On Tue, 24 Jul 2001, noel jones wrote:
> While working on one of the Bach Viola d'Gamba and Keyboard Sonatas, No.
> 3 in G Minor, I noticed that the first 8 measures in the first movement
> are figured until the melodic line appears in the treble clef for the
> keyboard. (reprint of the Bach-Gesellschaft)
> It made me wonder if at that time keyboard players were insulted when
> the composer wrote out the entire continuo part rather than just
> providing the figured bass and relying upon the taste and ability of the
> continuo keyboard person to realize it for him/herself?
I think continuo and obligato keyboard playing were recognized as being
different things. However, Bach was one of the most anal-retentive
composers in the baroqu era, the other being francois ouperin, and both of
them regularly insulted people by their exactitude. Bach was particularly
prone to writing such elaborate figures that they only could be realized
in one way--practically an oblgato part written out in figures. His
written-out ornaments are useful to us in the 20th century, but his
contemporaries were indeed insulted by his writing out ornaments rather
than relying on the taste and ability of players to ornament for
themseles, to borrow your own phrasing.