02 November 2008

Lullaby, Phase I

I've settled on a text. Not sure if I'll go the continuo route: I should need to root around some scores to investigate historical practice . . . an activity I should enjoy, if free time were ample; but which this week feels like an agreement to slow the compositional process down when, probably, what I want to do is just write. While I am reading the text, for instance, music for the voice occurs to me, and the shadow of an accompaniment as well. Perhaps another time, I'll do prep for writing a continuo accompaniment; in the present instance, I seem just to want to 'exhale' the piece.


  1. Exhale away, Karl! As for figured bass: how would that handle expanded tonality? What if you want to indicate a chord that has no figure, so to speak?

  2. That was about my first question, too, Peter. But I had apparently conflated harmonic analysis with figured bass. E.g., I[subscript]6 would be the tonic chord in first inversion; in chatting with Paul, right away he said "forget the Roman numerals." And that made sense from some casual reading I had done of the score to the B Minor Mass; Bach gives the figures (the Arabic numerals) indicating the intervals above the bass note. For the continuo player's realization of the harmony, using Roman numerals to label triads within a given key is almost 'clutter'.

    In principle, I ought to be able to indicate whatever intervals above the bass note I choose (with a slash through the Arabic numeral to indicate a raised degree, a flat to indicate lowered).

    But since I would not (probably) be writing in Common Practice, it seems to me (maybe I'm mistook) that I would end up writing the voice-leading, anyway, and then I would 'extract' figures from the composed-out harmonies. In which case, why not leave on the treble-clef staff what I've already composed out?