21 research outputs found

    Going Old School: Using Eighteenth Century Pedagogy Models to Foster Musical Skills and Creativity in Today\u27s Students

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    Recent research has illuminated a pedagogical approach to keyboard improvisation of the Italian conservatories of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, namely that of partimenti: single-stave, multiple clef exercises in which students were trained to improvise (Gjerdingen 2007, Sanguinetti 2012, van Tour 2015). This approach was passed down through oral instruction until the mid-twentieth century, when pedagogical priorities shifted away from improvisation and compositional creativity towards virtuosity, technique and adherence to the printed page. Simultaneously, the tradition of decade-long musical apprenticeship was replaced with semester-long courses in music theory and harmony. The existing research on partimenti presents a compelling historical narrative of its tradition, but fails to provide a comprehensive method for modern day application and study. In his Music in the Galant Style, Robert Gjerdingen guides readers in the process of understanding partimenti as a concatenation of his schemata; memorable musical patterns idiomatic to and ubiquitous throughout music of the Galant period (approximately 1720–1770). Giorgio Sanguinetti, in his The Art of Partimento: History, Theory and Practice, explains that these partimenti were first introduced through the study of regole or “rules:” musical events such as cadences and suspensions. By practicing the rules, students of the Galant period internalized the very patterns on which partimenti were based, thereby building their musical vocabulary and fluency within the galant language. While manuscripts of these exercises, primarily from student notebooks, or zibaldone, have been resurrected from the archives of European libraries and catalogued, there remains very little regarding the oral tradition of how rules and the improvisational realization of partimenti were taught. Gjerdingen’s website, Monuments of Partimenti (http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/partimenti), boasts a catalogue of known regole and partimenti. Like the manuscripts on which they are based, there is little to no verbal instruction on how to approach these exercises. Without the assistance of a trained teacher (a current rarity), the interested student would be overwhelmed and lost, not knowing where to begin. Therefore, there is a need for a comprehensive pedagogical method that aids modern-day students with independent rule study towards the goal of partimenti realization. Utilizing the rules of Francesco Durante (1684–1755), a leading Italian conservatory maestro of his day, this paper presents a step-by-step approach towards working through this historical method of teaching keyboard improvisation and composition. I discuss activities that may help the modern-day student in working through the rules and combining them into a complete partimento, including figured bass realization, study and performance of scores in trio-sonata texture, as well as “play-and-sing” activities. Additionally, it addresses voicing, invertible counterpoint, transposition, texture, and issues of ambiguity such as deciphering the figured bass and errors within the manuscripts. In addition to a comprehensive approach to Durante’s rules and their historical context, this paper presents a review of present literature on both historical and modern-day keyboard improvisation teaching methods, as well as suggestions for their applications. Through the rediscovery of the teaching method that trained some of history’s most remembered composers for several hundred years, students, with the tools provided in this paper, can single-handedly reconnect to a rich lineage of pedagogy traditions, developing musicianship skills seldom synthesized today and discovering what can be learned from the past. In addition to partimenti study, I introduce schemata analysis (Gjerdingen, 2007) as a springboard for compositional creativity. By stripping a piece down to its schemata, one is left with a skeleton of the piece or “lead sheet” on which to improvise. I demonstrate the prevalence of schemata in music throughout the eighteenth century by presenting analyses of varying solo keyboard works of the period and demonstrate a written-out improvisation from such an analysis

    Work in Progress. Haydn’s Schemata and Hexachords: Two Analytical Case Studies

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    Two analytical case studies, from Haydn’s minuet al roverso (from the Symphony Hob. I: 47) and the opening movement of the String Quartet Op. 50, no. 6, show the interaction of galant schemata (Gjerdingen 2007) and the hexachordal solmization of the solfeggio tradition (Baragwanath 2020). Haydn plays upon conventional galant schemata—presumably elements of style shared by listeners who are closely familiar with the idiom (even if they do not have explicit schema labels); he also plays upon a more esoteric element of his own training and that of many other musicians in the period: hexachordal solmization. By considering both schemata and hexachords, I argue that Haydn’s conceits work on multiple levels, communicating with both stylistic insiders familiar with schemata, as well as with a narrower group of insiders trained in hexachordal solmization

