View Full Version : Figured bass

Oct-29-2012, 14:15
Is there any notation software that can deal with figured bass as used in the Continuo of Baroque works?

I've read numerous explanatory texts in an effort to figure it out (pun intended) but still don't seem to have mastered it.

This is typical of what I'm working from


Trying to build a 2 manual harpsichord continuo from the figured bass, time is not so much a problem as patience!

Oct-29-2012, 15:49
Sorry, I'm not aware of any notation software that can actually realize the figured bass. Many can of course notate it. The biggest problem is that even though we know what notes should be played, we still don't know exactly how the notes should be played!

The basic rules shouldn't be so difficult to implement for a realization, but to lift it to a musical interpretation with varied figuration and rythmical variation that properly support the other instrumental melodies is a different thing completely.

The figured bass is supposed to be a guide for improvisation anyway and most of the time certainly not only a shorthand for an exact arrangement of a piece of music.

Kind regards

Lars P

Oct-29-2012, 16:18
Hi Mike,

I found this item on Figured Bass Notation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figured_bass#Figured_bass_notation) that may be of some help, at least defining what some of the symbols refer to.

Lars A (the other Lars :lol:)

Oct-29-2012, 18:29
Thanks Lars, I did look at that one, also downloaded one from Dolmetsch; whilst I can understand what they're trying to achieve, I find implementing it a PITA.

I'm surprised nobody has tried to do it in software, even in some limited form.