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I'm just copying my father

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Learning Continuo

First Published: 2019 January 26

Draft 1

I learned that for a class I am taking about historical improvisation, I need to learn continuo.1 As is to be expected, most of this is scarcely notated, with the assumption that it’ll be composed to fit the performer that day. Unfortunately, as I mentioned to the professor, keyboards and I are not friends.

So, I proposed that I could do continuo on the gothic harp, as I know how to play it.2 But, the gothic harp, as one might expect, is not a chromatic instrument. It has seven notes to an octave, which can be tuned. However, that’s really hard to do in the moment. Hypothetically, I could use my opposite hand to raise a note, but that’s apparently not allowed, as continuo playing needs both. This means that I’ll be learning continuo this semester.


  1. the bass part

  2. and because it’s fun to play