    The Partimento Tradition in the Shadow of Enlightenment Thought

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    This presentation investigates the relationship between partimento pedagogy and Rameau’s music theories as influenced by Enlightenment thought. Current research on partimento has revealed its importance in Neapolitan music schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Along with counterpoint, partimento was a core subject in the study of composition in the Neapolitan schools; however, as pedagogy and theory began to be influenced by Enlightenment ideals such as the scientific method or a preference for clear systemization, the partimento tradition began to wane. In this presentation, I examine Rameau’s music theory as an example of Enlightenment thought in music, juxtaposing the central ideals of Rameau’s music theory with the ideals of partimento pedagogy and suggesting that Enlightenment thought hastened the decline of partimento study. Both the method of partimento pedagogy and Rameau’s theory of the fundamental bass stemmed in part from the practice of thoroughbass, and both were viewed as effective ways to teach musicians composition and improvisation. However, Rameau’s theory sought to improve on existing pedagogies by condensing eclectic rules and extended study into a few fundamental principles—an example of Enlightenment thought applied to music theory. In the light of Rameau’s understandable, widely applicable theory of harmony based on Enlightenment assumptions, the long years of practice-based partimento study under a maestro gradually became obsolete. The research methodology of this presentation consists of historical research from primary and secondary sources

    The Partimento Tradition in the Shadow of Enlightenment Thought

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    How did Enlightenment ideals influence seventeenth-century music theory and composition pedagogy? This article investigates the relationship between partimento pedagogy and Rameau’s music theories as influenced by Enlightenment thought. Current research on partimento has revealed its importance in Neapolitan music schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Along with counterpoint, partimento was a core subject in the study of composition in the Neapolitan schools; however, as pedagogy and theory began to be influenced by Enlightenment ideals such as the scientific method or a preference for clear systemization, the partimento tradition began to wane. Juxtaposing the Enlightenment ideals of Rameau’s music theory with the ideals of partimento pedagogy, the author suggests that Enlightenment thought hastened the decline of partimento study. Both the method of partimento pedagogy and Rameau’s theory of the fundamental bass stemmed in part from the practice of thoroughbass, and both were viewed as effective ways to teach musicians composition and improvisation. However, Rameau’s theory sought to improve on existing pedagogies by condensing eclectic rules and extended study into a few fundamental principles—an example of Enlightenment thought applied to music theory. In the light of Rameau’s understandable, widely applicable theory of harmony based on Enlightenment assumptions, the long years of practice-based partimento study under a maestro gradually became obsolete

    Die Partimenti von Giovanni Paisiello Ansätze zu ihrem Verständnis

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    The Partimenti of Giovanni Paisiello: Towards Their Understanding in Context.   This doctoral thesis focuses on Paisiello's partimenti and how to approach their realization and performance. To that end I completed an in-depth profile of his pedagogical activities and expanded the already well-known sources—the Regole published in St. Petersburg (1782)—with newly discovered partimenti by Paisiello. Crucial for this study were connections between Paisiello's partimenti and not only his own compositions but also those of his teacher Francesco Durante and his other contemporaries. This broader perspective required taking into account the genre-specific contexts in which Paisiello’s partimenti reside. The inclusion of larger musical forms and complex progressions as compositional models significantly expands the spectrum of possibilities in the realization of his partimenti. A central idea emerging from this study is that partimenti provide a key to the musical language of the time and offer vast possibilities for realization and ornamentation.Research in and through artistic practic

    Haydn’s Schemata and Hexachords: Two Analytical Case Studies

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    From Partimento to Finished Work Realizing, Revising, and Expanding Partimenti Using Techniques of the Bach Family

