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Music 1649: studies in music theory I

Fluff mentioned in class:

Musical centre Venice
Readings all the way up to 6,7,8
- Counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are harmonically
interdependent (polyphony) yet independent in rhythm and contour.
- Punctus contra punctum
- “Musicians once composed with only a few dots or points. Hence they called this
counterpoint. They placed one against another as we now place one note against
another… “
- There are two kinds of counterpoint: simple and diminished. The simple is
composed solely of consonances and equal note-values… placed against one
another. Diminished counterpoint has dissonances as well as consonances, and
many employ every kind of note-value, as the composer wishes
Gioseffo Zarlino, Le istitutioni harmoniche (1558)
He doesn’t grade the study of counterpoint gradually
Johann Joseph Fux: 1660-1741
Palestrina: “the prince of music”
Species counterpoint
:​ i began, therefore, many years ago, to work out a method similar to that by which
children learn first letters, then syllables, then combinations of syllables, and finally
how to read and write”
The five steps to Pamassus
1 first species: one against one
2 second species: two against one
3 third species: four against one
4 fourth species: two against one (sus pensions)
5 fifth species: florid counterpoint
The “Palestrina style”
Stile antico…
- