The OP for this question refers to a rule for second-species counterpoint which isn't mentioned in Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum. The answer confirms it, and adds yet another rule, referring to "strict Baroque counterpoint".

Is there a standard well-known resource (perhaps like R Strauss' extension to Berlioz's Orchestration) that the answerer may have been referring to, especially with regards to what is considered a "good melody"?

1 Answer 1


Fux was of course trying to model Palestrina's style. That's where all the rules come from, which is of course a little bit of reverse engineering, which means that different theorists have different interpretations of what is allowed, what constitutes common practice and so forth. Obviously, the rules are different in Lassus or Josquin des Prez, etc. Furthermore, the pedagogical side of things means that species counterpoint is helpful by dividing up a complex task of free composition into a few specific situations that cover most things you would encounter in the music of Palestrina.

Fux was a pioneer of this approach to teaching composition, but for my money, I like the book by Jeppesen as a much more accurate and approachable tutorial on Palestrina's style. Some people also like Gauldin's books.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.