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    The centrality of thoroughbass to eighteenth-century musical composition has long been recognized; but only in the past two decades has the related branch of partimento begun to receive full scholarly attention, despite its intense cultivation in eighteenth-century Neapolitan conservatories, its dissemination to other European musical centers, and its continuation as a living tradition to the present day. While scholars have demonstrated partimento’s importance as a training ground for professional musicians, the full extent of its potential for the training of composers remains largely undisclosed, in part because training in composition through partimenti was and remains an oral tradition passed from maestros to their pupils. This dissertation seeks to fill that gap by showing processes for converting the raw material of partimenti into finished musical compositions, in effect demonstrating some of the implicit knowledge that experienced partimento players would have brought to their advanced work. Two opening chapters illustrate simple and imitative partimenti and explain some of the musical lessons they embody. The dissertation then devotes two chapters to preludes and fugues from the second book of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier that exist in early and revised versions. The early versions of these works are always simpler than the later ones, and they are shown to reduce to fairly simple partimento-like progressions; specific techniques that Bach uses to change these relatively simple pieces to their finished, canonic forms involve a variety of compositional methods that are explored here, most of them involving techniques of expansion. A still greater variety of techniques, some quite simple, others involving revisions to the musical form, others producing wholesale changes of genre, appear in the revisions that Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel undertook when revising an early keyboard suite and several early sonatas. First written in the 1730s and revised in the following decade, these movements also reduce to simpler progressions, but exhibit a fuller range of techniques for converting sparse works to finished forms. Three chapters are devoted to several of these movements by C.P.E. Bach. These techniques of elaboration and revision by two generations of the Bach family form a basis for demonstrations that occupy the dissertation’s final two chapters. In the first demonstration, a partimento by Fedele Fenaroli is treated to multiple elaborations, from a figurated upper voice to a more finished, intricate version, as specific points are identified as suitable for various kinds of expansion, as well as rhythmic and contrapuntal elaboration. The second demonstration realizes a four-part fugue from the Langloz manuscript in multiple ways, the first resembling what a keyboard player might first devise, later ones expanding the fugue with additional subject entries, episodes, stretti, and the like. These demonstrations aim to recreate possibilities that an advanced partimento player would recognize, realizing in a stylistically appropriate way some of the possibilities implicit in a partimento’s raw material.PHDMusic: TheoryUniversity of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studieshttps://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/145905/1/hyesahn_1.pd

    Reseña de Job IJzerman, Harmony, Counterpoint, Partimento. A new method inspired by old masters (Oxford University Press, 2018)

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    En los últimos diez años los estudios sobre la antigua práctica del partimento han supuesto una revolución en los campos del análisis y la teoría musical. Job IJzerman en Harmony, Counterpoint, Cartimento. A new method inspired by old masters presenta una propuesta de aplicación de estos conceptos en el aula

    Partimento pedagogy and its modern application

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    The purpose of this doctoral dissertation is to examine and advocate for the use of a historical keyboard improvisation pedagogy in both modern educational settings and individual learning environments as a self-contained, all-encompassing approach that is capable of producing a total musician who can successfully improvise, compose, and perform. My intent is not to discuss or advocate for reviving idiomatic historical improvisation; rather, I wish to examine how the theory of improvisation and interpretive performance support each other, and how learning improvisation can help fill gaps in the current classical training. Recently, there has been a growing awareness of the value of improvisation pedagogy which could compensate for the problems encountered in modern musical education; however, a concrete approach has yet to be established. My focus is on the pedagogical system called “partimento” and its modern application and adaptation. The partimento type of pedagogy was the standard procedure for learning music in the eighteenth century, but has only recently come to light as such. A more thorough investigation of partimento pedagogy reveals that musicians in the past, especially in the eighteenth century, learned music through a time-consuming but linear, logical, and efficient method, and everyone was destined to become the improviser-composer-performer as a reward for a fixed number of years of rigorous training. Currently, research on partimento is underway in a few North American universities and European conservatories that possess advanced music students; however, to date only a few texts targeting ordinary keyboard learners are available. In this project, I intend to create a sample curriculum for an undergraduate keyboard-skills class based on the integration of partimento pedagogy, and create a modern guide to partimento and classical improvisation for independent amateur learners. Then, I will use select organ compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach as case studies through which to demonstrate the effectiveness of musical analysis based on partimento pedagogy from a performer’s perspective

    Leonardo Leo, compositore del suo tempo

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    Personalità di spicco nel panorama produttivo del primo Settecento, Leonardo Leo è oggi tra i compositori più noti della sua generazione eppure tra i meno conosciuti. Attraverso una ricerca monografica sull’artista si intende operare una rilettura storica e una ri-contestualizzazione del personaggio, qui considerato come case study per un’indagine sui meccanismi di produzione e fruizione musicale nella Napoli del XVIII Secolo
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