#1
So, um, post here if you're a pretensious classical nerd who studies part writing for fun.

To start of, anyone think its weird that perfect fifths (which we get taught are perfect from a young age) and octaves are the two worst notes to use harmonically? I noticed that most of the rules are to do with perfect fifths and octaves.
#2
They're "no-no's" exactly because they're so consonant. It destroys the individuality of the voices.

That said, I haven't devoted a tremendous amount of time to the study of counterpoint, though I do intend to. Lately, when I'm not writing, I've been studying common practice harmony.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#3
Quote by Archeo Avis
They're "no-no's" exactly because they're so consonant. It destroys the individuality of the voices.

That said, I haven't devoted a tremendous amount of time to the study of counterpoint, though I do intend to. Lately, when I'm not writing, I've been studying common practice harmony.
That and because they leave the the tonality of the implied harmony of a measure ambiguous.

They're allowed on special occasions, like if theres more than 4 quarter beats of space between them (including strong beats), or if they're on weak beats and approached in different directions.

I once analysed metallica songs (low mans lyrics and a few othersa) from a counterpoint view, barely any harmonic fifths.
#4
so the favourites are 3rds and 6ths then i guess?

Obviously 4ths are the same as 5ths...

Are there any rules on how the interval changes in a sequence? for example, rather than moving through a scale harmonically in 3rds, can you change 3rd 5th 6th or something?

I'm pretty much just talking crap now, so do you know of any net based resource for learning the basics?
#5
I once analysed metallica songs (low mans lyrics and a few othersa) from a counterpoint view, barely any harmonic fifths.


I've recently begun listening to Metallica again, and I find myself constantly surprised by all the progressive elements of their music that I missed when I listened to them years ago. I can't believe I didn't notice to constantly shifting time signatures in Blackened.

Obviously 4ths are the same as 5ths...


That would depend on the context, and whether the fourth is placed on the top or the bottom.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#6
As in don't use parallel fifths or octaves when writing harmony? I guess they sound pretty boring, but they're also very stable and simple to use.
EDIT: Oh, so it's because of there extreme consonance that using them in a parallel harmony is discouraged, because it destroys each voices individuality?
Quote by Metalfreak777
Dude if i were you i'd look more at bands like Dragonforce, Dragonland, Dream Theatre and Power Quest, most of their songs are either in E major, A major, C major or D majhor

Last edited by Mayano at Oct 23, 2008,
#7
Quote by Mayano
As in don't use parallel fifths or octaves when writing harmony? I guess they just sound pretty boring, but they're also very stable and simple to use.


Counterpoint isn't harmony (per se). The point of counterpoint is that the notes work against each other, as opposed to the general concept of harmony, in which the notes being played are contributing to some whole. The stability of the octave and the fifth destroys the independence of the voices, and, as demon said, creates tonal ambiguity.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#8
Quote by Archeo Avis
Counterpoint isn't harmony (per se). The point of counterpoint is that the notes work against each other, as opposed to the general concept of harmony, in which the notes being played are contributing to some whole. The stability of the octave and the fifth destroys the independence of the voices, and, as demon said, creates tonal ambiguity.

Ok, I was just under the impression that the use of fifths and octaves was only "bad" in parallel harmony, but you're suggesting that they should generally be avoided even in passing in counterpoint?
Quote by Metalfreak777
Dude if i were you i'd look more at bands like Dragonforce, Dragonland, Dream Theatre and Power Quest, most of their songs are either in E major, A major, C major or D majhor

Last edited by Mayano at Oct 23, 2008,
#9
Quote by Mayano
Ok, I was just under the impression that the use of fifths and octaves was only "bad" in parallel harmony, but you're suggesting that they should generally be avoided even in passing in counterpoint?


What's generally avoided are parallel fifths and octaves, not the intervals altogether. Keep in mind that it's species counterpoint, an educational device, where this convention is most rigid. I can't imagine you'll find anyone who won't agree that if the use of either will result in an exceptionally pleasing line, you should feel free to to use them.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#10
Quote by Archeo Avis
The point of counterpoint is that the notes work against each other, as opposed to the general concept of harmony, in which the notes being played are contributing to some whole.
That's not how I see it. I think counterpoint is more about how the horizontal (melody) and the vertical (harmony) are related. Yes the lines are meant to be individual but they still do work together to become more than the sum of their parts.

Quote by Mayano
but you're suggesting that they should generally avoided even in passing in counterpoint?
As far as I know, only parallel perfects are 'bad', but the rules are flexible - you can bend them if it give's a more melodious counterpoint.

