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Old 07-21-2012, 04:56 AM   #1
AeolianWolf
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Counterpoint!

so TheHydra recently started a thread regarding starting counterpoint, and i figured this might be a good opportunity for anyone interested in learning (as well as those who already know), so here's what i'm thinking: if people are interested, we can all compose counterpoint off of a few cantus firmi and go through each species, providing feedback and critique along the way.

warning: to those who participate in this thread, modes WILL BE INVOLVED. in fact, the first cantus firmus i've chosen for first species counterpoint is actually in the dorian mode, and has been harmonized as such.

everyone's welcome to participate, regardless of experience level. i don't think there's anyone on this forum who couldn't stand to learn something.

so i figure we can all use noteflight, right? it doesn't take too long to sign up for an account, and it's a pretty useful tool, even though you only get 10 scores without signing up for a membership, but that's not a problem, is it?

first off, cantus firmi are traditionally written in alto clef, and that's how we're going to keep it. if you don't know how to read alto clef, learn. it's actually really easy - the middle line is middle C. couldn't get much easier than that.

so let's get into first species counterpoint. the following rules apply:
  • the counterpoint must begin on a P5, P8, or P12 if above the cantus firmus, or on a P1 or P8 if under the cantus firmus.
  • the P1 may only be used as the last interval (and first interval, if the counterpoint is under the cantus firmus).
  • the second to last note of the counterpoint must be the leading tone. (in a cantus firmus in a mode without a leading tone [dorian, mixolydian, aeolian], the 7th degree is to be raised chromatically. phrygian does not require a raised leading tone because of its second degree.)
  • only the following intervals are permitted: P1, m3, M3, P5, m6, M6, P8, m10, M10, P12, m13, M13. thirteenths are only permitted in exceptional cases where there is no other satisfactory answer.
  • no more than 3 imperfect consonances (thirds or sixths) in a row.
  • parallel perfect intervals are forbidden.
  • hidden perfect intervals (where two notes move to a perfect interval via similar motion) are forbidden.
  • leaps of the following intervals are permitted: m3, M3, P4, P5, m6 (upward), P8.
  • the compass of the counterpoint may not exceed an octave. the melody may be between the tonic and its octave (authentic form) or the dominant and its octave (plagal form).

i'll start off by posting the first cantus firmus, as well as the counterpoint i've composed to accompany it. the counterpoint is in D dorian, but if anyone would like to transpose it to C major for whatever reason, i can understand.

here it is: http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...e3c0367718a1dc3
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:09 AM   #2
griffRG7321
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Questionable tied D in the first bar but apart from that, woo!

Doing mine now.
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:20 AM   #3
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nice save, griff

working on it. will probably end up shelfing it till lunch, though.
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:23 AM   #4
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mistook the bass clef for alto clef
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffRG7321
Questionable tied D in the first bar but apart from that, woo!


i admit, it's not the most ideal of solutions, but given the circumstances, it seemed that it was the best option. i did what i could to use the most contrary motion possible, though i don't really like using a tie so early. but everything i did was contrary motion except for one measure of oblique motion, and one measure of parallel motion.
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
i admit, it's not the most ideal of solutions, but given the circumstances, it seemed that it was the best option. i did what i could to use the most contrary motion possible, though i don't really like using a tie so early. but everything i did was contrary motion except for one measure of oblique motion, and one measure of parallel motion.


Fair enough, here's mine.

http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...17bf849ce52d6b5

Used a Bb in the Dorian mode because I dont play dat shit, ya heard me detriot what.

Edit: wow, way too many 6ths...

Redone http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...42f15cc011d547a
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:29 AM   #7
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Here's my attempt:

http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...e11ce91bda5783b

I've used a minor seventh interval in bar 8, but are there any other mishaps, or any areas that could use adjustment?

EDIT: v Fixed up the sharing options - thanks for that, mate.
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:33 AM   #8
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http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...101821bbc8f6694

Started out thinking the tied D was the best solution, then changed my mind. And I've only just realised that there's only one note difference between mine and Griff's Not sure if I like bar 6 in mine, can't decide whether it's genius or duff

Griff, I think that your cheat of allowing yourself Bb has lead you astray. If you'd stuck to B natural, you wouldn't have been allowed the B in bar 5, because of the tritone leap, and that would have broken up some of the parallel motion.

^Can't see your score. And having any dissonance (especially unprepared, but any dissonance in first species is forbidden) is one of the worst rules to break
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by National_Anthem
And I've only just realised that there's only one note difference between mine and Griff's Not sure if I like bar 6 in mine, can't decide whether it's genius or duff


, and it sounds fine to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by National_Anthem
Griff, I think that your cheat of allowing yourself Bb has lead you astray. If you'd stuck to B natural, you wouldn't have been allowed the B in bar 5, because of the tritone leap, and that would have broken up some of the parallel motion.



Yeah, I'm a sucker for that flattened sub-mediant, I actually originally had an E there like you but I changed it. I've changed it back now, making ours the exact same

Also, no leading tone?

Juckfish,

You have a lot of 11ths, which are a dissonance. You've also got a 9th in bar 5 and again in bar 7, the 7th in bar 8 and an 11th in bar 9.

Things get better at the cadence but your lower voice has the notes C-C#-D. You want to avoid using the natural 7th at least a bar before the cadence.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:02 AM   #10
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Thanks for the pointers, Griff. I'll edit this post soon later on with a second attempt.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by griffRG7321
Also, no leading tone?


Shit
I didn't listen to it back, otherwise I would have noticed. Whenever I write chorales or counterpoint exercises, I always forget to put in the accidentals
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:05 AM   #12
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My theory tutor always used to say "Do the cadence first!", if he came round and you'd started without doing the cadence there would be hell to pay.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by griffRG7321
My theory tutor always used to say "Do the cadence first!", if he came round and you'd started without doing the cadence there would be hell to pay.


I do the first couple of notes, then do the cadence and fill in the gaps. You can always revise the start if necessary.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:12 AM   #14
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http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...54e8351bc27e7e0

that took a lot longer than it should've. i blame that it's 6 am

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Old 07-21-2012, 07:16 AM   #15
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Augmented 4th leap in bar 7-8, good contrary motion though.

Mirin' them crotchet rests
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by griffRG7321
Augmented 4th leap in bar 7-8, good contrary motion though.

i knew something sounded off, but that bar threw me, honestly. changed it to another oblique motion with an A, but c'est la vie.

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as you should!
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:10 AM   #17
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This is a very nice thread, and I plan to take full advantage of it. It is a bit unnerving to see you using modes, though.

Mine: http://www.noteflight.com/scores/vi...798bc3bdd54a015

I still don't think I have the hang of maintaining melodic contour while staying in the rules yet, but I also think this sounds pretty good as a piece of music. I keep thinking I have a good melodic concept, but then it turns out I've broken a rule. Oh well, I'll get the hang of it.

Maybe once this thread is complete we can revive Xiaoxi's old fugue thread.

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Old 07-21-2012, 10:30 AM   #18
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I guess I don't quite understand what counterpoints are all about because i personally don't understand why there are "rules" to counterpoints. If I compose a melody and then compose another melody over top of the other is it simply not a counterpoint if i disregard the rules?
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #19
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:02 PM   #20
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^ Can't see it, change the sharing options.
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