Dissertation Index

Author: Murphy, Paul T.

Title: The Thoroughbass Theory of Jose de Torres y Martinez Bravo with an Annotated Translation of Reglas Generales (1736)

Institution: The University of Texas at Austin

Begun: June 1993

Completed: May 1995


Reglas generales is the first printed work in Spain to deal specifically and completely with thoroughbass accompaniment at the keyboard. Whereas most Spanish theorists of the period devote chapters, sections, and entire books to the art of counterpoint, Jose de Torres (c. 1670-1738) avoids the subject altogether; significantly, the term "counterpoint" appears nowhere in Reglas. Torres's focus on harmony, however, does not include a demonstrable interest in a theory of harmony or harmonic progression; instead, he provides a practical approach to creating harmonies according to the melodic movements of an unfigured bass. In this regard, Torres can be considered to be among the most modern of the early the eighteenth-century theorists of Spain, and can also be included in the larger body of European "thoroughbass theorists" of the first half of the eighteenth century. As a response to the lacuna in scholarship on Torres's thoroughbass theory, this dissertation deals specifically with the content of Torres's Reglas from the perspective of the music theorist. Torres's work is treated both in the context of early eighteenth-century Spanish music theory, and contemporary thoroughbass theory and practice of Italy, France, and Germany. In addition to the English translation of Reglas, which constitutes volume II of the dissertation, the appendices to volume I contain a transcription of Torres's setting of the Marian Antiphon "Salve, Regina" for four voices and "acompanamiento," and a realization of Torres's bass to the hymn verse "Tantum ergo," with the text set for solo soprano.

Keywords: Torres, thoroughbass, accompaniment, keyboard, harp, Baroque, Spain, tone, temperament, printing


Vol. I: Analysis and Commentary
Ch. 1: A Biographical Sketch of Jose de Torres y Martinez Bravo
Ch. 2: Preparatory Instruction
Ch. 3: The Realization of Unfigured Basses with Consonant Chords
Ch. 4: The Control of Dissonance
Ch. 5: Practical Applications of Thoroughbass Accompaniment
Ch. 6: Thoroughbass Accompaniment in the Italian Style
Appendices: 1) "Salve, Regina" a 4 with Acompanamiento
2) "Tantum ergo," for solo Soprano with Acompanamiento
Vol. II: An Annotated English Translation of Reglas Generales
"General rules for accompanying on the organ, harpsichord, and harp by
knowing only the part, or a bass in canto figurado"
Prefatory Pages
First Tratado
Second Tratado
Third Tratado
Fourth Tratado
Table of Contents


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