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#1047093 - 05/22/08 07:06 AM Examples Of Counterpoint
Jamie147 Offline
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Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 212
Loc: England, UK
I've started learning Mozart's K576 1st movement and have not had too much trouble learning the first 30 seconds but the sections I'm approaching which gives me the most exitement I feel will be the most demanding yet. I've been mentally preparing myself for this 'mission' by getting to grips with compound time signatures in particular 6/8 time and reading up on counterpoint. I assume this piece contains examples of counterpoint but I may be wrong. My dictionary definitions of counterpoint are simply:

1. Music. the art of combining melodies.
2. Music. the texture resulting from the combining of individual melodic lines.
3. a melody composed to be combined with another melody.
4. Also called counterpoint rhythm. Prosody. syncopation (def. 2).
5. any element that is juxtaposed and contrasted with another.
–verb (used with object)
6. to emphasize or clarify by contrast or juxtaposition.

These seem quite straight forward but the Wikipedia entry goes in to great detail about criteria that needs to be fulfilled before counterpoint is achieved which is beyond me.

My query is what basic example of counterpoint is there? Is it present in K545 or K576? Is a long time player yet untrained and ungraded person like myself foolish to attempt a grade 8 piece? After playing K545 in to the ground I feel up to the task but know it will be a hard slog and my hands will be playing more independantly than ever. My understanding is that independant playing is the basis of counterpoint. What are the nuts and bolts of counterpoint?

Kind Regards,

Jamie
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#1047094 - 05/22/08 09:08 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Ilia20 Offline
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Registered: 05/19/08
Posts: 53
Loc: Paris
Hello Jamie,

Interserting thread, I'm very much interestd in conterpoint.


Again I feel very limited by my apprximate english to speak freely about the subject.

Basically, the conterpoint is "the juxtaposition of melodic lines" but it has a lot of other rules, these rules vary a lot from a period to another and are principally about consonance, non-harmonic relation and melodic lines motion...These rules are very numerous but you can have a good approach in the wiki article.

As for the Mozart sonatas, the K545 sonata is almost the exact OPPOsite of a contrapuntal writing by its heavy use of a bass (alberti bass in this case for the left hand, 1-2-3-2-1...you see ?)

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#1047095 - 05/22/08 09:19 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
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Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Hi Jamie,

You might get a lot more information by posting this in the Pianists Corner or the Teacher's Forum. Be sure to "knock" if you post in the later. ;\) JK

I'm not an expert, but here is what I know. When I think of counterpoint, I tend to think of Bach. For examples, I'd probably start looking at the Inventions, Sinfonias (aka Three Part Inventions) and the Fugues from the Well Tempered Clavier.

After searching online, I came across the following page, which has more information on counterpoint than I feel ready to start digging into:

http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory33.htm

Which contains the table of contents to this page:

http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/personnel/Belkin/bk.C/0.html

(hmmmmm. Lot's of good information on this site. I think I need to go through his pages.)

Hope this helps.
Rich
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#1047096 - 05/22/08 09:39 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Studio Joe Offline
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Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
I have no formal training in music theory, but from reading and self study, I see counterpoint as separate melodies that when played together form the chords of the song. Just like in a hymn book; soprano, alto, tenor, and bass each have their own melodies and when sang together form the same chords that you would use if strumming along with a guitar.
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#1047097 - 05/22/08 09:40 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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I got a small porthole view of what counterpoint is about when I was invited to the composer's lounge to participate in an exercise called "Fux Species 1". I got the impression from this, that the best way to understand counterpoint might be to work on counterpoint in theory.

My very limited understanding of counterpoint is that essentially you have two melodies, but that are related to each other, which are happening at the same time, and this is the horizontal movement. At the same time the melodies will be different intervals apart (example top line may go AB, bottom line goes FF, so the first two notes are FA which are a third apart, the next two notes are FB which are a fourth apart).

My Oxford concludes by saying "..the percetion of the horizontal and vertical relationship simultaneously is the perception of counterpoint."

