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Also, some of the more stringent restrictions of strict counterpoint especially those derived from sixteenth century practice are waived, Fifth florid species is not undertaken as such because it resembles the free counterpoint that students will write in later assignments. The C clefs, traditionally employed in earlier counterpoint texts and even some recent ones have not been used here, since most students do not have a real working com- mand of them and since it seems doubtful that the problem of learning to use them Should be coupled with the process of learning counterpoint.
Given the wide influence of Schenker theory on musical analysis today, the ques- tion arose as to whether there should be an attempt to incorporate that approach in this book. After considerable discussion with Schenker specialists and other teachers, it was decided that that was inadvisable, for several reasons: 1 a wholesale revamping of the book to include a proper explanation of Schenker theory and the application of x Preface it to the musical examples was obviously unfeasible, and it was felt that the sporadic inctusion of Schenker concepts might amount to a superficial treatment of the subject and perhaps prove more confusing than helpful; 2 counterpoint books with a strong Schenkerian orientation are already available see the bibliography ; 3 unless stu- dents have had a Schenkerian background in their first two years of theory, it seems doubtful that they would be ready to absorb Schenker principles in their junior year—the time when most students take counterpoint.
Schools with Schenker courses generally offer them at the graduate level. The author is indebted to many persons who have made valuable suggestions in connection with this book since its first edition appeared in Among these are Dr. Donald Grantham, Dr. Patrick MeCreless, Mrs. Janet MoGaughey, Dr. John Rothgeb, Dr.
William Thomson, the late Dr. Richard Hoppin and the late Dr. Paul Pisk. From that point on there is likely to be some variation in procedure from school to school, depending on the amount of time allotted to the course, on the emphasis, and on the backgrounds ofthe students involved. Following are some possible departures, from a consecutive and complete coverage of the book. After two-voice exercises in the various species have been done, the instructor may elect to have students use a passacaglia theme from the Workbook page 36 as a CE, against which another voice is to be added, using, in turn, , and In that case, Chapter 19 should be read first.
It is placed relatively late in the book because actual passacaglias normally involve at least four voices. In either case, students should read Chapter 13 Imitation in Three Voices firs; itis organized as a separate chapter precisely so that it can serve as preparation for work on the three-part invention, the trio sonata, or the three-voice fugue.
Preface xi 5. Chapter 18, concerning forms based on the chorale, may be studied earlier before fugue if desired. In that case, it is advisable to provide some basic informa- tion on fugal procedure in order that chorale-based works involving that element will bbe understandable, Atthe end of each chapter a list of suggested assignments is given, Certain of these involve exercises contained in Counterpoint Workbook, 4th ed.
Prentice Hall, , In such cases the appropriate page numbers in the Workbook are cited. It is not intended that all the suggested assignments be done by any one student or class.
Proj- ects of varying difficulty and scope have been included with a view to meeting the needs of different teaching situations. Itis strongly recommended that students be given the opportunity to hear in class or through recordings on library reserve as many examples as possible of the forms they are studying, While pianists and organists are likely to have considerable acquain- tance with Baroque music especially J. While a limited understanding of these elements may be gained through analysis alone, experience has shown that they come alive and are grasped in a more intimate way through the actual writing of contrapuntal examples.
Furthermore, students including those who protest that they have no compositional ability often discover the special satisfaction that can come from creating music. For student composers, the writing aspect is acknowledged to be a valuable part of their training, Even though the styles oftheir own compositions will presumably be far removed from much earlier styles, the technical control gained in working with linear relationships has been found to carry over into composition using contemporary idioms.
Theory majots, though less likely to be involved in the creative aspect, must know the Subject thoroughly, not only because it is important from an analytical standpoint but because they may well be called upon to teach it in their future work. A question might arise as to whether students in jazz programs and those planning to work with music for mass media should take counterpoint. That is, in spite of the many changes and stylistic innovations in music during the past three hundred years or so, the fundamental approach to polyphony remained more or less constant until the late nineteenth century.
At that time impressionism, dodecaphony, and other trends brought about major changes in musical techniques. In line with this view, a few musical examples by composers of later periods Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Franck are included in the book The choice of the eighteenth-century style as the basis for this text does not imply any lack of regard for the beauties of sixteenth-century counterpoint or any sugges- tion that one style is more worthwhile than the other as an object of study.
