[Smt-talk] Figured bass query - Bach/Schemelli no. 5.

Paul Lombardi lombardi at unm.edu
Fri Nov 11 14:38:22 PST 2011

The slash to raise the pitch by a semitone typically goes through 
whatever sticks out of the numeral, such as a vertical slash through the 
right end of the horizontal bar on 4, or in this case, through the arm 
on the 6. In the score you attached, the F should be sharped.

Although, the direction of the slash (i.e., upper-left to lower-right, 
and lower-left to upper-right) was sometimes used to indicate whether to 
raise or lower the pitch. Mary Farbood made a helpful handout that lists 
all known figured-bass alterations.


Paul Lombardi, Ph.D.
Lecturer III
Department of Music
University of New Mexico

On 11/11/2011 3:16 AM, יוסי גולדנברג Yosef Goldenberg wrote:
> Dear all
> I wish to find out whether the attached realization is correct. The 5
> and 6 numbers are signed with diagonal lines in opposite directions. I
> received conflicting comments, endorsing e-f, e-f sharp or e flat – f
> sharp. Do the opposite directions imply opposite chromatic inflections,
> or do both represent sharpenings?
> Thanks
> Yossi Goldenberg
> The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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