Definition of ground bass in English:

ground bass


  • A short theme, usually in the bass, which is constantly repeated as the other parts of the music vary.

    • ‘The 4th Movement, marked ‘Largo’, is a passacaglia having a series of diverse variations over a ground bass.’
    • ‘The passacaglia, strictly speaking, pits variations over a ground bass, although most composers from Brahms on shift the bass material around to all the voices, which he does as well.’
    • ‘L' Arpeggiata's way of improvising on these ground basses and repeated harmonic patterns is deliciously entertaining.’
    • ‘He produced many fine sets of variations on popular melodies and ground basses as well as stylized dance music (especially pavans and galliards) and such abstract pieces as fantasias and preludes.’
    • ‘It may dawn on you (if you don't cheat and read the liner notes first) that it's also a passacaglia, a series of variations over a ground bass.’