Partimenti, or instructional basses, were central to the training of European court musicians from the later 1600s until the end of the 1800s. They had their greatest influence first in Italian conservatories, especially at Naples, and then later at the Paris Conservatory, where the principles of the “Italian school” continued to be taught far into the twentieth century. Because learning the Italian style of music was a priority for almost any eighteenth-century musician, many well-known non-Italian composers, including Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart, also studied or taught partimenti.
– Robert Gjerdingen (Prof. Emeritus, Northwestern University)
More information can be found at partimenti.org.