I read a bit of counterpoint 4 or 5 months ago. I'm going to get back into it once exams are over. I plan on making a thread about it, because there were some rules that weren't entirely clear.
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#11
I had another question (slightly off topic) regarding the generally accepted rules to composing a fugue. Whilst I state the counter subject in the second phrase, the second voice is answering the exposition. In the third phrase, should the second voice then be answering the first counter subject, and so on?

Quote by Ænimus Prime
That's not how I see it. I think counterpoint is more about how the horizontal (melody) and the vertical (harmony) are related. Yes the lines are meant to be individual but they still do work together to become more than the sum of their parts.

Yes, this is closer to how I saw the difference as well.
Quote by Metalfreak777
Dude if i were you i'd look more at bands like Dragonforce, Dragonland, Dream Theatre and Power Quest, most of their songs are either in E major, A major, C major or D majhor

#12
Quote by Archeo Avis
Keep in mind that it's species counterpoint, an educational device, where this convention is most rigid.
Writing completely in one specie (like how you would be told to write in formal classes) wont produce very good music, but the contrapuctual rules can be applied to all music. Sure some guys can do counterpoint well naturally without formal education (I think dave mustain used fourth species counterpoint in his song seven effectively and without being taught), but it's nice to know what you're doing and how and why instead of just doing it.

I see counterpoint as the art of combining two (or more) melodies of melodic individuality.

As a rule of thumb, good counterpoint means: each line (melody) sounds good even without the other lines, each line has as much independence as possible, each line has enough in common to sound related to the other line (I'm not sure if I agree with this), each measure has an implied harmony (isnt this a factor in every device of music?), each line is consonant with each other line (ever put two melodies on top of each other without using counterpoint, ever wondered why it sounded so messy?).

^taken straight from a counterpoint book a friend of mine borrowed to me.
#13
The problem with perfects is that 5ths and 8ves are just reflections of the note; it doesn't sound like two notes (particularly the 8ve) and if they move together, it only sounds like one line and if you only have one line you're not really writing counterpoint and from an academic point of view there is no point. Point?

Intervals of 4ths are avoided: 6/4 chords are only used ornamentally (cadential as an appogiatura, passing, neighbouring, idiomatically (the final hit before a cadenza) because they're not stable. (and fourths sound, when used in this context, like suspensions that should resolve to thirds).

When they say the lines are related they mean don't do something drastic like approach them completely differently stylistically.

The note about the implied harmony is important, because you should be aware of the harmony you're creating: some progressions are stronger than others.


Also if you approach Charlie Parker's lines from a species point of view (modified a bit: your CF is an entire chord, etc.) you get some good findings: specifically, his approach of consonances on strong beats and stepwise motion to control dissonances.
#14
Your melodic lines should move oppositely. If one melody goes down, the other should go up. That is one of the cardinal rules. Parallel thirds, or parallel motion of any kind for that matter, aren't generally acceptable either.

All melodic leaps of a third or more should be followed by a step in the opposite direction.

Been ages since I studied this stuff....

CT
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I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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#15
Counterpoint is the writing of two (or more) lines that, sound very different from one another, but when played together sound harmonious, right?

Im assuming thats why intervals of 8ths (because they are theoretically the same note) and 5ths are the worst to use, because the provide very little colour to the intertextuality of the lines.

Right?
Last edited by Galvanise69 at Oct 23, 2008,
#16
Yep.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#17
Quote by axemanchris
Your melodic lines should move oppositely. If one melody goes down, the other should go up. That is one of the cardinal rules. Parallel thirds, or parallel motion of any kind for that matter, aren't generally acceptable either.

All melodic leaps of a third or more should be followed by a step in the opposite direction.

Been ages since I studied this stuff....

CT
My treatise/books dont say that you HAVE to move oppositely (in contrary motion from now on), but it's encouraged. And all parallel motion isnt that bad either, you can use some parallel thirds and sixths and fourths (only on weak beats though) and possible sevenths if the notes are on weak beats and are moving degreewise. But parallel fifths, octaves, unisons are always banned.

All melodic leaps of a third or more should be followed by a step in the opposite direction.
Only really true with sixths and octaves. To extend on this, these bigs steps should be preceded another step in the opposite direction so your jump looks like this:


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or this:


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         0                    
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                               0
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Thats meant to be a staff by the way.

But this rule is only when you're writing for singers, as massive jumps are hard to sing.