Questions tagged [counterpoint]

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

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which pair of notes can't be parallel in Counterpoint

Lets say i have a 4 voice texture. The first chord has a 5th between the soprano and bass but then in the second chord there is a 5th between bass and tenor. That would be parallel 5ths or no? do I ...
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sharp ii dim 7th: How to use?

Still here and working on part-writing. I have used a sharp ii dim7th chord, straight after iihalfdim7- leading to V. Is this actually the right place to put it in terms of chord sequence/harmonic ...
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Can you leap to a 4th on weak beats in 3rd species counterpoint

I am doing a 3rd species 4:1 counterpoint exercise and I was told that on weakbeats you could use consonant or dissonant intervals. If the intervals on the weakbeats are consonant then the melody can ...
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3answers
105 views

Four part writing: How to voice diminished 7th chords?

I am currently doing part writing, and have come into a bit of a conundrum. I want to use a sharp 4 dim 7 (Fsharpdim7), to link up my IV chord (FM) to my V7 chord (G7). I know that 7ths should usually ...
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4answers
115 views

Are certain 4 part writing rules contradictory?

I am told that I cannot double the 3rd when constructing a 4 part triad but at the same time I am told that the only note that can be omitted is the 5th. So in a triad, if I omit the 5th, then all I ...
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246 views

Four part writing problem: tripled root solution. what is best practice here?

I have hit a problem with this chord change in my four part writing. We are in A minor. The VI chord is in first inversion, so A must be in the bass. (I have made a mistake in the figure. the VI ...
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2answers
67 views

Four part writing: How to voice augmented 6th chords?

I have recently started adding augmented 6th chords to my part writing. As far as I can tell, I have not broken any harmonic rules in the displayed voicing, yet it does not sound right to me. Just ...
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1answer
40 views

When did 4 part writing allow 2nd inversion chords

In 4 part counterpoint in the strict old-fashined style, the 2nd inversion chord was not allowed but in todays compositions the 2nd inversion chord is a staple so when did this rule change and at what ...
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37 views

how to know which tones to double if you are writing counterpoint in a mode?

I have a Cantus Firmus in D dorian mode that I am trying to write a 4 part counterpoint exercise with. In my textbook it says that since we have 4 notes per triad I need to double a note per triad to ...
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188 views

Another Counterpoint Dissonance Handling Question… Species Counterpoint

I am harmonizing a Mozart soprano melody with a musical friend. Now, I could scour the internet for a week trying to figure this out, but I figured I would instead ask the music.stackexchange Gods ...
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1answer
55 views

How much oblique motion is allowed in 3 part counterpoint

I have done a new counterpoint exercise today using 3 parts but I ended up with quite a lot of oblique motion and it got me thinking that I actually don't know what the restrictions are on using ...
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Counterpoint: Do parallel 5ths and Octaves count even if they are not from the same voices [duplicate]

I tried to do another exercise today and I really liked what I had done but looking back I noticed what could be parallel 5ths. If you look at the following exercise, you can see the 4th and 5th ...
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2answers
102 views

Are parallel 10ths ok in 3 part counterpoint?

I am learning 3 part counterpoint and am doing an excersize where I am using the CF as the middle line and composing a melody above and below the CF. If you notice towards the end (chords 7 - 10) ...
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2answers
64 views

How to use counterpoint to write melodies over chords

In counterpoint pedagogy harmonic dissonance and consonance is taught with one note as the "Cantus Firmus" against one or more other notes. How does this knowledge of consonance or ...
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349 views

How do you define Harmonic Retrogression with regard to intensity?

I was doing some practice problems in the AP Barron's Music Theory book, and one of the practice problems asks: “When harmonies within a phrase move from a strong intensity to a less strong intensity [...
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1answer
142 views

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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1answer
40 views

Is there a rhythmic counterpart to voice leading? Is counterpoint supposed to fulfill this role?

I have been studying voice leading and I feel like rhythm is unaddressed in voice leading theory. Here's an example of the types of voice leading rules I'm referring to: Resolve 7->1 in a V chord ...
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2answers
67 views

Forbidden/shunned harmonic progressions in 18th cent. counterpoint

I'm going through Kent Kennan's book on 18th century counterpoint, and early on he touches upon some finer points concering agreeable or not-so-agreeable chord progressions. Only a handful of ...
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13k views

Is there any real difference between Counterpoint and Polyphony?

From what I understand, they both kind of refer to the same thing. Why the need for 2 terms?
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68 views

Sequences in Music

I am doing second species counterpoint and this exercise gives me all the bottom notes and only the first 4 eighth notes. The exercise says: Where a sequence occurs in the given voice, use one in the ...
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5answers
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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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How would one go about composing a Tintinnabuli piece?

I've been doing some research on the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt lately, known best for his simple yet highly emotive Tintinnabuli compositions. The theory behind it is incredibly dense and difficult ...
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379 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
55 views

In species counterpoint, is the fourth above a third a consonance or a dissonance?

I am reading Alfred Mann's translation of "Gradus ad Parnassum" and found a footnote that says that Fux considers a fourth that comes from harmonic division the of the octave (fifth-fourth) ...
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1answer
335 views

How to differentiate countermelody from arpeggiated accompaniment?

