I’m in the midst of trying to grasp counterpoint and I’m at a bit of a stand still in terms of my understanding of it. I want to be able to go beyond memorizing the rules and really understand the implications behind them and what makes “counterpoint” counterpoint, so I can use those principles in other music. I’ve got a pretty good grip on first species, but I want to make sure I have a good understanding of the principles before moving on to second species. Below is a summary of counterpoint how I understand it. Any feedback would be appreciated!
The ultimate goal is to create multiple melodies that are independent, but oriented towards the same goal. In order to do this we create stability on either end of both melodies and motion in the middle. The stability in the beginning and end comes from octaves, unsions and fifths which means we should avoid them in the middle because it would cause a stop of the motion we want.
While we don’t want stability in the middle, we also don’t want dissonance. If we were to use dissonant intervals like 2nds and 7ths, the two melodies would sound like they don’t belong together. However, if we were to use 5ths and octaves, they would sound too much like the same note, which is more like one melody than two independent melodies.
In terms of motion we want to use contrary motion as much as possible because when the notes move in different directions it further emphasizes their independence, while parallel motion would make the notes seem more similar.
Overall does this describe counterpoint well? Again, I’ve only studied first species.
A couple of other things that seem important are variance and contour. For example, things like repeated notes in melodies, repeated intervals etc. should be avoided as well as more than one leap. Why is this? What does repeating things and making too many leaps add to the music that we don’t want in counterpoint?