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Musical Terminology, Stylistic Features & Forms

Feb 11, 2014:

This week's featured term is... figured bass. Below are some key points:

  • What is it: musical notation (or shorthand notation) in which numbers are used to indicate what notes are played.
  • When was it commonly used: during the Baroque era.
  • What type of instrument is needed: one that can play chords, such as a harpsichord.
  • What does it look like in music: a single note written within the score with numbers indicating the interval or scale step above/below the note to produce a chord. For example:

1) Figured Bass: 

2) Figured Bass written out as chords per the numbers indicated in figure 1: