23

The counterpoint rules for parallel octaves (and fifths) apply in cases where two or more voices are meant to be heard as independent. Similarly for covered fifths and octaves. (Also for long strings of parallel thirds or sixths, maybe six or more for that matter.) Voices moving in parallel sound like a single voice with doubling or harmonization. These are ...


21

There are a few different reasons that might be given to follow counterpoint "rules." Stylistic emulation. While this tends to be less valued today by some, for the past few centuries, beginning composers (and teachers of composition) often valued the study of imitating classical composers that they admire. If you want to learn to compose like Palestrina ...


20

Counterpoint is simply the relationship between multiple musical lines. As such, any excerpt of music with more than one line is displaying some sense of counterpoint, whether intentional or not. Note also that there are multiple eras and traditions of counterpoint, each with their own distinct styles (what many erroneously call "rules"). Palestrina is ...


18

There are at least two explanations for why this leap is acceptable: First is the idea of "gap fill," also sometimes called "registral return" or the "post-skip reversal." In short, when there is a large leap, we can soften it by subsequently moving by step in the opposite direction. This is a Gestalt principle of good melodic design that can often explain ...


17

They are absolutely allowed and are treated in many different ways. In order to avoid a continuance of asking so many specialized questions, I would urge you to study Johann Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum which is the foundation for counterpoint and studied by all composers. Also, for future reference, if Bach does it, then it's okay.


13

I'll give some general tips but really I think you can't beat the books I'll mention below as a guide on how to write euphonious counterpoint. As far as the order of composing voices, Schoenberg's advice was that you have to be able to hear the full harmony as you write it. I believe he set a good value at 4 voices at once. That's one way to look at it. ...


13

One practical use in pop, country, big band, (and probably jazz, maybe rock) is the counterpoint between melody and bass. One would like the melody and bass to be independent voices. Many bass players use chord inversions (playing the third usually) and walking basses to achieve this (and they do it on the fly.) If one isn't careful about parallels, the ...


12

Independent in rhythm & contour means that the voices may have different rhythms and contour, respectively. For example, if a voice goes up and another goes down, the voices would be moving in opposing motion. Moreover, one voice may be going up, and then down while the other remains going down only. All this means that the voices are independent in ...


11

The point of counterpoint is to make voices have harmonic dependence while having rhythmic and contour independence. i.e. The voices are independent, but all function harmonically. There are parallel 5ths between the bass and the first violin, but the bass and the violin are very dependent on each other at this point so they move together as one unit instead ...


11

When you say "counterpoint rules" I immediately think "Fux" and species counterpoint. Species counterpoint is a teaching method. One of the goals is for the student to demonstrate an understanding of the musical elements and the discipline to follow the rules. If you have the understanding and control, writing in the species shouldn't be a problem. After ...


11

There are two basic paths leading to the goal of writing "music that works". And they are the same basic parts that lead to being able to cook food that other people can eat without complaining too much about it. The easy way is to learn a set of "tricks" that work pretty well, and practice them until you can use them successfully without much thought. ...


10

@jjmusicnotes already answered the question with yes. The particular example you mention goes like: (2nd half of the first bar). The d occurs in the lower voice in a rising line of steps in between c and an e; It's on a weak count and as it is a short sixteenth it immediately dissolves into an e which is consonant with the c in the uppoer voice. So this ...


10

It is still used, but not the way Bach used it. Bach used to compose the different voices to be harmonically interdependent but rhythmically independent. After a certain point (later 19th-early 20th century) the composers took counterpoint in a different direction. They started composing for voices that were purely independent with each other; both ...


9

The linked answer almost answers this question as well, I think. "Species counterpoint" is the name given to counterpoint composed in the styles described by Fux in Gradus ad Parnassum (though the idea is apparently older). The species were intended to be a didactic tool to teach the student how to write counterpoint. The approach is sufficiently ...


