Author Topic: Counterpoint in Composition  (Read 12555 times)

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Michel.R.E

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2013, 10:18:07 AM »
I'll make a sticky of the C.F. if you post them.
we can have a sticky for the Cantus, then a discussion thread for 2-part, 3-part and 4-part counterpoint, and for each species.

I'd have to dig through some boxes to find the C.F. I had for my classes, which was years ago.
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winknotes

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2013, 10:47:42 AM »
I was thinking of typing it up in such a way that we could write counterpoint both above (soprano) and below (tenor) the C.F.  The rules are slightly different for the voice below the C.F. so it would be nice to have the opportunity to solve that problem as well. 

Maybe on the discussion threads for each species we could list the rules so we have a place to easily reference them. 
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2013, 10:52:38 AM »
I'd suggest just writing all C.F. in C or A minor, whichever the case, and in treble clef. it is up to the student to transpose to a suitable key.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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sandalwood

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2013, 02:17:36 PM »
by searching the keywords "counterpoint, music", here

http://archive.org/details/treatiseonstrict02glad

one can reach many free e-books on counterpoint. although they all date around the great deluge, some, as far as i can judge, are probably not too bad (look, e.g. for e prout, bairstowe, goetschius, etc). at least they contain zillions of cantus firmi and other exercise material; moreover not general purpose but prepared for a variety of specific purposes and levels within each one's teaching systematic (mostly organized acc. to no. of parts and order of species).

plus it is possible to partly read some newer cpt. books on "google books".

for buying, besides salzer&schachter, people mostly recommend jeppesen's (2) and kennan's books.

greetings and happy counterpointage :) all
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 02:21:18 PM by sandalwood »

winknotes

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2013, 06:47:20 PM »
Here's a zip file containing a Finale file, midi file, xml file and a pdf of the C.F. examples I posted earlier today.  So no matter what music notation software you use there should be something everyone can use.  I know it's not a big deal to enter those whole notes in, but will save a little time.  The pdf is for anyone who would rather not work at a computer at all but might want to sing the parts and mark it in with pencil.  You could then scan it and upload that way.  So again, something for everyone :)

These are all notated to write the counterpoint line ABOVE the C.F.  I thought about printing some "rules" to follow at the top but thought maybe a discussion thread might be the place for that.  Besides if we go crazy with this, we'd hopefully expand examples to use extended chords and harmonies. 

EDIT:  This is much harder than I thought it would be.  It seems like it would be a simple voice leading exercise and I suppose if the rules were different it would be, but to adhere to the rules is really hard.  I've got an answer to the first C.F. but it presents problems right off the bat. 



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« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 07:05:54 PM by winknotes »
Steve Winkler
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2013, 09:28:58 PM »
first part of the rules:

1) triads only
2) root and 1st inversion only (absolutely no 2nd inversion chords)
3) avoid repeating notes
4) obviously no parallel 5ths or octaves

obviously, 1st species counterpoint means no non-chord tones.
it's also the most restrictive and gives the dullest results!
no one here gonna be adding no opus numbers to their 1st species counterpoint exercises.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

winknotes

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2013, 06:21:56 AM »
first part of the rules:

1) triads only
2) root and 1st inversion only (absolutely no 2nd inversion chords)
3) avoid repeating notes
4) obviously no parallel 5ths or octaves

obviously, 1st species counterpoint means no non-chord tones.
it's also the most restrictive and gives the dullest results!
no one here gonna be adding no opus numbers to their 1st species counterpoint exercises.

Yeah I already have to redo my first try.  I've seen some sets of rules stating the first interval has to be unison, P5, P8 or P12 and that the final interval has to be unison or P8.  Any opinions about that? 

For the first example I started with a P5 and immediately ran into problems.  I have a solution but it requires too many repeated notes. 
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2013, 07:06:05 AM »
I'd say choose either the unison or the 5th.
limiting to one simply adds a difficulty.
but when you find a "problem" starting with one interval, then.. well, you should probably STICK to that interval and try and find the right solution (hint: there is ALWAYS a solution to apparent problems)
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

winknotes

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2013, 07:08:22 PM »
Here are a couple of solutions to the first example.  They both start on the 5th.  If I start on the unison, I can't figure out what to do on the second measure so I'll have to work with it some more. 

The first example is wrong I believe for a couple reasons at least.  One I don't know if the tied notes are permitted in this species or if they count as repeated notes.  Secondly in m. 4 that's technically a 2nd inversion chord.  I also don't know if both voices moving in parallel motion (mm. 4-5) is best. 





Here's yet one more that solves some of the problems of the first try:



« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 07:15:54 PM by winknotes »
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2013, 08:37:45 PM »
I'll skip example 1. yes, tied notes are forbidden in this style.

however, a quick answer to your "can't figure out how to start on the unison": octave.
for the "technically it's a 6/4" thing... had your bassline (C.F.) moved D to C, the B in your counterpoint could have gone up to C, the implication of the 4th measure would have been 1st inversion of 7th degree. It IS more common to see the 7th degree as the penultimate harmony, however.

example 2 has a few problems:
measures 1,2,3 are fine... but measure 4 is a direct 5th (top voice moves by skip to an open 5th).
2nd last measure, no chromatic alterations (never use chromatic alterations in species counterpoint).

example 3: measure 4 is too wide a gap between voices. keep it to an octave maximum distance.
(although I suspect some schools may permit 10ths).


another thing to look for, a thing to avoid: avoid returning to the same note repeatedly.

you may notice that I've made this same comment to people posting works on the forum. again here, this is a counterpoint principle that applies to non-contrapuntal composition as well.
this forces you to seek out better alternatives. it's the whole point of counterpoint exercises.

"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2013, 08:46:39 PM »
If I may be so bold: I noticed you have a lot of motion in the same direction. Personally, I prefer more contrary motion, especially when only two voices.
Ron
Rules? What rules?

winknotes

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2013, 05:47:15 AM »
If I may be so bold: I noticed you have a lot of motion in the same direction. Personally, I prefer more contrary motion, especially when only two voices.

Exactly.  This is another problem I had but didn't mention. 
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2013, 06:30:40 AM »
I learned that intervals up to a 10th between the voices was "acceptable," but should be mostly avoided. When you get to four-part writing, a larger interval is tolerated between the bass and tenor voices -- a 10th is standard, and up to 12th is "acceptable" if I remember correctly.

In regards to "avoid repeated notes," you should not take that to mean you should never have the same note twice in a row. Repeating the A in the second measure (without the tie) is not wrong in and of itself. Minimize your use of repetition, but don't be afraid to use one where it makes sense to you. Definitely do avoid three in a row. 

winknotes

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2013, 07:18:34 AM »
Here's another stab at no. 1.  There's still a fair amount of parallel motion though.



I do have a P5 in m.4.  I'm not sure if that's a problem. 

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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Counterpoint in Composition
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2013, 07:25:27 AM »
The 5th is not a problem.