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In this exercise on first species counterpoint, the top melody is the cantus firmus and the bottom one my counterpoint.

I am not a musician and just learned the rules. This is the second exercise from this website. The annotation "battuta" was generated by Sibelius' review plug-in for checking first species counterpoint.

The following is my question, that probably comes from me misunderstanding the rules.

Question: How to avoid battuta for this cantus firmus?

Here is what I thought. The cantus firmus ends in D. So, I end the counterpoint on D an 8ve lower. (I am not sure if there are other options. Perhaps unison?) The cantus firmus approaches the last note from above. If I put the counterpoint melody to approach the last note from above, we would have a similar motion landing on an 8ve. I think this would give a hidden 8ve.

Counterpoint exercise. C.F. = (all pitches in octave 3) D F E D G F A G F E D

Edit: Yes, in this linked question there is the definition of battuta. This is, an 8ve approached by contrary motion from outside, from a larger interval. This is the reason why I don't know how to avoid it in this exercise. To avoid it, my counterpoint melody would have to arrive to D from above, but then we get to an 8ve from similar motion, which is hidden 8ve.

So, I must be wrong in thinking that I cannot transgress one of these rules:

  1. battuta
  2. hidden 8ve
  3. End with an 8ve or unison.

Edit: I will try something like ending with CBAAD. However, I think that using exactly this ending would produce successive jumps E3, A3, C4 in measures 5 to 7.

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  • Welcome! Wow, I'm learning something new today. I think this ought to clear it up; if not, please edit this question to talk about what that one leaves unclear. Feb 22, 2022 at 14:20
  • Note, Sibelius might be misapplying the term. I'm seeing some differing definitions, but most involve one of the voices moving by leap while one moves stepwise. Feb 22, 2022 at 14:25

2 Answers 2

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It's fine to end on a unison. Throughout these kinds of exercises, it's best practice to keep the two parts within an octave of each other (though a tenth is not out of the question), and ending on a unison is a standard option.

By making them an octave apart in this case, it's unavoidable that one runs into battuta, parallel octaves, or hidden octaves or fifths.

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Note that you have more than one choice in how to write such a counterpoint. Just try not to let the second voice get this low towards the end. E.g. after note 6 (A in the second voice you could do C B A A D.

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