Questions relating to the uses, history, types, or analysis of counterpoint.

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28
votes
11answers
12k views

How is counterpoint different from harmony?

Harmony is a kind of second sound you hear. Counterpoint is also the second sound you hear. Aside from technical differentiation, how can you by ear differentiate these two concepts. Is it possible ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there any real difference between Counterpoint and Polyphony?

From what I understand, they both kind of refer to the same thing. Why the need for 2 terms?
10
votes
2answers
171 views

Are augmented fourth allowed in second species counterpoint?

I'm trying to learn counterpoint with the help of the Gradus. I think I've made many mistakes but I'm not sure if they're allowed or not. At bar 62 (upbeat) you may se an augmented fourth, used as ...
10
votes
2answers
193 views

Why does Fux use F# in his counterpoint to a firmus written in G mixolydian

In the given image below, Fux writes a counterpoint to a cantus firmus given to him as part of his studies by his fictitious teacher Aloysious. A rule that is often emphasised is that one should ...
9
votes
3answers
588 views

Online counterpoint materials

For a long time I've wanted to teach myself counterpoint, but haven't been able to find any materials online. Are there any hidden tutorials anyone knows of, or good books written in English in the ...
9
votes
3answers
445 views

Raised leading tones in Phrygian mode counterpoint

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
269 views

Are minor sevenths allowed in baroque counterpoint?

Are minor sevenths allowed in baroque counterpoint? I ask because in the first measure of Bach's Invention No. 1 the upper voice and lower voice have an interval of a minor seventh (the upper voice ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

Why in the study of counterpoint by johan fux are minor sixths allowed but not augmented fifth?

If augmented fifths and minor sixths are enharmonically equivalent why does johan fux in his book study of counterpoint allow minor sixths but not augmented fifths if they sound the same? How does one ...
8
votes
2answers
135 views

Intended tempo of exercises in Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum

Fux uses whole notes for the cantus firmi in his book, so do others influenced by his work. But I find them almost unbearably slow within the usual tempo ranges. I know that there must have been a ...
8
votes
4answers
285 views

Resources for “popular” counterpoint?

Basic "About Me:" I was a music and actuarial science double major, dropped the music major, and am now working as an actuarial educator full-time. I'd like to get back to composing. The biggest ...
7
votes
4answers
555 views

Simple explanation of counterpoint?

Wikipedia defines counterpoint like this: In music, counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are interdependent harmonically (polyphony) yet independent in rhythm and contour. What ...
7
votes
4answers
384 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
7
votes
3answers
923 views

Is there some trick for counterpoint beyond 2 voices?

I really suck at chord harmony, so whenever I compose, I tend to use counterpoint a lot. Counterpoint is somewhat easy when you just have two voices. Because I just compose for fun, I generally do ...
7
votes
1answer
327 views

Parallel Fifths in Pachelbel's Canon in D?

The other day, I was watching a scrolling score of Pachelbel's (in)famous Canon in D on Youtube, when I noticed something interesting. In the excerpt below, shouldn't the the circled notes in the 1st ...
7
votes
2answers
355 views

Accidentals in First Species Counterpoint

On page 39 of Alfred Mann's The Study of Counterpoint there is a passage concerning justification of using accidentals in first species counterpoint. Here is the passage: Aloys: [...]but why did ...
6
votes
4answers
650 views

What is the definition of counterpoint?

We see the concept of counterpoint in many contexts, from classical music composition to jazz improvisation. What is the definition of counterpoint?
6
votes
1answer
107 views

Fux counterpoint: why is it in the modal system?

Assuming Fux's counterpoint was written in 1752, why are there some references to the modal system and none to tonality? I mean... 1752 is way beyond the end of modality! Composers already had the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint?

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint? Is sixteenth century counterpoint melody or modal based (as this answer suggests) and eighteenth ...
5
votes
2answers
133 views

Are these parallel octaves?

I am writing a chorale in C flat major and I currently have a 3 chord going to a I6 chord. Stacked, the chords are EGEB to EGEC. Is this considered parallel octaves? HELP.
4
votes
2answers
90 views

Dissonances and harmony

When I listen to Bach, Handel or Vivaldi (especially Baroque composers) every single note seems to fit there perfectly I mean pretty consonant to their location. As I was trying to learn tonal ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Are same interval leaps consented in second species counterpoint?

I've been told that, in second species counterpoint, presenting the same interval in 2 consecutive bars is an error. What then if the intervals skips in opposite directions? Like this: Is this ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Diatonic Function of Accidentals in Counterpoint

Why is it in counterpoint that the fourth degree of natural mode "F" lowered to "Bb" instead of remaining as "B"? Why isn't the fourth degree lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the "B" ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

At what point does one use fugue in the Gloria of the Mass Ordinary?

In setting the Mass Ordinary, what are the words that should be set in a fugue? "Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris" or just "in gloria Dei Patris"? That's to say, is the entire Cum Sancto ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Older Hexachordal Systems referred to in The Study of Counterpoint

What are the hexachordal systems discussed in The Study of Counterpoint? I would like an explanation of them and how they relate to the modal first species exercises written out by Joseph. The ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Omitting the 5th in four part counterpoint

When writing four part counterpoint in context of the common practice period it is common to omit the 5th of a chord when in a jam. Is it always ok to omit the 5th and are there times when the 5th of ...
3
votes
3answers
133 views

Counterpoint without a leading tone?

In minuet in A minor by Johann Krieger, it doesn't have a major 7th going to the octave, but it has the fifth going to the tonic and the tonic playing an octave above on both notes. Is this a common ...
3
votes
1answer
363 views

Beginning counterpoint above or below a cantus firmus

I have more questions on the Study of Counterpoint: Must the cantus firmus always start on the tonic? If the cantus firmus is in the bass then can the counterpoint start with something other than a ...
3
votes
1answer
412 views

Can modal counterpoint be studied without studying harmony? Where to start?

I have a background 1 year of harmony study and I'm now taking a non-western modal approach to music (trough Indian Classical Music, which is mainly monophonic and have no concept of harmony). I have ...
3
votes
3answers
90 views

1st Species Counterpoint Tritone Reached Melodically by Step

I'm reading Alfred Mann's translation of Fux's Gradus (original available here). On page 35, footnote 9 (presumably Alfred Mann, certainly not the original author) says "The tritone is to be avoided ...
3
votes
4answers
239 views

Are counterpoint and harmony mutually exclusive?

I understand that harmony and counterpoint are more tools than set of rules to follow, the first works vertically, enhancing a single melody line, while the other combines multiple melody lines in a ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

leaps: small vs. large (learning counterpoint)

I'm reading Harmony in Context by Roig-Francoli as a first theory text to teach myself composition. In his Introduction to Species Counterpoint chapter, he mentions that the melody should consist of ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

A synthetic modulation is described as?

The same synthetic scale is moved from one tonal centre to another A change of synthetic scale whilst the tonal centre remains the same Two or more synthetic scales on the same tonal centre The same ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

Counterpoint midi collection

I want to extract characteristics from counterpoint music for research purposes. Therefore I need a collection of midi (or musicxml or krn) files. I am aware of the kernscore database, this website, ...
2
votes
1answer
615 views

Meaning of “Battuta” in Counterpoint

What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? For example, in treble clef, if going from "E-G" (major-tenth - that is, the "E" is in the bass and the "G" is ...
1
vote
3answers
258 views

Why do I need to learn counterpoint if I know harmony?

When I search for differences between harmony and counterpoint I usually read that in the end there's harmony in counterpoint. Can't I learn just harmony and get the same results ?
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Is Sigur Ros Hoppipolla a counterpoint [closed]

What is the reason Hoppipolla is so special. Is it a counterpoint or counterpoint-like? Can it compare to pachelbel canon? By searching for counterpoint-like music, but no result as good as ...
1
vote
2answers
258 views

Voice-crossing in First Species Counterpoint

In two-part counterpoint, is it okay for the counterpoint and cantus firmus voices to cross? Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux
1
vote
0answers
43 views

Confusing passage from The Study of Counterpoint [duplicate]

Here is the passage: Joseph: I wanted to write a sixth here. But when I studied singing, I learned that fa leads down and mi leads up. Since the progression moves upward from the sixth into a third I ...