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 in the soprano,) and then move the "E" up to a "G" by oblique motion, would that constitute Battuta?

Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux

2 Answers 2


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 in fact 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.

Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux


I am gonna answer this 8 years old question, cuz I want to make this concept more clear to others and myself, I am learning counterpoint.

Battuta means 'beaten', there are ottava battuta (beaten octave) and quinta battuta(beaten fifths).

Battuta happens when:

  1. In contrary motion

If we are not in contrary motion, octaves and fifths are forbidden, the question is end with no more concerns. Except in oblique motion.

  1. It happens between a disjunct soprano voice and a stepwise lower voice

Upper voice is more exposed. Leaps in upper voice is more emphasized.

  1. Progressing from weak beat to strong beat(The interval is on strong beat).

When the 3 conditions are meet, we can't use this octave, it is called ottava battuta. Same for the fifths, some theorists allow to use beaten fifths, some not.

For your example, it is not beaten octave, since there are no beats at all.

Here is a picture from "Counterpoint in composition"

enter image description here

This type of perfect intervals is too strong, it obstructs the progression, so ottava battuta is forbidden.

  • Shouldn't it read "we can use the octave" after digit 3?
    – guidot
    Jan 15, 2022 at 21:55
  • @guidot no, ottava battuta is forbidden, it is a special octave in contrary motion.
    – sfy
    Feb 12, 2022 at 15:49

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