The exercise in the composer's lounge made that clear to me, and you can even see different people's attempts in various stages. I don't know if this could help at all when playing a piece.

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#1047098 - 05/22/08 11:25 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
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Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Just a thought here -

I'm not sure if you are familiar with Barbershop Quartets, but to me this is a contemporary example of a counterpuntal type of music.

Rich
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#1047099 - 05/22/08 01:28 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
TrapperJohn Offline
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Posts: 3600
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Jamie147 - here are some very basic guidelines for counterpoint or countermelody:

Countermelody can be set up as a "harmony line" where it essentially parallels the main melody at a given interval (say a 3rd below) and more or less duplicates the rhythmic pattern of the main melody.

Countermelody can also be used in a "call-and response" approach where the countermelody "answers" the main melody, basically following the pattern of the main melody and serving to fill in gaps in that main melody.

Countermelody can be completely independent of the main melody - not paralleling it at a set interval, nor following it's rhythmic patterns, nor "answering" it, but weaving in and around with a logic and design of it's own.

All three of the above techniques for countermelodies can be combined in one composition.

The countermelody should not "clash" (be dissonant) with the main melody (except rarely and by specific ddesign).

The notes in the countermelody should be at least [/b] an interval of a 3rd distant from the main melody.

The countermelody should not cross the main melody (except rarely and by specific design).

The countermelody should be strong or good enough to stand on it's own, but still never (or seldom) overwhelm the main melody. This is a tough one.

There's alot more to it than this, but this should give yoy something to work with for starters.

Regards, JF
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#1047100 - 05/22/08 01:50 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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 Quote:
Countermelody can be set up as a "harmony line" where it essentially parallels the main melody at a given interval (say a 3rd below) and more or less duplicates the rhythmic pattern of the main melody.
Am I right that countermelody and counterpoint are not the same thing, but may share some similarities (more than one melody)? For example, I think that parallels going along a given interval is something that is forbidden in counterpoint except for rare occasions. Are you saying, Frank, that working with countermelody is a good way to start, before venturing into counterpoint?

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#1047101 - 05/22/08 05:19 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
TrapperJohn Offline
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Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Keystring - my understanding is that Countermelody [/b] and Counterpoint [/b] are essentially the same thing, and I use the terms interchangeably. When one arranges in counterpoint one is fundamentally creating a melody line that run concurrently with but "counter" to the main melody. In three and four part counterpoint you will have multiple melodies running counter to the main melody.

While you are completely correct that one of the basic rules of counterpoint is to aviod overusing parallel intervals, when one uses a countermelody to provide essentially a "harmony line" (as opposed to a separate, unique "countermelody" line) then one of the easiest ways to do this is to hold a constant (or fairly constant) interval of, say, a 3rd or a 6th for extended sections of the piece (although you may want to vary the interval from section to section). So, here it's basically serving a dual function - countermelody and simple harmony. The duplication of the rhythmic pattern between the main and countermelodies also adds to the overall effect of this.

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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#1047102 - 05/22/08 05:39 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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 Quote:
Keystring - my understanding is that Countermelody and Counterpoint are essentially the same thing, and I use the terms interchangeably
Let me check up on that for my own understanding as well.

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#1047103 - 05/22/08 07:31 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Music Major Offline
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Loc: Tampa, FL
A somewhat comprehensive overview of the Theory of counterpoint would be to do a study of Fux.

As keystrings mentioned...

Fux: species 1, and up through species 5.

There are many specific rules for movement in both the vertical(intervals) and horizontal(timewise) directions. There are progressively more freedoms allowed as the species increases, but lessons are clearer in the earlier species.
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Yamaha S90 --------------- SS-69 Grand
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#1047104 - 05/22/08 11:29 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
Some brief observations:

I would distinguish between "counterpoint" and a "countermelody" - counterpoint is combining two or more melodic lines; the countermelody to be strictly accurate is one of those lines. So, you write a melody. You add a countermelody, and voila! You have counterpoint \:\) .

