| Share
 

ground bass

ground bass, melodic phrase used repeatedly as a bass line. In its earlier form, developed in the 13th and 14th cent., the ground or basso ostinato [Ital., = obstinate] never varied in harmonization or pitch. The tenor, or pes, of Sumer Is Icumen In is such a ground. Another sort was developed during the 17th cent. by Purcell and his contemporaries. This ground was not rigid as to pitch, sometimes moving from bass to soprano. It was composed with varying melodies and harmonies in the upper parts. The result was often a series of variations as in the baroque chaconne and passacaglia. The device often has great dramatic effect. J. S. Bach and Handel made remarkable use of it.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on ground bass from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring