Questions tagged [counterpoint]

Questions relating to the uses, history, types, or analysis of counterpoint.

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Rules for building cantus firmus in Fux

I am currently working through "Gradus ad Parnassum" in its english translation (Alfred Mann). In chapter One "Note against Note" (p. 27) I encounter "Principles for the forming of the melodies are ...
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75 views

How to turn Beethoven's fifth into a fugue?

I am composing a Theme and Variations based on the first theme of Beethoven's fifth. And one of the variations that I plan on doing is a fugal variation. I decided to write the fugal variation first, ...
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70 views

How to diffrentiate countermelody from arpeggiated accompaniament?

I wonder what would be main difference between arpeggiated accompaniament and counter melody. Could it be the rule that if it's an arpeggiated accompaniament then it would be more repetitive (because ...
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Is counterpoint still used today?

I was wondering if counterpoint is still used today or was it something that was just used by Bach? Does modern music like pop songs use it?
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Will this help me avoid parallel octaves in future fugue attempts?

So, I wrote a canon before I was even thinking about writing a fugue and I found it to be trivially easy. But then again, I did take the Pachelbel approach, decide on a bass line and then make ...
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1answer
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How exactly is climax defined?

I am learning rules of counterpoints using this source. One of the rules there states: The CF must have a unique culmination (climax). I would like to be sure that I understand climax properly. ...
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What can be “two horizontal intervals of equal distance and discordant” on diatonic scale?

I keep reading this set of rules for counterpoint. The rule number G5 states: If there are two horizontal intervals of equal distance and discordant, the next interval must differ. I try to ...
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4answers
761 views

Is one octave above tonic also considered as tonic?

I try to learn rules of counterpoint. Yesterday I got this nice source of rules. The second rule there states: The 7th degree must resolve to the tonic, or it can descend stepwise if the ...
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1answer
90 views

Should we avoid two consecutive leaps forming triads in cantus firmus?

Currently I am reading this set of rules used for creation of cantus firmus. The rule VII.E states: Avoid two consecutive leaps forming triads Is this rule correct? I am in doubt since I thought ...
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What is “leading note” and what does it mean to “raise a note”?

I try to learn rules of how basic melody ("Cantus Firmus") should be built. At the moment I read this document. The second rule there is: The penultimate note should go to the final in a stepwise ...
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138 views

Irregular resolution [closed]

What are the primary conditions concerning the IRREGULAR resolutions of the following harmonies in common practice music?: -Dominant chords -Auxiliary Seventh chords (chords of sequence) -...
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1answer
42 views

Do parts need to overlap in order to be considered as imitation?

I understand that imitation is repetition within a polyphonic texture...so my understanding is that for example, when the trumpet part repeats the string part at 0:21 in this piece by Handel ( ...
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Kinetic Rhythm in Pop Music

This is something I've noticed that I don't hear anyone really talking about... Essentially it's the way that separate rhythmic elements of most pop songs interact in a kinetic way with one another. ...
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Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor breaks the “no parallel octaves” rule?

I notice in his BWV 565, more well known as Toccata and Fugue in D minor, what looks like a lot of parallel octaves in the fugue. I have studied counterpoint before and every counterpoint resource I ...
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Would the melodic leap of the opening phrase of Mozart's K545 be considered dissonant?

The Complete Musician by Steven Laitz states that melodic intervals larger than a fifth are considered dissonant and should be avoided. It also states that two leaps of a third are fine, provided you ...
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How to identify modes in Medieval counterpoint?

I am reading through Alfred Mann's Translation of Gradus Ad Parnassum (The Study of Counterpoint), but one thing confuses me. In the first species, this counterpoint is shown to be correct: But this ...
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1answer
90 views

Melodic lines are diatonic, harmony doesn't seem to be

Okay so this is something that I came across as I was writing my canons and analyzing the harmony to try to figure out which canon is best for my symphony. There is a section in one of my canons where ...
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How to realize the figured bass of the second movement of BWV 1014?

I am planning a performance of the second movement of Bach's violin sonata BWV 1014 in B Minor. The beginning of second mvt, Allegro is shown below. As you can see there are some figured bass below ...
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77 views

Close transposition but want to avoid dissonance

So I had this idea to have a march in canon. So I would have a rhythmic cell like this: to give a march-like feeling. I have decided on 6 rhythmic cells before a note change and going up 1 note and ...
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Countersubject strategy, is my strategy a good one? [closed]

Introduction So, I have always been kind of on and off about writing fugues. Bach keeps encouraging me to write a fugue and when I am in fugue mode, Bach is all I listen to. After all, who better to ...
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1answer
51 views

In Second Species Composition, how do you traverse an octave between downbeats

From what I understand you can have an octave leap from one downbeat to the next in first species as long as it rebounds with a step in the opposite direction. However, in programming second species,...
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How to go about writing a second countersubject?

I have written a subject and countersubject. Here is how I went about writing the countersubject: 1st iteration: Restricted to D, G, and A(answer is is D major), all quarter notes 2nd iteration: A ...
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Interval analysis, augmented 5th or a 6th?

I am doing interval analysis as I am writing a countersubject(working on the harmony for it right now). But I have a bit of trouble here. I have 3 note choices for any given quarter note. The spot I ...
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168 views

How to keep going in the fugue

So I decided to start over my fugue writing. I had a good subject but it was overwhelming to compose it and I forgot so much about the fugue that I am restarting it. I have been doing all these ...
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820 views

How to apply counterpoint to my own compositions?

I recently learned the five species of counterpoint, but feel like I am not grasping the significance of counterpoint in music. I get the feeling these principles may be used to write a bass line for ...
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What does Satb theory say about moving octave C into a perfect fiftth?

