from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The representation of chords by figures placed under the base; figured bass; basso continuo; -- sometimes used as synonymous with harmony.
  • n. See Thorough bass.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, a figured bass, or basso continuo—that is, a bass voice-part written out in full throughout an entire piece, and accompanied by numerals which indicate stenographically the successive chords of the harmony.
  • n. A system of stenographic marks, especially numerals, thus used with a bass for the purpose of indicating the harmony.
  • n. The science or art of harmonic composition in general: so called because of the prevalence of such stenographic systems: a loose usage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a bass part written out in full and accompanied by numbers to indicate the chords to be played


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