Harmony by the Numbers – Principles of Thoroughbass Fluency
Thoroughbass was described by J. S. Bach as “the absolute foundation of music”, and the ability to play figured basses enhances sight-reading, transposing, and harmonization skills. Learn how the study of thoroughbass will enrich your understanding of harmony and develop your ability to perceive chord shapes and voice leading in your hands. We will survey teaching approaches and materials with the goal of developing this skill into a rich resource for creativity for the musician. And we will show how differences between historical practices and “modern” theory increase understanding of the connections among the mind, ear, and hand.
Dean Billmeyer is professor of organ, harpsichord, and music theory at the School of Music of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He has appeared more than two hundred times as organist, harpsichordist, and pianist with both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has more than thirty years of experience teaching figured bass. His numerous awards include prizes in the Dublin International Organ Festival Competitions in 1980 and 1988. As a collaborative performer, his recording credits include the only commercial recording of William Albright’s oratorio A Song to David, and three CDs with the Dale Warland Singers. In the past two seasons, he has given twelve organ concerts on four tours to Germany and Austria, and has lectured in Eisenach and Linz. In July 2014, he will lead masterclasses with Albrecht Koch in Saxony under the auspices of the German Silbermann Society.