Continuo playing was an art practiced by players of chordal instruments throughout Europe for roughly two centuries starting around 1600. The instruments used varied from keyboard (organ and harpsichord) to plucked (theorbo, lute, guitar, and harp) and bowed strings (lirone, bass viol, and violoncello). The essence of the practice was a vocal or instrumental line (or lines) over a bass line, with or without figures (which indicated the intervals above the bass line to be played by the accompanist). In short, the accompaniment was almost entirely improvised.
The program features songs by Giulio Caccini and Henry Purcell, among others, as well as instrumental solos by Domenico Gabrielli and Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger.