Department/School of the Primary Author
Music and Worship
Partimento, Enlightenment, music, music theory, music history, Naples, Italy, France
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.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
DigitalCommons@Cedarville provides a publication platform for fully open access journals, which means that all articles are available on the Internet to all users immediately upon publication. However, the opinions and sentiments expressed by the authors of articles published in our journals do not necessarily indicate the endorsement or reflect the views of DigitalCommons@Cedarville, the Centennial Library, or Cedarville University and its employees. The authors are solely responsible for the content of their work. Please address questions to email@example.com.
"The Partimento Tradition in the Shadow of Enlightenment Thought,"
Channels: Where Disciplines Meet: Vol. 1
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/channels/vol1/iss2/3