I wonder what would be the main difference between arpeggiated accompaniment and counter melody. Could it be the rule that an arpeggiated accompaniment would be more repetitive (because it consists ...
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3answers
644 views

Is an arpeggio considered counterpoint or harmony?

I have written an arpeggiated guitar which repeats over two chords, played finger style. When singing a melody on top, would this be counterpoint or harmony?
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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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2answers
175 views

How to think about this moment from BWV 816

I've been tasked by a textbook I'm going through to make a harmonic analysis of the G major "Gavotte" from BWV816, "The French Suite" specifically minding a handful of questions ...
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111 views

Allowed hidden parallel octaves [duplicate]

I have read that hidden direct octaves between two voices are not always forbidden, but that there are some circumstances in which they are acceptable. As I have understood it, the following general ...
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1answer
146 views

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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Retrograde and Inverted songs

I am looking for retrograde and inverted remakes of classical pieces. Even better if they are being played simultaneously with the origina, like Pachelbel's Canon, Original Version and Retrograde ...
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5answers
913 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
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3answers
1k views

Can modal counterpoint be studied without studying harmony? Where to start?

I have a background 1 year of harmony study and I'm now taking a non-western modal approach to music (trough Indian Classical Music, which is mainly monophonic and have no concept of harmony). I have ...
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154 views

What is cantus firmi?

As I understand cantus firmi means that fixed songs and it is used in counterpoint melodies but I could not understand why is it called cantus firmi and its function. Does anybody know why is it ...
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3answers
81 views

Why do modal chants sometimes end on another chord than the tonic chord?

I see a lot of organ accompaniments to Gregorian chants, eg Attende Domine or something from a Kyriale, starting and ending on another chord than the tonic/finalis. A phrygian melody might have the ...
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1answer
376 views

What are the characteristics of Late Romantic Russian Music?

I've been recently listening to some late Romantic Russian music (Lyapunov, Kalinnikov, Tchaikovsky, etc.) and was wondering how best to mimic this style. So far, I've observed a handful of shared ...
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51 views

¿What textbook do you suggest to study counterpoint? [closed]

Counterpoint is very important to raise skills in music composition and improvisation. What method or publication do you suggest?
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61 views

Is there a way to recognize the canonic (or generally imitative) potential in a given harmonic progression?

Suppose given a bass melody with either thoroughbass figuring or Roman numeral analysis. Is there a way to quasi-instantly recognize whether this bass melody admits of a canonic (or more generally, ...
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1answer
38 views

How important is consonance/dissonance in suspensions?

It’s difficult for me to really hear any (harmonic) consonance or dissonance value when two notes are heard at the same time, but do NOT begin at the same time. As a listener, I find myself more drawn ...
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4answers
318 views

Is the bottom note of an interval favored?

I was practicing counterpoint (2nd species) and decided to experiment with ending on a perfect 5th except the top line was a C and the bottom an F. I know this isn't technically allowed in 2nd species,...
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3answers
677 views

Is there a rational method to find out which minor scale sounds best in a given situation?

By rational I mean a method that doesn't entirely depend on one's subjective aesthetics, but rather one that has some kind of system behind it. The obvious rule that you should use the ascending ...
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1answer
52 views

How did baroque composers write sequences that are both imitative and modulatory?

Still working on my Bach-style fugue. And I wonder, how did composers of that time-period come up with all those sequential episodes in their fugues? I know that there is a certain standard ...
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3answers
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What kinds of melodies tend to sound good under melodic inversion?

The other day I was trying to write a canon by inversion, and I wondered whether there are any general guidelines (other than trial and error) as to what kinds of melodies tend to sound "good" under ...
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How do/did composers deal with very many contrapuntal voices?

A work that I've admired as long as I've known about it is Antonio Caldara's Crucifixus for 16 voices. YouTube video here. It does make me wonder how a composer like Caldara (or Thomas Tallis for ...
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4answers
873 views

What is more important, avoiding parallel octaves between non-chord tones, or keeping a stretto exact?

I'm writing a fugue, and I've managed an almost perfect two-voiced stretto. Except that I get parallel octaves between two notes in the figuration. See image, last beat of m. 15. Which would be ...
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68 views

Does dissonance create movement in counterpoint?

I’m studying first species counterpoint and trying to wrap my head around why we try not to use unisons, octaves and perfect 5ths outside of the beginning and end. I understand that unisons, octaves ...
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249 views

Counterpoint with more than 4 parts

In Rachmaninoff Prelude in B Minor Op. 32 No. 10 I've noticed that not all voices are 4 parts. In fact I've noticed that in 19th century and 20th century music there's more than 4 parts in a harmony. ...
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Am I understanding counterpoint correctly?

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 ...
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How did counterpoint, harmonic rhythm, and thoroughbass interact in the late-Baroque instrumental fugal style?

It may be considered common knowledge that frequent root changes, i.e., a fast harmonic rhythm, usually cause a piece to be perceived as being more purely "harmonic" and less polyphonic in nature. (...
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How to best understand first species counterpoint/counterpoint in general?

I'm diving into counterpoint because I want to have a better understanding of diatonic/ tonal harmony. I figured that counterpoint would be a good place to start and so far it does seem promising. My ...