Chordal Continuo Realization on the Violoncello: A look at the practice of chordal accompaniment by cellists over the course of two centuries, with a focus on recitative accompaniment practices between 1774 and 1832 (2014)
Name: Eva Lymenstull
Main Subject: Baroque Cello Research Coach: Johannes Boer
Title of Research: Chordal Continuo Realization on the Violoncello: A look at the practice of chordal accompaniment by cellists over the course of two centuries, with a focus on recitative accompaniment practices between 1774 and 1832
What was the practice of chordal continuo realization by cellists in the eighteenth century? What historical precedence exists, in what musical contexts would the practice be used, and how does this realization sound when used in performance?
Summary of Results:
The cello was used as a continuo instrument from the earliest days of basso continuo through the early nineteenth century. In addition to the cello being used as a single-voice continuo instrument, evidence exists that some cellists realized their continuo lines, creating multi-voice chordal accompaniments. Accounts of performances in which cellists played chordal continuo realizations exist, though very sporadically, ranging from 1657 to 1834. Despite arguments from a number of scholars and performers that the use of chordal continuo realizations by cellists was widespread during the eighteenth century, there is insufficient evidence, much of which is highly circumstantial, that the practice was common before 1774. Several treatises were published between 1774 and 1834, however, that give clear and detailed instructions, including examples of execution, for the use of chordal continuo realizations on the cello in secco recitatives in opera. The use of this practice at that time sheds an interesting light on the role of the cello, the development of cello technique, and about the virtuosity required for this type of accompaniment. The presentation will include a discussion of the various sides of the debate over chordal continuo practices in the Baroque, live demonstrations by myself and colleagues of the chordal recitative techniques outlined in the treatises I have examined, and a power point presentation.
Cello, historical performance, Basso Continuo, opera