III. Strict Four-Voice Composition, Partimenti, and Schemata

Galant Schemas – Template Scores

Schema Templates

Mark Gotham

These templates each provide a combination of schemas which can be thought of as prototype pieces, both to illustrate how they work, and as a template for scaffolding exercises in pastiche composition.

N.B. To be abundantly clear, these prototype pieces are not intended as ‘real music’! It takes a lot of fleshing out to get from these to anything worthwhile: that’s the exercise. Use these templates but bury them beneath layers of musical character and embellishment. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Rhythm: Try picking a single, characteristic rhythm to serve as the basis for your piece and use it often (but not exactly: see how many different ways you can adapt it);
  • Melody: Introduce embellishments, decorating some stepwise motions with turns, for instance, and filling in some large leaps;
  • Accompaniment: use one or more characteristic pattern for chordal accompaniments like the ‘Alberti Bass’;
  • Texture: particularly for longer pieces, vary the number of voices present, and the way they relate.


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Open Music Theory by Mark Gotham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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