KCB, Regentschapsstraat 30, 09:30h
Keyboard accompanists at work (Italy, ca. 1600): an Approach to their Figure and their Work Context

A better understanding of the daily job of keyboard accompanists in Italy around 1600 should be at the basis of any in-depth research on their performance praxis.

Therefore, crucial parameters such as specific musical abilities, the diversity of source formats to perform from (corresponding to different musical genres), will be analyzed.

Their high level of musical training and set of skills, which were quite different from those provided by our modern training system as early music accompanists, should be reappraised and reconsidered to better understand the contents of early extant basso continuo sources — including topics discussed as well as omitted information.

The variety of systems of notation gives rise to new kinds of “scores” like Intabolatura, Partitura or Spartito. Each of them requires specific skills which will condition a basso continuo performance.

Reproducing early basso continuo practices today is a challenge. To a great extent, this is due to the fact that they cannot be considered as the starting point of a research on this topic, but rather as the product of an earlier, Renaissance musical tradition which, in many ways, is further away from our modern musical training than later Baroque repertoire, when basso continuo practice was more firmly established.