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#1149397 - 08/07/07 07:23 PM Counterpoint text anyone
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 240
Loc: UK
Can anyone recommend me a simple and transparent text on counterpoint please?
I am already a musician (sax), know my chords and scales but am not a pianist (though am working on this). I am looking at something which can get the simplest points across in a choerent easy to understand way. I have read Faux and found the language and pre -modern harmony concepts a bit of a barrier.

Anything up to date?



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#1149398 - 08/07/07 08:08 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
A lot of people like Kent Kennan's.
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#1149399 - 08/07/07 08:21 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
'fredo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 45
Loc: San Bernardino, California
It's not new, but I liked Walter Piston's writing.
I know the music ups and down.

#1149400 - 08/08/07 02:36 AM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 240
Loc: UK
Perhaps I should of said but I have also read Piston. It's very erudite but sometimes when I am trying to get to grips with new knowledge and get it down to basic simplicities then I buy a book for 12 year olds (I am well over this age) I am looking for something which will contain the quintessence of the idea.

Thanks for the input though I will check out the Kennan


#1149401 - 08/08/07 03:20 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
superlocrian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Dallas, TX
The Fux book is modal and not tonal, although the version that Mozart and those guys used was adapted to tonal music by Albrechtsberger. The "species" approach is great, you just need to adapt it to modern cadence types with leading tones and functional harmony. It will still work though. I do not know of a modern text that is awesome. Hmmm, this might turn into a Dissertation idea . . . (BTW- Although Kent Kennan was a great composer, I HATE his counterpoint text. It is full of mistakes and poorly written IMHO)

#1149402 - 08/08/07 11:44 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 240
Loc: UK
One of the constant themes I focus on in music is siplification - if I learn to simplify something then after this complexity becomes easy. If I can understand like a child I feel this is progress. Mnay of the musical texts I have read make academically accurate distinctions which alothough illuninating in a small way, can obscure the simplicity fo the truth

As I remember the Fux only used some of the modern (7) modes, and the concept of the major scale, though implied had not yet been developed

I am not sure what is meant by tonal music in this context. I understand that a modal approach can be taken to counterpoint, or a major minor approach. Muy background is jazz and I am familiar with modes in this context, I believe Fux is referring to Church modes
Will take up the thoughts about using leading tones - still scratching around trying to get my head around the different paradigms and merge them I like the idea of Kennon's written exercises as I fully understand I need to get from intellect to pragmatic understanding


#1149403 - 08/09/07 04:38 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
I haven't read the Kennan, but I found Fux (I'm specifically referring to The Study of Counterpoint, translated by Alfred Mann) pretty easy to follow. While it's true that, most of the time, you won't get harmonic progressions that you'd expect in tonal music, it's not purely modal either (although, the supplied cantus firmi are). The leading tone is used in all the exercises except the cantus firmus on E, in which case we get typically the "phrygian cadence." Plus, other accidentals are allowed in many cases (like Bb when D is the tonic, etc). As superlocrian said, you can adapt the concepts to more functional harmony (and I personally found that I could get some good tonal cadences like ii I64 V I with some of the cantus firmi). But in reality, it doesn't matter because the book gets you to focus more on the melodic, linear aspect of harmony. The book is worth going through just to practice the voice-leading rules, and the treatment of dissonances.

#1149404 - 08/09/07 04:50 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
superlocrian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Dallas, TX
Zero, I too am a Jazz musician. I am a trumpet player who turned to the "dark side" and became a Theorist. Modality in Jazz is similar, but not the same as modality as I referred to in the Fux. Yes, Fux was living during the last vestiges og the "church modes," although major and minor was beginning to take over. While many Jazz tunes are modal, ("Footprints" for example, in Dorian mode), the changes are functional and therefore tonal. The Fux idea of species counterpoint (which was not entirely new, but he systematized it better than had been done in the past) is very relevant. The idea is 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, and free combinations of these. (1:1=note against note, 2:1= two notes in one voice and one in the other, etc). The idea is how and when to implement dissonance, manipulate steps/leaps and still maintain harmonic stability. It's very mush like be bop improvisation to me. If running the changes, we can "aim for" chord tones on strong beats (1 and 3) while running eighth notes throughout the measure. This is similar to Fux species counterpoint in which the chord tones act as the stability while we are running through and between them strategically. You don't have to follow the Fux rules specifically, just get the concepts of the different species of counterpoint and how dissonant tones may be implemented (which of course is more free in Jazz) and adjust Fux to modern cadence types that accomodate functional harmony.

#1149405 - 08/09/07 08:27 PM Re: Counterpoint text anyone
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 240
Loc: UK
Hi Super,
I played classical trumpet/cornet in my youth. I have now started reading Kennon, which is stimulating. Take your points above and will consider them properly. I shall enjoy the Kennon I am sure - the Fux is on my bookshelf if I need to refer to it.
Perhaps I should correct something although I often say I am a jazz sax player (and can play and improvise on most standards) I am not really a hard core Jazzer, Charlie Parker leaves me cold - far to clever and technically showy - I would much rather listen to single simple soulful note lyrically played than all that cleverness (OK so I am going to offend some people!). For me it was Getz the poet, rather than Parker the techician.

Looking forward to more insights



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