TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Figured Bass - a Brief Checklist
(the final stage of the Method for Realising Figured Bass)


  • Check the figures are realised correctly (!)
  • Check accidentals
  • The left hand (on the bass stave) should only play the bass line, with all other notes in the right hand (on the treble stave)
  • The treble stave should be playable with one hand (!)

Voice-leading and Texture

  • Check that suspensions and sevenths are properly prepared and resolved
  • Check that doublings are correct
  • Check for parallel octaves and fifths
  • Progression between parts should mostly be as smooth as possible (leaps should be a deliberate motivic effect)

Stylistic Considerations

  • The writing should be appropriate for the tempo marking
  • Sequences should be realised sequentially!
  • Texture can be varied from one phrase to the next
  • The rhythmic and the melodic relationship of the treble stave to the solo line should be varied and should always feel like an independent part
  • Check for ‘rhythmic holes’

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TonalityGUIDE - Tonal Harmony and Voiceleading - Table of Contents