organ
organ, theorbo
organ, harps., theorbo
chitarrone
yes, prob. 8' violone
yes, prob. 8' violone
has own part
?
South Germany/Austria, 1635-1665
Mass (Schmelzer, Kerll)
Oratorio (Bertali, Sances)
Opera (Cesti)
organ, theorbo
organ, theorbo
harps., theorbo
yes, prob. 8' violone
yes, prob. 8' violone
yes, prob. 8' violone
South Germany/Austria, 1665-1700
Mass (Draghi, Kerll, Biber)
Oratorio (Draghi)
Theater Music (Draghi, Biber)
Chamber Music (Biber, Schmelzer, Muffat)
organ
organ, theorbo, harps.
harps., theorbo
harps.
yes, often fagotto
yes
yes
yes, often many insts!
France, 1600-1635
no basso continuo repertoire until 1647, 1652
France, 1635-1665
Air de Cour (Huygens, Lambert)
Motet (du Mont)
theorbo, lute, harps.
organ, theorbo
no
no
France, 1665-1700
Opera and Ballet (Lully):
solo vocal parts and choruses
instrumental ensembles
Mass, Moted (Lully)
Chamber Music (Charpentier, Couperin)
theorbo, harps.
no harmonic continuo
organ, theorbo
theorbo, harps.
yes
"bass violin" (cello) has own part
yes
yes, usually bass viol