Definition of continuo in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtinyəˌwō/
(also basso continuo)

noun (plural continuos)

(In baroque music) an accompanying part that includes a bass line and harmonies, typically played on a keyboard instrument and with other instruments such as cello or bass viol.
Example sentences
  • The 17th and 18th-century trio sonata was a favourite chamber ensemble, using two treble instruments and one bass, with a keyboard or lute continuo to fill in the harmony.
  • Upshaw sings the first five Purcell songs with cello and keyboard continuo, turns her attention to the Bach cantata (with the addition four strings and an oboe), and then returns to Purcell for the last three songs.
  • However, I did find that the imbalance between the rather heavy cello/bass continuo line and the two soloists tended to obscure the more refined solo details, especially during the quieter moments.


Early 18th century: Italian basso continuo 'continuous bass'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·tin·u·o

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