Figured bass alignment

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Chris Clemens 8 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #10424

    Chris Clemens
    Keymaster

    Larry, in the course outline I am working on, there is a lot of figured bass. BANA covers most circumstances pretty well … when there is only one staff involved … but the only examples they give with two staffs and intervals in the right hand do not exactly explain how to handle simpler situations. I am not dealing with the complexity found in BANA Example 27.23.1-1 or 27.25.1. I am treating the material similarly to Example 27.20-1, but with chords in the right hand that shouldn’t, it seems to me, have anything to do with the alignment of the figured bass with the left hand notes.

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    #20474

    Chris Clemens
    Keymaster

    In the simple two-staff examples, i’d use the model of Example 27-25-1, using intervals for the notes in the hand parts. Look at that example, omitting the alternative line of analysis. That way, the notes remain aligned with the associated bass figures. Whenever it gets more complicated, involving even one in-accord, I’d use Example 27-23.1-1, in open score. I think absolute clarity for the reader takes precedence over saving space. It is very likely that the reader will be assembling the music in his head, without actually playing it on an instrument, just as a sighted reader probably does. In fact, reading figured-bass, he might actually be reading chord-by-chord. It might be a stumbling-block not to have the chords and their abstract symbols in alignment.

    Larry

    #20475

    Chris Clemens
    Keymaster

    I think it will be clearer if I attach the print file so you can see what I’m working with. What I need to get correct immediately are the two items at the bottom of the second page, under “Melody Harmonization” and “Keyboard Harmony.” Beyond that, the pages headed M74.1 through M74.3, which have no chords in the right hand, I think I have correct but am a bit insecure as to the way I have set them up, with the item numbers above the items, the sectional double bars where they appear, and an octave sign after each sectional double bar where they are on the same parallel. I hope the attachment comes through. The way it looks, with the file name below the attach files blank, it has not been attached to this message.

    #20476

    Chris Clemens
    Keymaster

    Gil, thank you for sending the print. I did not have a good picture in my mind of what your are transcribing. If you tried to attach your braille, it did not come through, but I think I understand what you are saying.

    I think you have two separate kinds of presentation.

    Where there are no roman numerals, I think you should use horizontal figured bass format, as in 27.1 through 27.15. Note that you must use the figured-bass prefix instead of a hand sign. The notes of the RH line do not have to be aligned with the notes of the LH (except at the beginnings of measures. of course.) That would apply to those pages M74.1-M74.3. In these assignments, the student is actually learning how to play from a continuo part.

    Where there are roman numerals, you have to use a vertical format, of course. For models, I’d use Example 27.20-1 with single-line examples and 27.25-1 (with only one line of analysis) for the two-staff examples. In this format be sure to show hand signs instead of the figured-bass prefix.

    Larry

    #20477

    Chris Clemens
    Keymaster

    Dear Larry,
    I have finished the project, in a sense. I am now working on the corrections sent today from the people for whom I was doing the work. You said that it was not necessary to align the right hand and left hand parts in figured bass exercises, but I am afraid that you meant in the horizontal format. Unfortunately, I took DeGarmo at her word and used the vertical format because she said, “… the vertical format is preferable for theory texts, examination papers, and related materials … ” As this is a course outline, I went with the vertical format because she had said that the horizontal format is recommended when transcribing actual compositions, which these aren’t.
    Now I’m worried that I’m going to have to go back and align all the right and left hand parts throughout the course outline, which will be a monumental job for which I won’t get paid any extra. However, I want to do what is correct. The people in Canada seem to be nervous about the fact that I didn’t align the right hand parts with the left hand so that the figured bass notations are in line with the right hand as well as the left hand notes.
    I hope you will see this pretty soon as I am supposed to go to a funeral in the north of the state on Friday and may make the Canadians angry if I have to do a realignment and can’t begin until Monday.
    Please explain the exact procedure for attaching a file to one of these inquiries.

    Thanks… Gil

    #20478

    Chris Clemens
    Keymaster

    HI again, Gil.

    There isn’t a hard and fast rule about when to use vertical and when to use horizontal figured-bass formats. All I could tell you what I would have done in that case. If a particular agency wants a different answer, that is their privilege. I apologize if I have caused you any trouble. All you should have to do to attach a file is click on the “attach files” button below where you are writing your message.

    Best to you,
    Larry

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