An inti- mate acquaintance with both is part of the background of every well-trained musician, The author does feel, however, that the eighteenth-century style is best taught first, simply because it underlies the great body of music that is most familiar to students. Because the styles of these two periods differ in spirit, technical con- struction, and generally the use of a text, they call for different courses, or atleast separate parts of the same course.
An aitempt to fuse them into one composite style will only produce a synthetic result that has no counterpart in actual music. One of the earliest treatises on the subject—and probably the best known—is contained in Gradus ad Parnassum Steps fo Parnassus by Johann Joseph Fux , which was published in But the greatest portion was devoted to basic lessons in counterpoint, and that section is fortunately, available in a translation by Alfred Mann entitled The Study of Counterpoint.
Unfortunately, the monumental contribution of J, 8. Bach and other Baroque mas- ters was largely ignored by teachers of that era. Thus there existed a curious situation in which a system of counterpoint instruction widely accepted as the only authentic one persisted even though it failed to take into account the important contrapuntal music of a full century earlier.
While eighteenth-century counterpoint puts considerable emphasis on the linear or horizontal aspect of music, itis also very much concerned with the vertical combi- nation of tones; that is, the lines heard together must outline clear-cut and strong hat- monic progressions.
The basic exercises are not intended to involve a mettical pulse, and harmonic implications do not enter in. The emphasis is rather on vertical intervals, and on the motion of the added voice in relation to the cantus firmus; about these aspects there are rather severe restrictions.
It often makes use of exercises in the species—but gener- ally in a modified way that involves a sense of meter and harmonic implications as in this book. The beginnings of the free-counterpoint concept can be traced back as far as the writings of Johann Philipp Kimberger Although in time that approach gained adherents such as Jadassohn, Riemann, and Kurth , actual teaching in that fashion did not become widespread until the late nineteenth century.
Strict and free counterpoint have long coexisted and will probably continue to do soa situation reflecting the divergence of opinion about their respective merits among theorists.
Among the most important of these are a sense of direction and a climax point, both of which contribute toa clear-cut and interesting melodic contour. Others concern such matters as a pleasing balance between con- junct and disjunct motion and between ascending and descending motion. Because of the many different possibilities for melodic contour, it is impractical to attempt a complete cataloguing of them; but certain broad types will be mentioned next.
In Example 1a the high point is about a third ofthe way through, in 1b slightly beyond the midpoint, and in Ie closer to the end, Placement of it somewhere in the second half is the most usual arrangement, since that allows for a sense of buildup to the high point and sustains interest most effectively.
Book II, Fugue 8 Example te The opposite pattern, one that moves downward and then returns to the original pitch area, is shown in Example 2. However, the very absence of that element in this pas- sage contributes to its beautifully serene quality Ifa line first descends, then rises to a point higher than that of the beginning, a clear sense of pitch climax can result Example 3.
A feeling of climax in a melodic line is of eourse not dependent on pitch alone Other factors such as duration, dynamic level, and placement of notes within the melody enter in. For example, a note which, in terms of pitch, would not command particular attention may be made more important by means of a longer value agogic accent or a dynamic accent while a relatively high pitch that is passed over quickly may not have the climactic effect it would have if sustained, In case a pitch climax is desired, it is generally best to avoid having the line move to the same high point or the same low point whichever is involved more than once.
Some melodies involve a kind of pivotal pattern, in which the line centers around particular note or area the note D in Example Sa, C in 5b. C, Book 1, Fugue 2 ESS te Notice, though, that in such cases the intentional nature of the return to the pivotal Note is obvious to the ear. Unless such a clearly planned pattern is apparent, a melody that keeps doubling back over the same notes will sound pointlessly repetitious.
Also to be noted is the fact that melodies of the pivotal variety generally contain, in addi- tion to the recurring pitches, elements that give a sense of progression and direction. For instance, in Examples Sa and Sh certain notes indicated by beamed arrows form lines that move by step step-progressions. This feature will receive further com- "ment in the next section. The first seven of these situations are either discussed elsewhere in this book or are self-evident.
