Counterpoint & Partimento: Methods of Teaching Composition in Late Eighteenth-Century Naples

Studia Musicologica Upsalensia No. 25


By: Peter van Tour
June 2015
Uppsala University
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9789155491970
318 Pages, Illustrated
$82.50 Paper original


During the second half of the eighteenth century the city of Naples had three music conservatories: the Conservatorio di Santa Maria della Pietra de Turchini. Through disciplines such as solfeggio, partimento, and counterpoint, the students at these institutions received highly professional training in singing, instrumental playing and composition.

This study reveals new evidence that partimenti were used not only as exercises in keyboard playing, but also as exercises in written counterpoint; as counterpoint exercises, partimenti were used either as bass lines over which students wrote one or several contraptuntal parts, or as nontational devices that facilitated the sketching of figures.