Urbino Musica Antica 2022

Giovanni Togni

/// Thorough bass

Period: 23th - 30th July

The course will be organized into two levels:
1. introductory
2. intermediate/advanced
Students may participate as auditor to the activities of the other level.

Giovanni Togni


Introductory level

Basic thorough-bass technique will be articulated in these points:

  • direction of the voices with numbers referring to the perfect chord, related inversions and, within the end of the course, to the seventh with related inversions;
  • short exercises of improvisation on simple basses;
  • use of different numbers of voices and expressive nuances, of simple level, in a stylistic context;
  • simple parts of sonatas for one or two continuo players;
  • historical approach to the origin of the “Rule of the octave” and stylistic implementation.

Intermediate/advanced level

  • direction of the voices related to chorals with intermediate/complex numbers;
  • chamber music;
  • basses without numbers (only advanced level);
  • provision of a bass to a given melody (only advanced level);
  • Sonatas for Basso solo of the XVII century (scores sent to the students);
  • transposition of basses of simple/medium difficulty.

Students may work on their own repertoire pieces or those for the chamber music courses in Urbino; XVII and XVIII century music scores will be provided to the participants.

During the course a short seminar will be held with a critical reading of the Regole per Sonare il cembalo sopra la parte del basso continuo (Bologna, Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica, P 140); the manuscript can be consulted digitally at the link http://www.bibliotecamusica.it/cmbm/viewschedatwbca.asp?path=/cmbm/images/ripro/gaspari/_P/P140/

Recommended methods and books

* all levels, ** intermediate/advanced level, *** only advanced level

  • Bourmayan & J. Frisch Méthode pour apprendere la pratique de la Basse Continue à l’usage des amateurs, ed. du Cornet *.
  • Erich Wolf Generalbassübungen, ed. Breiktopf 6620 *.
  • B. Christensen Fondamenti di prassi del basso continuo nel XVIII secolo, ed. Ut Orpheus *.
  • N. Pasquali Thorough-Bass made easy (fac-simile), Oxford University Press *.
  • O. Morris Figured Harmony at the Keyboard, part 2, Oxford University Press **
  • B. Marcello Sonate I e XII Op. 2*
  • F.A. Bonporti Sonate da Camera a Violino solo col basso continuo Op. 7*/**
  • Bernardo Pasquini Sonate per basso continuo. Si consiglia il vol. VI dell’Opera Omnia per tastiera (London, Bl Ms. Add. 31501, I) a cura di Edoardo Bellotti, ed. Il Levante **.
  • F. Couperin Concerts Royaux **/***; Les Nations**/***
  • G. F. Händel Sonate per flauto, oboe o violino Op. 1**
  • P. A. Locatelli Sonate a violino solo e basso Op. 8***.
  • J. S. Bach Triosonata in do minore BWV 1079 (Offerta Musicale) ***; Sonata in mi minore BWV 1034

The teacher

Giovanni Togni graduated with top marks in piano, harpsichord and choir direction further extending his musical knowledge with studies in composition and organ. His musical interests have been focused on early keyboards (harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano) since meeting his harpsichord teacher Laura Alvini.

He is the winner of the 1991 ECBO selections (harpsichord and organ continuo) in Paris, France, and of the 1993 National Harpsichord Competition in Bologna, Italy.

He performed as continuo player (at the harpsichord and organ) with many ensembles, such as Ensemble Concerto, Il Complesso Barocco, Accademia Bizantina, Ensemble Zefiro, Ensemble Aurora, the European Community Baroque Orchestra (ECBO), the RAI Orchestra in Rome, the Orchestra Mozart directed by Claudio Abbado. Furthermore, he had collaborations with opera theatres like the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and he performed in prestigious Italian and European early music and chamber music festivals, both as a soloist at the harpsichord and fortepiano and in chamber groups.

He has recorded for labels such as Glossa, Brilliant, “Amadeus”, Dynamic, Concerto, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, EMI-Virgin, Deutsche Grammophone (Archiv Produktion) and for the Radiotelevisione Italiana and other European broadcasters.

He has been engaged as lecturer, speaker and jury member, by several institutions like the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, European Harpsichord Competition (Bologna) and the International Early Music courses in Urbino (Fondazione Italiana per la Musica Antica). Since 2017 he is director of the International Early Music courses in Urbino.

He taught harpsichord and historical keyboards at the Cagliari and Milan Conservatoires. Currently he is professor for the same disciplines at the Conservatoire “G. Verdi” of Como.