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.

  • 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


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.


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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