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Serebrennikov M.

On the shorthand ways of fugue notation in the Baroque era

The revival of interest towards the historical practices of music playing (improvisation, in particular) at the beginning of the 21st century and the extensive research into the primary sources related to these practices allowed to find the long-forgotten and obsolete ways of fugue notation. In the three centuries old manuscripts and publications, multi-voice imitative compositions appeared as unordinary, sometimes baroque-like sophisticated shorthands.

Based on musical sources that are not usually available to a Russian musician, the article introduces such a phenomenon of the late Baroque era as the keyboard thoroughbass fugue. The author focuses on the issues of notation—an aspect of the musical language, which most clearly represents the nature of the phenomenon. The majority of the survived samples of the thoroughbass fugues are presented in abridged notation. Depending on how deeply detailed the written musical text is, all samples can be divided into two groups: 1) fugues with abridged notation of texture; 2) fugues with abridged notation of both texture and structure. The notation technique is described on the examples of particular thoroughbass fugues recorded in various ways depending on the level of sketchiness of the text and fugues’ functionality.

The issue is covered not only from the prospective of history and theory but also its practical relevance – the author demonstrates a step-by-step process of authentic thoroughbass fugue reading.

Key words

Godfrey Keller, Daniel Magnus Gronau, notation, thoroughbass, counterpoint, fugue, improvisation, partimento.

For citation

Serebrennikov M. On the shorthand ways of fugue notation in the Baroque era // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2020. No. 3. Pp. 28–35.