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AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#1
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/view/2e85c3f47ed97972e3650d717e3c0367718a1dc3
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#2
Questionable tied D in the first bar but apart from that, woo!

Doing mine now.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Jul 21, 2012,
Hail
i'm a mean bully
Join date: Jan 2010
431 IQ
#3
nice save, griff

working on it. will probably end up shelfing it till lunch, though.
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AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#5
Quote 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.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#6
Quote 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/view/0d83403aa208e6efc09460c0917bf849ce52d6b5

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/view/604b43ddd1a60c8695b73c19142f15cc011d547a
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Jul 21, 2012,
National_Anthem
Quite the toff
Join date: Jun 2007
554 IQ
#8
http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/bb8f6833d322d3e37024d5ba2101821bbc8f6694

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
Last edited by National_Anthem at Jul 21, 2012,
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#9
Quote 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 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.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Jul 21, 2012,
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
1,878 IQ
#10
Thanks for the pointers, Griff. I'll edit this post soon later on with a second attempt.
Last edited by juckfush at Jul 21, 2012,
National_Anthem
Quite the toff
Join date: Jun 2007
554 IQ
#11
Quote 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
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#12
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.
National_Anthem
Quite the toff
Join date: Jun 2007
554 IQ
#13
Quote 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.
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#15
Augmented 4th leap in bar 7-8, good contrary motion though.

Mirin' them crotchet rests
Hail
i'm a mean bully
Join date: Jan 2010
431 IQ
#16
Quote 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.

Mirin' them crotchet rests


as you should!
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TheHydra
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2011
421 IQ
#17
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/view/0880db8cc519b14c018750ea9798bc3bdd54a015

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.
Last edited by TheHydra at Jul 21, 2012,
Jacobrivers8
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2010
892 IQ
#18
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?
National_Anthem
Quite the toff
Join date: Jun 2007
554 IQ
#22
Quote by Jacobrivers8
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?


Yes, counterpoint is the relationship between any two independent voices (i.e., not in parallel motion the whole time), whether or not they follow these rules. But it's not species counterpoint. Species counterpoint is not music, it's an exercise. Not to say that one can't learn from it, and incorporate elements of it within their own style, but practically all western music since its advent (and probably a considerable amount of what came before, too) will depart in some way, whether it's simple rule bending, or fundamental differences.
Last edited by National_Anthem at Jul 21, 2012,
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#23
Quote by Jacobrivers8
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?


you can try! it's still a counterpoint, but the best sounding counterpoint (music and exercise) is composed with similar rules in mind. give it a shot!

first off, i highly recommend everyone does as i do (at least for first species counterpoint, you can keep doing it later if it helps) and write in the intervals. use the lyrics function -- select a note and hit ctrl+L. it helps you be aware of what you're writing, as well as visualize it easier.

and i actually edited mine - i decided there was a better way to begin, since the tie in the beginning might give the impression that there is temporarily only one voice. i also flattened a B, as has been discussed earlier in the thread. i think it sounds better this way. opinions?

griff, i like yours! you make me think i should use more similar motion

juckfush, you do have a lot of 11ths. 4ths are considered a dissonance (at least until you get to three-voice counterpoint), so they should be avoided. you should take a look at bar 5 -- there are two concerns there. firstly, your spacing is much too wide. it computes to a sixteenth. secondly, a sixteenth is a dissonance, and therefore isn't permitted. bar 7 i similar, actually. remember to keep your spacing to a thirteenth (absolute maximum). it's generally advised that your spacing should regularly be no more than a tenth. and remember, we're working in alto clef!

hail, you use a lot of leaps. i count two leaps of a third, two leaps of a fifth, and one leap of an octave. and one of those fifth leaps continues in the same direction. try to keep it a little more stepwise. leaps give the sound a lot of diversity, but should be used a little more sparingly. also, F to A is a M10, not a m10 (bar 7).

hydra, if the counterpoint is written above the cantus firmus, put it on the top staff. that was surprisingly hard to read and analyze . i don't see anything wrong with it, though. and if we revive the fugue thread, i want in.

