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