But the last may call for some explanation here. A step-progtession is a series of usually nonadjacent notes in a melody that form a stepwise succes- sion; the strong melodic relationship of a second causes those notes to be heard as a line even though other notes intervene.
Some melodies, such as the ones shown in Examples 5b and 26, contain a single step-progression. Others involve several that start and stop at different points. Hindemiths The Craf of Musical Composition includes examples in which as many a sx different step.
In certain cases e. Although a harmonic basis is likely to be most definite when two or more lines are involved, harmonic rhythm is apparent even in a single melodic line that suggests a specific chordal background In the style we are considering, the tonality is invariably established at or near the beginning of a melody.
Fugue subjects and invention motives nearly always begin on either the tonic or the dominant note, occasionally on the leading tone or the super- tonic as an anacrusis. Such lines obviously involve a compound contour. We should now review certain specific points involved in successful melody writing: 1. Example 11 shows the tendencies of the active steps in C major.
Example 13 12 The Single Melodie Line The fourth degree, being only a half step above the third, most often moves in that direction rather than a whole step in the opposite direction. Similarly, the seventh degree tends to move to the closest scale tone, the tonic a half step above.
Example 14 a 45 The second scale degree is sometimes considered active as well, but it has less sense of gravitational pull than the fourth, sixth, or seventh degrees. Its most basic tendency is down to the tonic note, though it often moves up to the third of the scale instead In minor, the harmonic minor scale Example 15 is normally the basis for implied vertical harmonies in this style, in order that the dominant chord will be major, the subdominant, minor.
Example 15 In this scale, the tendencies of active steps are the same as those in major, even though different interval relationships are involved in two cases; that is, the fourth degree is a whole step above the third and the sixth degree a halfstep above the fifth.
But harmonic background also plays an jmportant part in the choice of one or the other. There are times when the ascending form must be used in a descending passage in order to imply the major dominant chord Example 17a ; and the descending form is sometimes seen in an ascending. Example 17a BACH: aes aries bee Book I, Fugue 2 It should be apparent, however, that in the case of the melodic minor scale the normal tendency of the raised sixth and seventh degrees is upward, that of the lowered sixth and seventh degrees, downward In any case, the awkward and unvocal interval of an augmented 2nd that occurs between the unaltered sixth scale step and the raised seventh step A-flat to B-natural in C minor is generally avoided in melodic lines.
The exceptions are chiefly in pas- sages that outline a diminished seventh chord Example Even in a single melodic line certain tones may be heard as nonharmonic to implied harmonies and should be resolved. Since this point is much more likely to arise as a problem in connection with two-voice exercises to be done later, further discussion of itis being reserved for Chapter 4 3.
When two or more leaps are made in the same direction, the ear interprets all the notes as belonging to the same harmony, assuming that none of them is clearly nonharmonic. Therefore, consecutive leaps should involve only notes that form a har- mony acceptable in the style being used. In the idiom we are studying, such sueces- sions as the following are generally ruled out for this reason: Example 20 ath ath Sed 7th 4h Th sth Sth The Single Melodic Line 15 If, however, the last note in each case is heard as being nonharmonic and is then resolved, most such successions become usable.
After a large leap it is usually best to have the melody turn in the opposite direction Examples Example 21 5. As a very general rule, a leap followed by stepwise motion is preferable to stepwise motion followed by a leap Example It tends to crop up most often in student counterpoint with the leap between the last fraction of one beat and the first note of the next, as in Examples 22h and d. In slower-moving note values the result is slightly better, hough still weak, especially ifthe leap is over the bar line, as in Example 23a.
The sudden introduction of a leap after stepwise motion seems to call attention to itself more at that point, possibly because there is normally a harmonic change there. In addition, most sequences have a linear function, For instance, in Example 25 note the step-progressions within the upper voice. Only the top one is indicated here. For instance, in Example 26 the upward leap of a 7th D to C with an unexpectedly long value on the top note is entirely convincing because of its confirmation in the sequence and because of the parallel resolutions of active tones C to B and E to D.
Kennan - Counterpoint
Kent Kennan Counterpoint