The basso continuo group in early 18th-century Dutch string music
As part of my Master Violone at the Royal Conservatoire of Den Haag, I wrote a research paper on the use of double bass in the famous VI Concerti Armonici by Unico Wilhelm Van Wassenaer. The full paper has been published online at Research Catalogue and can be read through this link.
The VI Concerti Armonici by Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer seem to fall in between the usual styles and traditions. Therefore, it is not obvious whether one should double the bass line and, if one chooses this option, with which instrument(s).
My research involves a literature research into:
The performance practise of Van Wassenaer’s VI Concerti Armonici from the time it was written until the composer’s death, which is 1725 – 1766.
The use of double bass in instrumental music in the Netherlands during that time.
The use of double bass in music that ressembles or is related to the VI Concerti Armonici and that could possibly have inspired Unico van Wassenaer.
Based on my findings, I did experiments in order to find out what the musical result of my conclusions from the literature research would be. I decided to record excerpts with five different instrumentations for the basso continuo group that could all have been used between 1725 – 1766. The conclusions are based on the conclusions from the literature research and the experiments.
With my paper, I hope to contribute to the research that is being done on performance practice in the Netherlands of music from the 18th century. There is still a lot of work to be done in this field, especially about the variety of large bowed bass instruments and their playing techniques.