Friday, March 31, 2017

Music in the Galant Style

I'm currently reading this book, and it is a real eye opener. I'm not much of a fan of the more obscure galant style composers, as the music sounds so much the same. I have similar problems with Haydn and Mozart. Well, it turns out there's a reason for that, and that's the fact that they used a set of formulas called partimentos, which are figured bass patterns. The cleverness came in how they ornamented and realized these patterns (I would call those patterns harmonic continuities, of course). The patterns were either opening gambits, or following reposts (What I would call A section and B section material, respectively, or antecedent/consequent phrases), and they were followed by an equally high number of different clausulae (Cadences). So, it was a mix-and-match process, which also explains how those composers were so prolific: The music was highly standardized.

I highly recommend this book for any student of composition, and some of these patterns are amenable to modernization, so I'm going to use them. His exhaustive description of galant style musical punctuation is also first rate. The best I've ever encountered.