The Fi­gu­red Bass Ac­com­pa­ni­ment in Eu­ro­pe

Brescia, Scuola Diocesana di Musica ‘Santa Cecilia’


Deadline: 28.03.2021

10.12.2020 | The Centro StudiOpera Omnia Luigi Boccherini of Lucca, theResearch Group Palma Choralis® andthe Dipartimento di Musica Antica ‘Città diBrescia’ – are pleased to invite submissions ofproposals for the symposium «The Figured BassAccompaniment in Europe», to be held from 10 to12 September 2021.

Because of the continuing uncertainties arisingfrom the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers ofthis conference will make contingency plans foran online event, in case an in-person gatheringis not possible.


The basso continuo phenomenon, as a practice for accompanying one or more vocal and/or instrumental lines, spread throughout Europe and colonies from the end of the sixteenth century to the threshold of the nineteenth century, including several stylistic and notational peculiarities, according to different contexts and repertoires. As a halfway between composition and performance, which can integrate and/or substitute other notational systems, continuo was born as a shorthand of a contrapuntal texture that was extemporaneously reconstructed by performers. Nevertheless, continuo practice and partimento from the late eighteenth century became also pedagogical tools essential to the composition training. The conference, open to musicologists, performers, and music teachers intends to explore developments, stylistic features, similarities and idiosyncrasies of the figured bass across different geographical areas and periods of time. We investigate any kind of sources, documentation, music instruments (e.g. organological features, line-ups, doublings) as well as performative contexts, both professional (e.g. theatre, church, court) and amateur (e.g. domestic enjoyment of certain social classes). Special attention is paid to improvisation issues and the complexity of cognitive resources and mental representations related to perception/imagination of the musical discourse. Furthermore, as continuo notation turns out to be particularly versatile, it leaves it open to a broad spectrum of possibilities (e.g. from tasto solo to big chords, or instrumental gestures) to be used by performers as a means for musical expression and creativity. The programme committee encourages submissions within the following areas ,although other topics are also welcome:

• New discoveriesand evidence from treatises, musical andnon-musical sources

• Stylistic features andperformance practice issues of accompaniment –solo, ensemble and integrated performance(self-accompaniment)

• Basso continuo and opera

• Music instruments:influence of organological peculiarities oncontinuo style

• Accompaniment notationand its use in continuo instruments (figures,alphabet letters, intabulation)

• Written-outaccompaniments and intavolature, and theirrelationship with actual performance practice

• Liturgical chantaccompaniment: cantus planus and cantusfractus asunfigured and figured bass

• The music and socialcontexts: differences between practices amongstamateurs/beginners and professionals

• Pinnacle and decline: partimenti and the compositional training

• Training: performance skills, improvisation and aural teachings

• Composer, performer and improvisation: the relationship between basso continuo practice and res facta

Programme Committee:

• Roberto Illiano (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)

• Marcello Mazzetti (Palma Choralis, Early Music Department “Città di Brescia”)

• Fulvia Morabito (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)

• Massimiliano Sala (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)

• Livio Ticli (Palma Choralis, Early Music Department “Città di Brescia”)

Keynote  Speaker:

• Thérèse de Goede (Conservatorium van Amsterdam, NL)

• Thomas Christensen (University of Chicago, USA)

The official languages of the conference are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Papers selected at the conference will be published in a miscellaneous volume.

Papers are limited to twenty minutes in length, allowing time for questions and discussion. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and one page of biographical information.

All proposals should besubmitted by email no later than ***28 March2021*** to your proposal please include your name,contact details (postal address, e-mail andtelephone number) and (if applicable) youraffiliation.

The committee will make itsfinal decision on the abstracts by tApril 2021,and contributors will be informed immediatelythereafter. Further information about theprogramme, registration, travel andaccommodation will be announced after that date.

For any additional information, please contact:

Dr. Massimiliano Sala