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This is my exercise on 3part 2nd and 4th species fusion 16 century counterpoint.

Is consecutive 8’s on resolving the 7s in the weak beat against the rules ?

(At measure 5,6 between the soprano and alto, measure 8,9,10,11 between the soprano and alto.)

  • Besides the main question, one thing I can immediately tell is that the general prevalence of tonal clusters (ex. in the third bar, E in the bass, F in the alto, G in the treble) is not musically pleasing (neither is the B-Bb-C on the first beat of bar 5...).
    – AlexJ
    Apr 28, 2022 at 1:12
  • Thank you for the feedback. I forgot to write the flat on the bottom B at measure 5..But are they still bad when they're almost a octave away from another ? Apr 30, 2022 at 12:59
  • Well, the musical problems (beyond that of whether it sounds nice or not) and the difficulties it might create with voice leading (i.e. it makes a strong dissonance; the suspension must go downwards so it must end on the same note as one of the other voices: because of this, it might be more difficult keeping the other voices within the rules, ...) remain even if the voices are widely spaced. Outside of the traditional rules of species counterpoint; having a chord with both a third and it's suspension (the fourth) is not ideal either.
    – AlexJ
    Apr 30, 2022 at 13:14
  • It also leads to incomplete harmonies (in this case, you have what you say is a C first inversion chord, but there's no C in it: that obviously creates ambiguity, both on paper and when heard...) and to non-ideal doublings (for ex., you end up with a doubled third on the second beat of bar 5: something which is generally discouraged, for various reasons which I don't have to space to explain here)
    – AlexJ
    Apr 30, 2022 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


It is generally discouraged to repeat the same suspension too often (see a short summary here).

In this particular instance, if this involves perfect consonances (8ves and 5ths), Fux outright forbids it, giving the following example: enter image description here

A good rule to follow is to "treat suspensions in fourth species the same way you would treat their intervals of resolution in first species" (this elegant wording I quote from here). Fux says the same thing later in his own work, specifically in the context of three part counterpoint, that "the suspension is nothing but a delaying of the note following" and that "the nature of consonances is not changed by the suspensions, it remains the same". Of course, such rules can have exceptions, and Fux states how this kind of progression is less objectionable if it involves fifths and is in the lower voices (where it is less noticeable to the ear), but for a counterpoint class, sticking to the essentials seems a better idea.

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