con·​tin·​uo | \ kən-ˈtin-yə-ˌwō How to pronounce continuo (audio) , -ˈti-nə-\
plural continuos

Definition of continuo

: a bass part (as for a keyboard or stringed instrument) used especially in baroque ensemble music and consisting of a succession of bass notes with figures that indicate the required chords

called also figured bass, thoroughbass

Examples of continuo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The conductorless pit orchestra, anchored by an astute continuo section and concertmaster Robert Mealy, served the music with vigor. Globe Staff,, "With ‘Orlando generoso,’ a generous helping of baroque opera," 10 June 2019 No such problems informed the adroit playing of continuo cellist Kenneth Olsen. John Von Rhein,, "Avi Avital's brilliant debut highlights lively, engaging CSO program," 8 June 2018 Floral top note, high-altitude, but at the same time there’s the basso-continuo note of the forest floor. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "A Vintner’s Quest to Create a Truly American Wine," 14 May 2018 The chamber orchestra of strings and organ continuo gave fluent support to the singers, who delivered their solos with conspicuous feeling and blended beautifully in their duets. John Von Rhein,, "Youth and experience score separate victories, as Orlinski debuts and Pollini returns," 24 Apr. 2018 Set within the whole was a stylish continuo group consisting of Craig Trompeter, cello and viola da gamba; Michael Beattie, organ; and Daniel Swenberg, theorbo. John Von Rhein,, "Joan of Arc lives anew, reimagined in Amy Beth Kirsten's 'Savior'," 27 Mar. 2018 The Baroque guitar's continuo and the delicate accompaniment of Sorrell's harpsichord sounded right at home with the strings, which blended beautifully without losing their individual characters. Special To The Plain Dealer,, "Apollo's Fire heats up CIM in warm-up for Carnegie Hall debut (review)," 19 Mar. 2018 The range of hues the conductor drew from his period band was astonishing, as was the virtuosic flair Jory Vinikour brought to his taxing nonstop duties on harpsichord continuo. John Von Rhein,, "Delightful score, staging rescue Haymarket Opera's 'Ariane'," 1 Oct. 2017 Performing will be a chamber chorus drawn from the full choir, along with continuo ensemble. John Von Rhein,, "Recommended Chicago-area classical concerts," 5 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'continuo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of continuo

circa 1724, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for continuo

Italian, from continuo continuous, from Latin continuus

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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The first known use of continuo was circa 1724

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with continuo

Spanish Central: Translation of continuo Encyclopedia article about continuo

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