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Review: The Pianist’s Guide to Historic Improvisation by John Mortensen

“If I have one regret about my traditional education, it’s that it wasn’t traditional enough. We have forgotten that in the eighteenth century – those hundred years that form the bedrock of classical music – improvisation was a foundation of music training. Oddly, our discipline has discarded a practice that helped bring it into being. […]

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Analysis Education Music Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Realisation

Sala – No. 14

The partimenti of Nicola Sala (1713-1801) focus more on counterpoint than pedagogues from the Durante schools of Partimento. Sala teaches invertible counterpoint through presenting themes in the bass followed by their countersubject (which he sometimes marks with a Signa Congruentia ‘:S’ or ‘S:’ (Van Tour, 2017, Introduction)). The theme (interesting) must be played over the […]

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Analysis Education Music Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Realisation

Durante – Regola 31

Technique in Focus: “On the preparation of the 9th, which stems from the 3rd” This partimento demonstrates the “Up 2nd, Down 3rd” ‘Fonte’ sequence with suspended 9ths. The purpose of this rule prescribed by Durante, is to practise the prepation of a 9th suspension using the 3rd of the preparatory chord. The third of the […]

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Education Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Realisation

Durante – Regola 34

Technique in Focus: “On the use of (sequences of) 6/5s” Regola 34 by Durante focuses on the Down 3rd, Up 2nd sequence (this schema is also an example of an inverted Cycle of Fifths). I have used the term ‘Fonte’ to apply to this sequence rather than just the Fonte as prescribed by Riepel (Gjerdingen, […]

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Chapter 3: A Case for Partimento Pt. 2 – Improvisation

The Benefits of Improvisation A linguistic parallel may be applied to outline the relationship of different musical fields of study. When learning a foreign language, a student may be taught grammar, aural, literacy, pronunciation, and translation skills. But a language may only be said to have been learnt if the student can speak it. Subsequently, […]

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Chapter 3: A Case for Partimento Pt. 1 – Music Theory

Reform needs to occur in musical theory and improvisation pedagogies. I posit that Partimento can be used as a method in which to holistically integrate compartmentalised aspects of music education. Partimento can act as a scaffold to train improvisation (Callahan, 2017, p. 196). Improvisation is an admirable goal in and of itself and produces valuable […]

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Piano Teaching: Requirements, Realities, Aspirations

The profession of piano teaching encompasses a broad range of talents and skillsets requisite for effective dissemination of knowledge. I shall speak of the necessary qualities for teaching, practical considerations and associated issues for maximal success of both teacher and student. This is not an all-encompassing, nor prescriptive outline of piano teaching. However, it provides […]

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Chapter 2: Issues with Classical Pedagogy – Examinations, Theory Harmony, Improvisation

There are institutional, individual and perceptual issues at all levels of classical music. The rectification of these issues may lead to a keener understanding of music theory, and a proliferation of classical improvisation at amateur and professional levels of performance and education. I shall deal with those issues which may be resolved through the integration […]

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Analysis: Haydn Andante and Variations in F minor, Hob XVII:6

Written in 1793 in Vienna “between his two stays in London” (Ax, 2012), the ‘Andante with variations in F minor’ “underwent several revisions” (Sisman, 1993, p. 193). It was an “alternating strophic-variation set in six parts” intended to be a movement of a sonata (Sisman, 1993, p. 193). This was later changed to a reprise […]

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Analysis: Don Giovanni no.15, trio ‘Ah! taci, ingiusto core’

We join Donna Elvira in Act II at her balcony, scorning herself for still loving the notorious philanderer, Don Giovanni. Meanwhile, the Don has set his eyes on his next conquest, the maid of Donna Elvira. To be successful in this latest exploit, he must lure Elvira away. Don Giovanni and Leporello exchange outfits and […]