Definition of figured bass in English:

figured bass


  • A bass line with the intended harmonies indicated by figures rather than written out as chords, typical of continuo parts in baroque music.

    • ‘So actually, beyond Bach, what was the ground bass, or the figured bass, actually evolves, and takes on new forms in later forms of composition.’
    • ‘Schenkerian graphs also typically contain analytical markings such as Roman numerals for the harmony, scale-degree numbers and occasionally figured bass and analysis brackets.’
    • ‘Dr Sawkins added a figured bass line. He made 1,139 corrections and additions to the notation necessary to make the music playable;’
    • ‘Otherwise, composing instruction in the mid-19th century seems to have stuck stubbornly to a mixture of figured bass and so-called strict counterpoint.’
    • ‘The Sabilla Novello volume mentioned earlier gives a pretty comprehensive grounding in figured bass.’


figured bass