chapter  5
5 Pages

The End of Basso Continuo Creativity

The rules set out at the beginning of the 1700s embody the evolution of basso continuo accompaniment; treatises written in the second half of the 1700s show little development or change from half a century earlier. Indications from the composer to the continuo player in both printed and manuscript sources became more explicit towards the second half of the eighteenth century, showing how composers were beginning to restrict the continuo player's liberty in the interpretation of the score. For orchestral music, an example of outstanding attention to detail in the continuo player's part is found in the manuscript score of Marc'Antonio Ziani's serenata La Flora. As basso continuo accompaniment falls into disuse, Vincenzo Manfredini's treatise articulates clearly its versatility and re-emphasizes the responsibility of the accompanist to regulate the number of notes placed in a chord in accordance with what is being accompanied and where.