On a piano you could play octave C moving to G-D. The high C moves up to D and the lower C moves up to G. X:1 L:1/2 M: K:C %%score B V:B clef=bass % 1 [V:B] [C,C] [G,D] What would four-...
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208 views

Key modulation in a fugue, how to not lose sight of the tonic?

Now I'm having some more trouble with my fugue. But this time it has to do with key modulation. I feel my fugue is becoming too jazzy thanks to the modulation. There are the primary modulations(from ...
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231 views

Why is writing in free counterpoint so hard? [closed]

I have had this overwhelming feeling for weeks. 1 day I even had to listen to Mozart just to go to sleep because I was feeling so overwhelmed. I have tried everything I did in the past for composer's ...
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302 views

Is 2 measures sufficient for a fugue subject?

I know what a fugue is. I also have been reading up on the form of the fugue and how to write in counterpoint. I wrote a canon and I have written a sonatina using sonata form. So theoretically a fugue ...
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1answer
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Gradus ad parnassum: what does “seven must be set with third” mean?

So I came around this example in Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum (p.98) The purple dot marks bar 6. Joseph considers it an error, as explained here: What does "the seventh must be set with the third" ...
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1answer
168 views

How to write in counterpoint for a sonata? [closed]

So yeah, just as it sounds like, I will be composing a sonata. It will be in the style of Beethoven. The first movement will be slow and quiet mostly. Of course I will be using dissonance such as a ...
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136 views

In species counterpoint, what is “an unprepared and unresolved double leap”?

A video tutorial I have seen speaks of an unprepared and unresolved double leap. Can someone explain what this is please?
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189 views

Counterpoint (Fux): 3rd species, 3 voices, closing formulas

I am working my way through Gradus ad Parnassum (Mann translation). The chapter is: third species in three voices. At page 92, I see an example (Fig. 130) that ends like this: I cannot understand the ...
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Books on composition as insightful as Goeschius [closed]

I've been a magpie for books on composition/orchestration, and it seems to me that the books written by Percy Goeschius are the best, most insightful and well-written that I've come across. Hia ...
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1answer
161 views

Rules of rhythm (especially in regards to Palestrina-like counterpoint)

I've read a bunch of books and websites on florid counterpoint in 2-4 parts, but it seems like, while there are tons of rules for deciding which tones are okay in which context, very little has been ...
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356 views

jazz counterpoint [closed]

Lately i've become interested in counterpoint composition within a more contemporary jazz tonality framework (20th century and beyond) for two or more voices. How would you go about accomplishing ...
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2k views

Are consecutive 3rds allowed in harmony?

In harmony, is it okay if there are consecutive 3rds in ii-V progression in two different bars?
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Questions about hexachord on p.31 of the Study of Counterpoint

p. 31 of The Study of Counterpoint by Johann Joseph Fux (translated by Alfred Mann) says: I don't understand what this page is telling us. I understand what a hexachord is. However, why note is G not ...
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220 views

Why do the examples in Fux's Gradus Ad Parnassum contain a G clef immediately after a C clef?

If the G clef ends up overriding the C Clef, why include the C clef in the first place? Questionable image quality, but I couldn't find a legible example. I'm aware that it's a dumb question, but I ...
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1answer
57 views

How is this bar an example of the rule given in Tonal Counterpoint text?

The rule given in Green and Jones' The Principles and Practice of Tonal Counterpoint is: The seventh may move into another voice before resolving, but when the harmony changes it will almost ...
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1answer
144 views

Is there a standard non-Fux counterpoint method?

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 ...
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588 views

What determines if counterpoint is good or bad?

I am currently reading through the Complete Musician and the current subject is second species counterpoint. I've written about 5 or 6 counterpoints so far in first and second species. That said ...
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Is this a hidden consecutive fifth?

I am working through some beginner counterpoint exercises, and I wrote this harmony above part of a cantus firmus: . By my understanding this should be a 3rd to a 5th, which should be acceptable, ...
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1answer
216 views

What variation of the minor scales should I use for tonal species counterpoint?

I just started learning about species counterpoint, and I thought one should only use (for both cantus firmus and counterpoint) the natural keys of the scale (diatonic) until I saw this G minor ...
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1answer
242 views

What does “potential dissonance” or “potential consonance” mean?

The passage below is quoted from the paper, "Seven Steps to Heaven--A Species Approach to Twentieth Century Analysis and Composition" by Henry Martin. It should be emphasized that the ic-0 and ic-5 ...
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208 views

AI composing counterpoint?

I have heard of computer programs and AI that try to compose music based off the basic counterpoint rules; are there currently any out in the web?
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How do “voice-leading”, “part-writing”, “polyphony” and “counterpoint” differ?

What are the differences in meaning and usage between “voice-leading”, “part-writing”, “polyphony” and “counterpoint”? According to Wikipedia: Voice-leading is “the term used to describe the linear ...
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313 views

Intervals and cantus firmus

I have just started learning music theory and I have learnt intervals and I have gotten up to learning the cantus firmus. I have two questions: On the piano keys, when I count interval steps, am I ...
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2k views

Why is there a sharp and a natural over this Bb?

I'm studying a piece by palestrina (Agnus Dei is the title of this piece, but I'm not sure of the name of the work) and in this 3rd bar we have a sharp in the parenthesis and a natural over the B, ...
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191 views

Why does three-part counterpoint have to end on a chord with a major third?

I am currently studying Counterpoint using Knud Jeppesen's 'Counterpoint' book. In the Three-Part Counterpoint chapter, it says that in the final chord, the third should under all circumstances be ...