Back to the OP's question on counterpoint in Mozart K576 - the challenging passage in this first movement is the section 5 bars or so into the development (ie after the repeat sign), and here the main theme is treated contrapuntally - both hands play it, but offset (like singing a round in two parts). K545, on the other hand, is more melody with chordal (or broken chord) accompaniment.

By the way, Jamie, I think your avatar is cute \:D
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#1047105 - 05/23/08 12:39 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Frank:
In three and four part counterpoint you will have multiple melodies running counter to the main melody. [/b]
in 3, 4 and however many parts you will still typically have only the subject and counter subject not one melody each line. In opera it sometimes makes sense and it's clever to have multiple characters singing at the same time with different tunes.

Re: parallels - 5ths and 8ths are out because the lines merge and become one, so your texture disappears. 3rds and 6ths are fine. 4ths just sound weird.
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#1047106 - 05/23/08 04:45 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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When the statement was made that counterpoint and countermelody are the same thing, and that the terms can be used interchangeably, I begged the question because if a basic concept is misdefined, it leads to subsequent confusion. The OP is trying to learn about counterpoint for the first time and definitions are important. Actually, since I'm at the beginning of my knowledge, I don't want to get confused either. ;\)

My "Harvard Concise" has a separate definition for counterpoint and countermelody.

"Countermelody: In a piece whose texture consists clearly of a melody with accompaniment, an accompanying part with distinct, though subordinate, melodic interest."

In other words there is a second melody that is subordinate to the first, and in John Frank's description it often simply follows along a few notes below so that it will sound harmonious. This is not the nature of counterpoint.

The definition of counterpoint has already been mentioned further up. The actual definition runs two pages and 5 columns in the dictionary.

The main idea in counterpoint is that you may have two or more distinct melodies which are related along themes, but you also have things happening along the intervals of the various voices. The movement along the intervals is a component of the music and it probably affects us aesthetically even if we don't understand it. You're listening to two things. I don't think it can be counterpoint without that element. And, if I understand correctly, there is no subordinate voice - all voices are equal. I invite correction if I have misunderstood anything.

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#1047107 - 05/23/08 05:21 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
TrapperJohn Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3600
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:

I would distinguish between "counterpoint" and a "countermelody" - counterpoint is combining two or more melodic lines; the countermelody to be strictly accurate is one of those lines. So, you write a melody. You add a countermelody, and voila! You have counterpoint \:\) .

[/b]
Hi Keystring - please note that currawong makes a nice distinction between countermelody and counterpoint - a distinction that is often taken for granted or overlooked when the two terms are frequently used interchangeably. that is, counterpoint is the general "concept" or process or practice while countermelody is the means of realizing of affecting that process. As stated: you write a melody, add a countermelody(ies), and thus have created counterpoint. This accurate distinction doesn't change the fact the the two terms are commonly used interchageably.

When I illustrated the use of a countermelody in my first example (among several) to create a basic "harmony line" to a main melody (following the rhythmic pattern of the main melody at a more or less constant interval) it was to show one fundamental use of an elementary form of counterpoint - the added countermelody in this one case is, as I said, serving a dual function - adding harmony to the main melody and supplying the piece with a 2nd melody (a countermelody) - this 2nd role of the countermelody (acting as a 2nd melody line) exists and is real and functional no matter how much it parallels the main melody and no matter how much harmony it provides. In general, counterpoint countermelodies provide harmony to the main melody at many points (otherwise they would be constantly dissonant). My simple example was just one easy way (among many) to do this.

But we are in real danger now of hijacking this thread to Jamie147's possible chagrin \:\)

Regards, JF
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Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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#1047108 - 05/23/08 05:25 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Late Beginner Offline
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Hi KS,

I think you've missed the point. If I understand it correctly, "Counter-melody" isn't some sort of rival style, it's a way of describing an essential element of Counterpoint, which is that it has one or more counter-melodies running alongside the main melody. They aren't two different things - one is part of the other, and they both refer to the same thing, which is another way of looking at polyphony - or the art of making several noises at once, and getting away with it. ;\)

Chris

EDIT: OOPS! beaten to the post. \:o
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#1047109 - 05/23/08 06:07 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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.

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#1047110 - 05/23/08 06:15 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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 Quote:
... think you've missed the point
I think I got the point, and I don't know if the point is correct. That is what I want to have clarified. The point is that counterpoint has a main melody and subordinate countering melodies. My sense is that this is not true, and will lead to a misunderstanding of the essential nature of counterpoint.

I would like an expert who has studied this in sufficient depth to clarify because I think it's important.

Namely, is there countermelody in counterpoint? Can the two terms be used synonymously?

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#1047111 - 05/23/08 06:50 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
TrapperJohn Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3600
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:

I would like an expert who has studied this in sufficient depth to clarify because I think it's important. [/b]

Keystring - are you implying that because my definition of counterpoint doesn't agree with yours that I am thus not an expert and that I haven't studied counerpoint in sufficient depth? Isn't this just a tad presumptious on your part (not to mention potentially insulting)? Will this "expert" only be considered an expert if he/she agrees with you? How many such "expert" opinions will it take to settle the question? Maybe we should do a poll ;\) .

Namely, is there countermelody in counterpoint? Can the two terms be used synonymously? [/b]
If there isn't a countermelody (a 2nd melody, at least) in counterpoint then I don't know what else there would be in counterpoint. It's the whole idea, point and purpose.

Regards (and with apologies to Jamie for the rude hijacking - hope you're finding at least some of this interesting and/or informative and/or amusing \:\) , JF
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Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1047112 - 05/23/08 06:56 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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John Frank, I have no idea of your expertise, or what you have studied. I know that **I** have no expertise. At this moment I am confused, because up to now I have understood that countermelody and counterpoint are distinct, and that there is no subordinate melody in counterpoint. I have also understood that you would not have continual parallel motion. You have proposed both things as elements of counterpoint. At this point, your explanation has confused me since it runs contrary to what I have understood so far. \:\(

I did not know that you have done formal studies in music, and I have no way of knowing who is an expert in this forum, and who is not. My apologies for seeming to call your knowledge into question. That was not my intention.

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#1047113 - 05/23/08 06:57 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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 Quote:
If there isn't a countermelody (a 2nd melody, at least) in counterpoint then I don't know what else there would be in counterpoint. It's the whole idea, point and purpose.
I understand that countermelody is a subordinate melody. I thought that all melodies were equal in counterpoint. Would you clarify both points? They are the source of my confusion.

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#1047114 - 05/23/08 07:35 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
TrapperJohn Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by John Frank:
The countermelody should not "clash" (be dissonant) with the main melody (except rarely and by specific design).

The notes in the countermelody should be at least [/b] an interval of a 3rd distant from the main melody.

The countermelody should not cross the main melody (except rarely and by specific design).

The countermelody should be strong or good enough to stand on it's own, but still never (or seldom) overwhelm the main melody. This is a tough one.

[/b]
Keysring - above I quote my original post in this thread where I discuss just a few of the most basic guidelines for establishing counterpoint.

Notice the last (4th) one - it's always been my understanding of counterpoint that the counterpoint melody(ies) - which is to say the countermelody(ies) - should predominately be subordinate to the main melody. The main melody is called that precisely because it is intended to stand out, or dominate, while the countermelody (or 2nd, 3rd, etc. melodies) should support and supplement the main melody but seldom dominate or overwhelm it. However, that being said, the countermelody should be and usually is complex and melodic enough to stand on it's own as a very strong, independent line - strong enough to have it's own countermelody!

This does not rule out the possiblity that in some pieces (or sections of pieces) the countermelody will be roughly equal in complexity and prominence to the main melody. But most of the time it is (and probably should be) subordinate to thye main melody.

Perhaps the problem is in my use of the term "countermelody" to refer to tese subordinate, secondary melodies (instead of just simply calling them the 2nd, 3rd, etc. melody). But the interchangeable use of the terms counterpoint and countermelody is fairly common, although to say it again, the first refers to the process and the second to the technique of actualizing that process.

