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figured bass

[beys] /beɪs/
noun, Music.
a bass part in which the notes have numbers under them indicating the chords to be played.
Origin of figured bass
First recorded in 1795-1805 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for figured bass
Historical Examples
  • Likewise the notation of a Chorale with a figured bass should not be omitted.

  • He published, in 1711, a Nouvelle mthode de musique, and in the years 1735 and 1738 two volumes of gamba pieces with figured bass.

    The Violoncello and Its History

    Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski
  • In some cases Bach writes an organ obbligato part in addition to the continuo, or figured bass.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • From the Musical Offering; the clavier part supplied from the figured bass by Kirnberger.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • Florilegium Portense, a work containing 115 cantiones selectissimas of from four to eight voices, with figured bass for organ.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • The appendix also gives a figured bass and instrumental accompaniment to No. 2.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • This volume forms a key to "Exercises in figured bass" by the same author (see above).

  • It sometimes amplifies a thought, much as a musician might amplify the harmonies upon a master's figured bass.

  • During the seventeenth century, sonatas were written for various instruments, with a figured bass for the cembalo.

    The Pianoforte Sonata J.S. Shedlock
  • Viadana is said to have been the first to use what is called a basso continuo, and even the figured bass.

    Critical & Historical Essays Edward MacDowell
British Dictionary definitions for figured bass

figured bass

a shorthand method of indicating a thorough-bass part in which each bass note is accompanied by figures indicating the intervals to be played in the chord above it in the realization
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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