- Peter Williams
- and Christopher Kent
Most notably since c 1750, when London publishers began issuing Handel's oratorios in two-stave reductions for solo organ, the term has denoted an abbreviated arrangement of a work for whose original instrumentation the organ stands as substitute. The practice grew in the 19th century, initially through the publications of Vincent Novello, which included organ scores of Haydn's masses. Previously, the term had two more important usages: (i) an open score (very often in four parts) of a piece of organ music, particularly of a serious or contrapuntal nature, from Frescobaldi's ricercares to Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge; (ii) an open score of a vocal or instrumental work accompanied by the organ which reproduces the sung parts. Organ-basses of the 1590s, and hence figured basso continuo parts of the next decade, are as it were shorthand organ scores, indicating harmonies rather than exact parts, though these were considered the ideal realization (Viadana, ...