BTW - I was only kidding about being insulted by you not considering me an expert \:\)

regards, JF
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Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1047115 - 05/23/08 07:43 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
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Thank you for the clarifications, John Frank. \:\)

Is it possible, then, that "countermelody" can also be used to refer to something done in simpler music which has nothing to do with counterpoint?

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#1047116 - 05/23/08 07:46 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
ROMagister Offline
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Older pop example: "Patricia" by Damasio Perez Prado's band. Two melodies, one on organ, one of the brass guys. Then they meld well, then the roles shift (a sort of canon form ?) adding a third theme.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JA6VBp4VT_A

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#1047117 - 05/23/08 08:53 AM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Music Major Offline
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Loc: Tampa, FL
Here is a link which will talk very clearly about Counterpoint

CF refers to cantus firmus

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th are the links for proper form and examples of 1st through 5th species form. If you go though the site you will see that countermelody is not really in the discussion (but melody as a counterpoint to the cantus firmus is discussed in species 1)

Discusion of Fux - Gradus ad Parnassum
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Yamaha S90 --------------- SS-69 Grand
The most important thing in music is what is not in the notes.

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#1047118 - 05/23/08 12:14 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Harmosis Offline
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Loc: California
Hi everyone,

I think you all brought up some very good points. The concept of counterpoint can be confusing because of all the different aspects of it. When the term (contrapunctus) first appeared in writing c.1350, it simply meant "note against note." However, it should be understood that, at the time, it was taken for granted that all the concurrent melodic lines in a composition were independent.[/b] Composers had already been writing in true polyphony, but now the harmonic (vertical) aspect was getting more attention. So really, one important aspect of counterpoint is line independence.

A true countermelody would be one that is melodically and rhythmically independent. So, simply adding parallel 3rd's (or 6th's, etc) to an existing melody does not constitute a countermelody. It is merely adding magnitude to the existing melody. They will both be heard as a single line. This is why treatises like Fux's mandate the avoidance of too many parallel imperfect consonances, and prohibit altogether the use of parallel perfect consonances.

Equality of voices is an important aspect of polyphony. If you a have a two-voice texture, and one voice is clearly dominant (and one voice is supportive), you have a homophonic texture, not polyphonic. This is not to say that there aren't some grey areas, since harmony is a result of polyphony.

Strict counterpoint has many rules governing melodic and harmonic motion (see Fux), which results in independent melodic curves, carefully prepared and resolved dissonances, more-or-less pleasing harmony (if not functional), and well-defined cadences. In general, the term, "counterpoint," would certainly refer to simultaneous independent lines and good voice-leading. In reference to the original poster, I would recommend listening to any of Bach's fugues for good examples of counterpoint/polyphony.

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#1047119 - 05/23/08 02:52 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
Betty Patnude Offline
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In my opinion, counterpoint and counter melodies, and anything intricate, can not be understood just by reading about them.

One should start the journey to understanding these very high level "executions" through their mind and body working to bring them into sound. It is hard work. It must start simply with an introduction, and gradually brought to complexity through working with the music and the human. It is about movement.

Also, keystring, it is quite a disadvantage to partipate where experts - musicians who have mastered the process - can talk, write, and do the challenges with great perception of the requirements at hand and expertise to get through the complications of preparing such music.

This I believe to be an acquired skill one step at a time, well instructed from a master teacher, and well learned by an accomplished student on the instrument.

Definitions in theory books can be misleading to anyone who has not been traveling on the past of music development in a sequential way.

It is not helpful to you to jump into this level of conversation about something so difficult. Arrival here, I think, is for the musician who climbed the mountain every step of the way and is very well prepared for this next step.

Forgive me if my philosophy about this seems to be negatively stated - I see it as a fact of life.

No matter how well someone would "want to be" informed, this is a troublesome area, like the 2 against 3 in another topic, which is perplexing and aggravating to many learning it for the first time.

I also consider that I would have no reason to discuss this with a piano student if they were not ready for it.

