Gaetano Stella

Partimenti in Today’ Schools of Music. An Experiment in Integration of Theory and Music Pedagogy

Partimenti were a pedagogical tool for teaching composition and music theory trough practical exercises at the keyboard. Generations of Italian composers, singers and players learned music in 18th and 19th century this way achieving the full mastery of their profession, fame, and success. My proposal aims to present the results of an experimental course in the basics of partimento that is currently taking place at the Frosinone Conservatory inItaly. The course is addressed to a selected number of undergraduate students in Music Pedagogy and to some private ‘amateur’ students. The traditional syllabus of topics in the didactics of partimento (to quote the main steps: cadences and rule of the octave, suspensions, modulations, imitations and fugue) serves as a point of reference. An ‘action plan’ has been set up in which were decided weekly, mid-term and final goals. According to the Neapolitan didactics, all these elements are constantly checked, ‘tailored’ and adapted to the different skills of the students. The lessons are as cooperative as possible with mutual help, discussions and suggestions using, mainly, the exercises of Francesco Durante and Fedele Fenaroli and the book of Giorgio Sanguinetti devoted to this topic as a text book. As many scholars in didactics have pointed out in the last decades (moreover in the didactics of languages), the traditional sequence theory-practice can be successfully reversed reproducing, in music too, the same process of the maternal language learning.