QUOTE(scotliz @ Dec 11 2011, 05:43 PM)
I don't do any of these things Tenor Viol. So is it actually a waste of my time learning it?
Rather few amateur keyboard players can realise figured bass at sight, though any professional specialising in the baroque will do so. Most modern editions will give you a full two staves of keyboard part, with the figures realised. However, it may be too sparse or, more likely, too full for the circumstances of the performance, so it can be useful to know what the figures are (curses on any publisher that leaves them out), so as to amend the part in conformity with the composer's requirements. Even worse, some published realisations contradict the figures, so must be corrected.
Right now, I am producing a set of parts for a work by J S Bach* from an edition that gives figured bass but no realisation, and I don't know at this stage who will be playing it, so my version has to have a realisation, especially in the bars where only the soloist and the continuo (organ and double bass in this piece) are playing.
* The solo cantata "Ich habe genug", which I am arranging as a concertino for oboe and bassoon (the latter replacing the singer).