a form of musical shorthand used during C17 and C18. The bass line was written out while the required chords were notated with numbers. The chords were then "realized" by the continuo players.
The Baroque system of adding figures to a bass line, indicating what harmonies are to be improvised on each beat.
Also called basso continuo, thorough bass or through bass. This is a stenographic means of indicating the accompanying part by the bass notes only, using figures to show the harmonies to be played above the bass line.