- Series: Oxford Early Music Series
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; UK ed. edition (May 17, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198167296
- ISBN-13: 978-0198167297
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.8 x 7.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,715,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Langloz Manuscript: Fugal Improvisation through Figured Bass (Oxford Early Music Series) UK ed. Edition
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"If one of your goals is to learn to improvise fugues in the common-practice-period idiom, this book could well be the one to get you started. Renwick's editorial work and scholarship are meticulous."--The Diapason
"William Renwick has edited these pieces as scrupulously as one could wish, and supplied them with very sensible commentary."--Music & Letters
About the Author
William Renwick is at McMaster University, Ontario.
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What I love about these exercises is the way it helps one think contrapuntally in the context of figured bass. In modern music theory, we tend to separate the concepts of figured bass (vertical) and counterpoint (horizontal); this approach forces you to think of counterpoint less in terms of stacked individual voices (as in species counterpoint exercises) and more in terms of "decorated" chord progressions, which was life-changing for me. This is my first encounter with partimenti fugue, but shortly after I discovered very similar pieces in the misattributed-to-Bach "Precepts and Principles" as well as a handful at the end of Handel's Princess Anne lessons in figured bass.
It's a shame this method isn't more popular in Conservatories, or even among music enthusiasts, these days. It's a wonderful preparatory method for anyone interested in pursuing one of the most sophisticated forms of musical improvisation. The fugues are short (approx. 30-40 bars each), which makes them very digestible. The scholarly work by Renwick is meticulous - his writing in the chapters leading up to the exercises, as well as the comments under each piece, are extremely insightful. Though I am a fan of the outmoded C-clefs, Renwick gracefully converted everything to modern (treble/bass clef) notation, making it more approachable.
Warning: no index of suggested realizations (except a handful in the first few chapters), so make sure you're quite proficient at realizing figured bass before working from these. The Handel exercises from the same publisher is a good start (those do contain realizations). I didn't detract from the rating for the ridiculous price, since I it can't be helped; but I guarantee that a thorough working-out of the Langloz manuscript will make you a better musician.