The points of repose that the voice or the instruments have are called

the cadences, and these are determined by the movement of the bass.1




There exists three kinds of cadences, the semplice (simple), composta (compound), and the doppia (double)demonstrated in  Figure 3. As you can see, the cadenza semplice dominant has only one metrical unit; the cadenza composta has two metrical units on the dominant, creating 4-3 suspension on the V; and the cadenza doppia has four metrical units on the dominant, creating the following progression on the V: 

FIGURE 3 Classification of Cadences according to Fenaroli, taken from Giorgio Sanguinetti’s The Art of Partimento, 106.

To understand the principle of these cadenzas, it is good to practice them on their own, but it is also worthwhile to practice adding embellishments and diminutions to create variety and flexibility in one’s improvisations. Figure 4 shows a series of ways drawn up by Vincenzo Lavigna in which the cadenze semplice could expanded on melodically:


 FIGURE 4 Diminutions on cadenza semplice, example taken from Giorgio Sanguinetti’s The Art of Partimento, 45.

Below are examples of my own diminutions of various cadenze

EXAMPLE 1 My examples of a cadenza composta in major 







EXAMPLE 2  My example of a cadenza composta in minor





FIGURE 5 Exercises of cadenza semplice, composte, e doppie from Fenaroli’s Book 1 of

                  Partimento ossia Basso Numerato, 55-56.