Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Question 1. I understand why in most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode (E-E) the one exception. Even though it is a minor mode the seventh step of the scale is NEVER raised. Why?

Question 2. What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? In other words, if I go from E-G which is a tenth apart, that is the E is in the bass and G is in the soprano and then move the E up to G by oblique motion does that constitute Battuta?

Question 3: Why in the Study of Counterpoint when Joseph (fig. 14 pg. 36) composes a countepoint in the bass to a cantus firmus in the natural mode of f is the fourth degree lowered (b flat instead of b)? The counterpoint in measures 4-5 goes from A-Bflat. How come the fourth isnt lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the b be natural because we are composing within the natural mode of f? Why does Fux go outside the natural mode?

Question 4: Why does Joseph let voices cross between counteproint and cantus firmus in fig. 14 on pg. 36? By doing so, he is ascending by an octave plus a third. Doesn't that violate the rule Fux laid out in the beginning about how ascensions should be in either minor sixths or octaves? Then the counterpoint comes back down again from E to A descending an octave and a fourth from measure seven to eight.

Thanks to anyone who is able to answer at least one of these questions.

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by Monica Cellio, NReilingh May 22 '13 at 16:53

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
This should possibly be split up into separate questions. –  American Luke May 22 '13 at 0:23
2  
I agree. These should be separate questions, as they are all answerable on their own--and the single questions will be much more approachable, which should get you more (and better) answers. –  NReilingh May 22 '13 at 2:46
1  
Chris, this is a temporary closure, please see my post on meta. –  NReilingh May 22 '13 at 16:55

1 Answer 1

Question 1. I understand why in most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode (E-E) the one exception. Even though it is a minor mode the seventh step of the scale is NEVER raised. Why?

This is an astute question, and I will preface my response by saying that it is speculatory at best as I do not know of any scholarly research done that is available to me to provide a qualitative, academic answer. That said, I believe this website offers thoughtful reasoning as to this occurrence.


Question 2. What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? In other words, if I go from E-G which is a tenth apart, that is the E is in the bass and G is in the soprano and then move the E up to G by oblique motion does that constitute Battuta?

Battuta translates to "beaten" in English. In counterpoint, it is when an octave is approached from the "outside -> in", that is from the interval of a tenth as opposed to a sixth. I would contend that approaching an octave through oblique motion would not necessarily be battuta, but infact would just be lazy counterpoint. Instead of skipping up to a "G" the lower voice could easily skip up to a "B" and continue consonance, rather than support a technically correct but otherwise erstwhile prematurely conceived octave cadence.


Question 3: Why in the Study of Counterpoint when Joseph (fig. 14 pg. 36) composes a countepoint in the bass to a cantus firmus in the natural mode of f is the fourth degree lowered (b flat instead of b)? The counterpoint in measures 4-5 goes from A-Bflat. How come the fourth isnt lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the b be natural because we are composing within the natural mode of f? Why does Fux go outside the natural mode?

The fourth degree was changed to "Bb" because if it were left as "B" natural, the resulting interval would be a tritone. This is not the case for any of the other modes - in all other modes, the relationship between the root and the fourth degree is a perfect-fourth. Therefore, such alteration is necessary for writing consistency across the modes. In this way, if the "Bb" were left as a natural, Fux technically would have been going "outside" the mode.


Question 4: Why does Joseph let voices cross between counteproint and cantus firmus in fig. 14 on pg. 36? By doing so, he is ascending by an octave plus a third. Doesn't that violate the rule Fux laid out in the beginning about how ascensions should be in either minor sixths or octaves? Then the counterpoint comes back down again from E to A descending an octave and a fourth from measure seven to eight.

  1. Quote from page 36: "Because otherwise I would have had to use direct motion up to this point, which would have resulted in less satisfactory voice leading." The unspoken suggestion here is that contrary motion is favored over direct or similar motion. In Fux's text, he does not differentiate between parallel or similar motion, instead calling any that moves in a similar motion "direct." Contrary motion is typically more interesting and this case facilitated easier voice leading for the notes that Joseph chose.
  2. I am not sure where you are getting your interval from. The largest interval in the counterpoint is the perfect-fourth from mm.7-8.
  3. Again, I am not sure how you are reading this. There are no skips larger than a perfect-fifth in either the counterpoint or the cantus firmus.

Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer
    
Take ,measure five for example –  Chris Olszewski May 22 '13 at 6:48
    
It says that the interval between the b flat and the d is a six which is only popssible if the copt. is above the cantus firmus –  Chris Olszewski May 22 '13 at 6:49
    
Moreover, the cpt. in from measure three goes above the cantus firmus, it leaps from f below middle c to a above middle c which is more than an octave –  Chris Olszewski May 22 '13 at 6:51
    
it comes back down in measure seven from a above middle c to e below middle c –  Chris Olszewski May 22 '13 at 6:52
    
joseph couldve left everything in thirds without leaping above the cantus firmus instead. I don't understand why he makes that leap it seems unstable –  Chris Olszewski May 22 '13 at 6:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.