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Suspensions, passing-notes and changing-notes greatly enhance the melodiousness of the voices; the simplest chord--succession can, by means of these three attributes of voice-leading, be exalted to a high pitch of artistic and technical perfection. Nowhere is this perfection so thoroughly attained as in so-called strict part-writing. He who can skillfully handle the scanty material, to which this mode of writing is restricted, may well consider himself a master of harmonization.

I excerpted some phrases from a book named "Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony" Written by Tchaikovsky. What is strict part writing? Does it means the combination of the most fundamental elements? and Why did Tchaikovsky say "He who can skillfully handle the scanty material, to which this mode of writing is restricted, may well consider himself a master of harmonization." ?

Reference book:https://www.musikipedia.dk/dokumenter/ovelser/generalbas-bog.pdf

  • You may find more information by googling "strict counterpoint." Looking at the context of your excerpt, I'd say that this is what Tchaikovsky is referring to. Look up also Johann Fux and Gradus ad Parnassum. – BobRodes Jan 4 '18 at 1:11
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I think that this refers to when you write for say 4 voices, and you obey all the rules required in traditional part writing (no consecutive 5ths or octaves, good spacing, no doubling of the 3rd, etc.) and yet you manage to come up with something interesting and musical. This is easier said than done, and I guess that is what Tchaikovsky was referring to. A great example of such a master is Palestrina.

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