2. Harmony in Performance Practice for Fortepiano Students

For composers such as C.Ph.E. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and their contemporaries, thorough-bass, despite its diminished role in the musical practice of their days, still served as the theoretical basis for harmony. Thorough-bass was never considered to be merely a method for making a harmonically correct ex tempore accompaniment over a given bass. It always formed as well the very basis for the art of composition. Therefore, in order to better understand the innovations and the revolutionary character of the works of composers such as Beethoven and Schubert, it is useful to have a good working knowledge of thorough-bass.

During this course the student will get acquainted with the concepts and ways of experience of late 18th century and early 19th century harmony, both from the point of view of composers and of music theorists from that period.  
The relations between harmony and affect and their consequences for dynamics, 'timing' and tempo will be explained on the basis of the treatises by Quantz, Quirinus van Blankenburg, Daube, Marpurg, C.Ph.E. Bach, Türk, Sorge, Corrette and Mozart.

During the first semester the student will learn to convert the thorough-bass figures into chords. He/she will improve his/her skills by writing out accompaniments from both figured and unfigured bass lines from sonatas by Quantz, Geminiani, J.S. Bach & sons, and other composers from the evening of the thorough-bass era. In addition, the principles of unfigured bass accompaniment, which provide an indispensable tool for the art of improvisation, a.o. of cadences, will be taught by means of the treatises by J.D. Heinichen (1711 & 1728) J. F. Daube (1756) and C.Ph.E. Bach (1762).  

The second semester will be devoted mainly to the analysis of a number of compositions. Each student in turn will present his/her work to the group and demonstrate, by playing, how the information from the sources can be related to this particular composition, and in which way this will inform his/her interpretation of it.

The student will finish this course with a written analysis, which include basso continuo figures, of a given composition.

Duration of the course
1 year, weekly classes

Teaching method
Group tutorial

Thérèse de Goede