9

This question sounds hard, but it's actually very easy to answer :-) Harmony is vertical based and counterpoint is horizontal based. In the old days, when mr. Bach was doing his thing, harmony as we know it didn't really exsists in the same way. Ofcourse, multiple-sounding-notes are creating a harmony. But it wasn't a harmony like we hear now in pop and ...


9

First, Gradus ad Parnassum was completed in 1725 (not 1752), so it's a bit earlier than you think, although still in the time frame when tonality was becoming common. Second, Fux was intentionally looking back to earlier styles of music, explicitly the music of Palestrina (who died 1594), and was, in a sense, taking a historical view even when it first ...


9

Just to add to Patrx2 answer there are a total of four types of motion in counterpoint. They are: oblique - one note moves while the other doesn't contrary - the notes move in the opposite direction similar - the notes move in the same direction, but different intervals (i.e. one moves a 2nd and the other moves a 3rd) parallel - the notes move in the same ...


9

You're absolutely right! The typical rule is that the leading tone must resolve up to tonic when it is in an outer voice (that is, the soprano or bass). If the leading tone is in an inner voice, it can resolve down a third to the fifth of the tonic chord (a so-called "sprung" or "frustrated" leading tone). Bach occasionally leaps the leading tone up to the ...


9

If the G# had risen to A, the pause chord would have three As. It sounds better with all the notes of the triad, including E. It's not good for the leading note to fall, but here is a situation where making it fall like that is considered an acceptable compromise. Bach made the leading note fall in a lot of his chorale harmonisations.


8

To answer your questions: In m.62, what you have done is OK since it moves by step and is resolved into an imperfect consonance by step and by contrary motion, so that is handled correctly. However, you've broken a rule getting into m.62 by not moving by step in opposite direction after a leap larger than a third. An easy solution would be to start your ...


8

Nope, from what I can tell everything is correct here - the only downside being that you have octaves beginning each measure, which makes counterpoint stagnant. You always want to aim for imperfect consonances (3's or 6's) for your downbeats. That said, you've approached the octave correctly (contrary motion with one voice moving by step), and the two ...


8

Counterpoint comes from "punctus contra punctus" - point against point. This stems from the notion of having a given melody, the "cantus firmus" against one writes a counter melody. The most prominent place for this type of counterpoint is in courses on counterpoint. More generally, counterpoint simply means the technique of writing multiple independent ...


8

As Tim says the leading tone has to lead to the root tone of the tonic (in major and minor) when in the discant (Soprano) or Bass. But in the final chord, it is often - in purpose to have a full 4 voices harmony - lead down to the 5th in Alto or Tenor.


7

Fux does allow them in counterpoint. As I pointed out in one of my comments, confusion comes from voice-relationships: A minor-sixth is of course allowable between two voices because it is an imperfect consonant interval. A minor-sixth is not allowable within the same voice because it is a leap greater than a perfect-fifth and is therefore inexcusable ...


7

Harmony is just multiple notes sounding at the same time. Counterpoint is the technique of creating harmony by interweaving multiple melody lines. So they are not at all mutually exclusive. One is a technique for creating the other. Harmony created by counterpoint could be said to give a more complex or layered sound than other means of harmony. They could ...


6

Simply put the difference between how counterpoint was employed in the 16th vs. 18th century may be best illustrated by comparing the music of the most outstanding practitioners of each period, namely Giovanni Palestrina and J. S. Bach. You are on the right track in thinking that "sixteenth century counterpoint melody or modal based (as this answer suggests)...


6

I want to encourage you to think in terms other than "allowed" and "not allowed" when it comes to Baroque counterpoint. As commenters on another answer have suggested, Bach breaks the "rules" all the time. Better to think of what's usual and what's not usual. Baroque music is full of things that the Gradus ad Parnassum forbids. Take a look at the ...


6

First of all, the clefs are not quite right and the bottom part should be an octave lower (this is inferrable from the illegal 4th in the penultimate bar). Modes in Renaissance style are not the strict collections of 7 notes used in "modal" pop and jazz songs. Instead, a mode tells us where the tonic is located within a field of 11 notes, 7 diatonic and ...


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