The Significance of the Preludes with Figured Bass in F-Pn Vm8 1139 for Keyboard Pedagogy in Early Eighteenth-Century France

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Modern research on French continuo practices has heavily relied on published sources, such as Jean Henry D’Anglebert’s Principes de l’accompagnement (Paris, 1689), Denis Delair’s Traité d’accompagnement pour le théorbe et la clavessin… (Paris, 1690), and Michel de Saint Lambert’s Nouveau traité de l’accompagnement du clavecin (Paris, 1707). The continuo treatise in the manuscript Bibliothèque nationale de France, Vm8 1139, associated with the name of St. Georges, has escaped modern scrutiny until recently (Churchill, 2006). The manuscript was first known in modern scholarship in connection with original harpsichord pieces by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century composers, including Hardel, Louis Couperin, François Couperin and Jean-François Dandrieu, as well as arrangements of Lully’s stage music. However, the source also contains a comprehensive figured bass method at the beginning (ff. 1r-31r), including 14 preludes for figured bass that conclude this method. Although Mr. St. Georges remains unidentified, the manuscript is closely linked to Dandrieu’s Principes de l’accompagnement du clavecin (Paris, 1719), and was most likely copied during the two decades of the eighteenth-century. Following Churchill’s first detailed study of this obscure treatise, this paper transcribes for the first time in modern history 14 preludes for figured bass, and provides a possible realization based on the preceding method, the Regles pour l’Acompagem[ent]. Interestingly, the 14 preludes cover all tonalities in practical use, from C major to B minor, and a range of genres, including the overture, the menuet and the gavotte. By transcribing these preludes into modern notation, and providing a plausible realization based on the method, this study assesses and evaluates what these preludes add to our understanding of French keyboard pedagogy in early eighteenth-century. The detailed chord spellings reveal details of voice-leadings, and the harmonic contexts of dissonances and other aspects of French harmonic practice of the time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFigured Bass Accompaniment in Europe
EditorsLivio Ticli
Place of PublicationTurnhot
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9782503608518
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Music


Dive into the research topics of 'The Significance of the Preludes with Figured Bass in F-Pn Vm8 1139 for Keyboard Pedagogy in Early Eighteenth-Century France'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this