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EpISODE 37 COUNTERPOINT PT. 3

HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips

 

TYPE- Theory 101

 

DURATION- 44:11

 

BUMPER MUSIC- "Cantus Firmus with 2nd Species",

"Cantus Firmus with 4th Species" (Matthew Scott Phillips)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe 

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DESCRIPTION

Continuing our discussion from episode 35-Counterpoint Pt.2, it's time to tackle 3rd and 4th species counterpoint! We have already built our cantus firmus and tried it out with 1st and 2nd species counterpoint. Our trilogy now comes to a satisfying end with melodies that coexist and commingle, all the while, maintaining their independence!

KEY WORDS MELODY- A succession or arrangement of notes forming a distinctive sequence or theme, often repeated or revisited through out the piece. The melodic line works within the horizontal aspect of music. COUNTERPOINT- The combining or intermingling of two or more independent melodic lines as well as the set of principles that accompany this process. FINAL- Scale degree one. This is the resting place in a melody, scale or mode that will eventually become the TONIC. CANTUS FIRMUS- The original melody, upon which the counter point is built. These were often based (loosely or directly) on the traditional plain chant melodies that were written for worship in early church services. SPECIES COUNTERPOINT- Also known as "strict counterpoint", SPECIES COUNTERPOINT refers to the approach music students are given to write counterpoint while observing a number of conventions. These conventions are made to ensure each melody it's own independence. 1st SPECIES COUNTERPOINT- This occurs when the added voice, above or below the cantus firmus, follows at a 1:1 ratio, rhythmically. So if the cantus firmus consists of 4 half notes ( h ), so will the added melody, in 1st species. 2nd SPECIES COUNTERPOINT- This occurs when the added voice, above or below the cantus firmus, follows at a 1:2 ratio, rhythmically. So if the cantus firmus consists of 4 half notes ( h ), the added melody will consists of 8 quarter notes ( q ). 2nd species counterpoint will involve 2 notes for every 1 of the cantus firmus. 3rd SPECIES COUNTERPOINT- This occurs when the added voice, above or below the cantus firmus, follows at a 4:1 ratio, rhythmically. So if the cantus firmus consists of 1 whole note ( w ) per measure, the added melody will consists of 4 quarter notes ( q ) per measure. 3nd species counterpoint will involve 4 notes for every 1 of the cantus firmus. 4th SPECIES COUNTERPOINT- This occurs when the added voice, above or below the cantus firmus, involves SYNCOPES, or syncopations. Like 2nd species, it maintains a 2:1 ratio, but the second voice is based on the weak beats of each measure. 5th SPECIES COUNTERPOINT- Simply put, a combination of all 4 species. SYNCOPE- In a syncopation, this is the note being syncopated. CLAUSULA VERA- Latin for "true cadence", this occurs when a MAJOR 6th interval resolves to a PERFECT OCTAVE. The M6 is created by scale degrees 2 and 7. The 2 moves down to the FINAL, or scale degree 1. The 7 moves up, in leading tone fashion, to the 8th, or FINAL. EXAMPLES Our CANTUS FIRMUS
3rd Species Counterpoint 4:1 3rd SPECIES RULES We want to add FOUR notes per ONE in the CANTUS FIRMUS. Beats 1 and 3 are STRESSED. Beats 2 and 4 are UNSTRESSED. We can use PASSING TONES (PT) and NEIGHBOR TONES (NT) as dissonances. 1. The 1st note of the 4 can only be consonant. 2. The remaining 3 notes can be either consonant or dissonant, regardless of beat stress or placement. 3. Dissonances in 3rd species can be PT’s, moving to fill 3rds and/or 4ths, or NT's. 4. Avoid PU on beat one, as in 2nd species. 5. Beginning with a 1/4 note rest ( Œ ) is acceptable but the rest of the measures must maintain the pattern of 4 q 's per measure. 6. Avoid parallel 5ths and 8ths on consecutive 1st beats and consecutive strong beats. 7. Stay within the triad for the whole measure. 8. Do not outline a 6/4 chord between these two voices.

OUR 3rd SPECIES COUNTERPOINT

Below, you will see our original CANTUS FIRMUS, in the lower voice, and our 3rd SPECIES COUNTERPOINT, in the upper voice.

See our mistake below, in the RED BOX between measures 3 and 4. The last of the 4 quarter notes in the 3rd measure (F) moves down to an E (1st quarter note of measure 4). The same motion occurs between the whole note (F), in measure 3, and the whole note (E), in measure 4. This error occurred because I overlooked the P8 between the F in the CANTUS FIRMUS and the F in the COUNTERPOINT melody at the end of the 3rd measure, both of which moved down to a P8 between the two E's at the top of measure 4.

We were able to fix this, as seen below, by moving that 1st quarter note (E)

in measure 4, up to an F. This helps us avoid that parallel octave.

4th Species Counterpoint SYNCOPATIONS

4th SPECIES RULES

 

 We want to add syncopations, or SYNCOPES, that connect from the weak beat of one measure to the strongest beat of the following measure.

 

1. The weak beat must be consonant. However, you can have a SUSPENSION on a

    strong beat with the following considerations:

 

    PREPARATION=Consonant on a weak beat.

    SUSPENSION=Dissonant on a strong beat.

    RESOLUTON=Consonant on a weak beat.

 

 2. If the syncope is in the upper voice, 9-8,7-6, 4-3 suspensions are acceptable.

     Some argue against the 6-5 suspension because it’s not dissonant enough.

 

 3. If the COUNTERPOINT occurs in the bass voice, the only acceptable suspension is 2-3.

 

 4. Cadences should be what is known as “clausula vera” (true cadence), in which a P6 resolves to a P8

     by contrary motion. Scale degree 2 moves down to scale degree 1. Scale degree 7 moves up to

     scale degree 8.

 

 5. Because a chain of 4-3’s can be reduced to a series of parallel 3rd’s, it should be

     avoided. Likewise, 9-8 chains can be reduced parallel 8s.

 

 6. However, a series of 6-5 suspensions is okay because the 5th's are separated by

     consonant intervals.

 

 7. Parallel 5ths are okay on a strong beat if they are separated by consonances.

     The same applies to parallel 8ves. Try to avoid too many of these in a row.

 

 8. 7-6 and 4-3 suspensions are ideal because they land on consonances.

OUR 4th SPECIES COUNTERPOINT

Below, you will see our original CANTUS FIRMUS, in the lower voice, and our

4th SPECIES COUNTERPOINT, in the upper voice.

THINGs TO REMEMBER

-In order to write "proper" counterpoint it is very important to strictly observe the rules of counterpoint.

 

-We try to observe the rules of counterpoint from note to note. However, in addidtion, sometimes it helps to "zoom" out and consider movement from measure to measure.

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