[Pt. III Proj.1] – Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Figured Bass ~Exercise 3.3: Personal reflection of the exercises and your opinion of figured bass.
[Pt. III Proj.1] – Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Figured Bass ~Exercise 3.3: Personal reflection of the exercises and your opinion of figured bass. Write a personal reflection in your learning log of around 300 words about your experience of the exercises above and your opinion of figured bass in general. You may wish to consider points such as how easy you find realising figured bass, whether the technique appeals to you and why, and how it connects with other kinds of music making you are familiar with.
I found the figured bass exercises quite tricky and time consuming, but I also see the advantages of mastering this technique. It takes me a bit of figuring out every time I see the numbers and it is not second nature for me, hence it is a very slow process. The fact that it is still very much an intellectual exercise makes it a little counter intuitive in terms of playing/writing. But in the long term I can see it having advantages being used as a harmonic analysis tool. I am not practised enough to be able to utilise it in this way yet and I’m a million miles away from being able to improvise using thoroughbass, but I think it would be a very good way of improving musicianship and versatility in harmonising. They key here is practice, practice, practice and the exercises serve as a good starting point in this respect. In essence it is a shorthand for playing in a similar way to, for instance, chord charts in jazz music- where the choice of voicing is left up to the player. I think it affords greater freedom than sight reading and is very effective when playing with a band or an ensemble of a smaller size than an orchestra. The instrumentalists are allowed to contribute more of their individual choices and flavour to the overall sound of the composition. It is both creative and fun and strengthens the interdependency between the players. This is a good thing, since group music performance is by it’s nature very much a social activity. It also means that the same composition can be performed differently each time with variations in sound, brought about by voice spacing and voice leading alterations. This makes every performance an entirely new experience to an even greater extent than in a ‘sight-reading’ performance.