I would feel as a experienced piano teacher that I would need to say "Trust Me" as in another column, and that too, caused a problem for some who just want to ask any question that comes to mind, put the teachers to the test, and take conversations in directions they are not meant to go in.

This is my opinion. My opinions seem to get me in a lot of trouble. I will state this one anyway. No one ever wants to hear that they are not ready for a particular piece because they don't have the preparation steps to their credit.

Bungee jumping from the piano bench, so to speak!

Betty

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#1047120 - 05/23/08 07:15 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
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Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi again,

Harmosis nails it in the post above.

In my opinion, it's also probably worth remembering that the origins of counterpoint were firmly entwined with the long tradition of church choral music where the "gold standard" was the human voice (which is great at singing a single melody line but isn't that good at singing chords. ;\) )

It seems that there were many variations on what was seen as 'true counterpoint' and which was 'polyphony' - e.g. arguing about how different each melody had to be, and to what degree one could directly reflect another. Some styles specified a main melody that the other melodies in some ways deferred to (a "cantus firmus" or fixed song) whereas others didn't. The point is that it's a different, and trickier, business than just writing a single melody and filling it out with a bunch of directly related chords, which is what we are probably more familiar with today.

The best choral music of the day was, and still is, sublimely beautiful. And, much as we instrumentalists might not like it, the human voice still is the musical gold standard. \:\)

One way to get a feel for what it's like is to listen to choral music by composers like Palestrina (whose style Fux was trying to pin down with his guide book) Tallis, Josquin, Byrd etc sung by somebody like the Tallis Scholars. It's relatively easy to hear the concept of various different melodies in action, because the individual melody lines are carried by distinctive voices - soprano, tenor, bass, alto, etc - so are easier to follow.

I'm listening to some as I type now, and it's meltingly, exquisitely lovely....

Chris
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#1047121 - 05/23/08 08:09 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
 Quote:

Also, keystring, it is quite a disadvantage to partipate where experts - musicians who have mastered the process - can talk, write, and do the challenges with great perception of the requirements at hand and expertise to get through the complications of preparing such music.

Betty, have you carefully read this thread from beginning to end. Are you aware of what dialogues I have had and for which purpose? Can you be so certain of my approach and the reason for my participation?

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#1047122 - 05/23/08 08:21 PM Re: Examples Of Counterpoint
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3600
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Harmosis:
A true countermelody would be one that is melodically and rhythmically independent. So, simply adding parallel 3rd's (or 6th's, etc) to an existing melody does not constitute a countermelody. It is merely adding magnitude to the existing melody. They will both be heard as a single line. This is why treatises like Fux's mandate the avoidance of too many parallel imperfect consonances, and prohibit altogether the use of parallel perfect consonances.
[/b]
Well, granted a 2nd melody line paralleling the main melody at a constant interval of, say, a 3rd below is certainly not a very complex or sophisticated or advanced or classic or even "true" countermelody in the time-honored textbook sense as defined and mandated by Fux (and other authorities), And beyond that in actual practice it is far too simple or easy or basic or trite or boring or tedious or monotonous.

But fundamentally it is a countermelody. And it's use in this regard does constitute counterpoint, of sorts. While in this context it serves probably more of a harmonic function than a counterpoint function, nevertheless - as simple and basic and tedious as it is - it is a separate and unique and independent melody line, whether it is played in the LH or as two-part writing for the RH, and this is correct even if it duplicated the rhythm of the main melody exactly. Obviously, it can be played by itself and will more than likely sound fairly good (assuming the main melody sonds good) - in fact it may sound alot like the main melody played in a different key.

I'm not sure about it increasing the "magnitude" of the main melody (if by magnitude you mean strength or volume) but this 2nd melody certainly can be heard as a separate, independent melody line even with perfect synchronization of the rhythmic content of each melody line. As I said, it's not sophisticated but it is counterpoint simply by the mere fact of two separate, independent melodies being played simultaneously, no matter how crude and basic.

Which begs the question: How much variation must there be rhythmically, afterall, before melodies are considered "true" counterpoint? What does Mr. Fux mandate here?

Regards, JF
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