505088, you might want to opt to make the edit i made - starting on a unison and jumping the counterpoint down an octave. one of the reasons i stated earlier, but for you, there's another -- you don't want to tie the same note twice in an exercise. i know this is a mode, but you don't want too much pitch-centeredness.

you guys want to try first species again with another cantus firmus? or would you rather move on to second species? i'll leave it up to you to decide.

and if anyone wants to come in and we're on second or third or whatever species, you're welcome to start on first species while everyone else is on another species. this thread isn't going to close until it inevitably becomes a mode war.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#24
Let's move on to second species, first species is boring.
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#25
Are we using the same CF for second species?

Feeling like a first year music student right now.
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#28
Quote by griffRG7321
Feeling like a first year music student right now.


oh, the memories.

sure, let's use the same CF for second species.

so in case anyone doesn't know, where first species is note against note, second species is two notes against one.

rules for second species counterpoint:
  • the rules of first species counterpoint still apply.
  • dissonance may be introduced on the second note in the measures of a counterpoint, but the first note in a measure must be consonant with the cantus firmus.
  • the counterpoint may begin with either a perfect consonance or a half note rest.
  • the counterpoint may not leap into nor out of a dissonant interval.
  • parallel perfect intervals on consecutive strong beats are forbidden.


if something's unclear, questions are welcome!
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#30
Quote by griffRG7321
^I'd add that only passing dissonances are allowed


neighboring, as well.

everything else is covered by rule #4 - the counterpoint may not leap into nor out of a dissonant interval.

to clarify to everyone else -- if you choose to use a dissonance, the motion involved (whatever it may be) MUST be stepwise in the counterpoint.

here's my contribution: http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/474af60f2cfb538fa21afb70af4503342e78c0a5

EDIT: as i demonstrated, in the second to last measure, you can choose to use the leading tone as a whole note. originally i wasn't going to, but the best counterpoint there would have been E - C# - D; had i used that, i would have had parallel octaves on the strong beats in measures 9 and 10, so that's a no go. i opted instead to use the leading tone as a whole note.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Last edited by AeolianWolf at Jul 21, 2012,
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#31
Quote by AeolianWolf
neighboring, as well.



Hmm, Schubert and Fux only allowing passing in second species, what treatise are you using?
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#32
http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/f9c4e5e27bebf59440db403f6afdd729d2220a33


I probably made some stupit mistakes because It's really late right now.

Yeah I'm aware of these parallel octaves in the last 2 measures that you were talking about in your post too, but I decided to just keep it that way because I think it sounds better.

And my counterpoint starts on the third which sounds a bit weird, is that ok or is it better to just make it a rest?
Jacobrivers8
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2010
892 IQ
#35
@ Aeolian wolf and National_Anthem ... thanks for explaining that guys!! that sounds like something interesting i might want to learn and include in my music in the future thanks
Brainpolice2
UG Board King
Join date: Nov 2010
358 IQ
#36
I didn't follow any particular guidelines for what kind of counterpoint to write (or I missed this above in the wall of text), but here's what I wrote over the past few hours:

http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/ca2908dd8812ed01e926ef61a588945b1ffbd0c0

It's a full four-part, chorale-style texture. It's started as a second species exersize with the cantus firmus as half-notes in the soprano, and a quarter-note counter-melody against it in the bass. Then I filled in the inner voices.

I think that the beginning may be a bit weak, since I use a deceptive half-cadence while having a suspension on the V. Perhaps I should reconsider remaking it into a full cadence.

Lemme know what ya think and if there's anything more I could do to this. I'm basically content for the time being but am open to changing it.
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,744 IQ
#40
Quote by Brainpolice2
I didn't follow any particular guidelines for what kind of counterpoint to write (or I missed this above in the wall of text), but here's what I wrote over the past few hours:

http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/ca2908dd8812ed01e926ef61a588945b1ffbd0c0

What's weakening it is some unapproached voiceleading in the inner voices. Also be careful of the unprepared 6/4's from the bass, which happened too often. The weakest parts were m3-4.

And I don't know if you just randomly threw in that q = 61, but this is bad practice. Stick to the standard metronome grid. The closest to your choice would be 60 or 63.


My suggestions:
http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/a3a0c0ec4a15cb97b20b3b63c8071147baed96d1

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Jul 22, 2012,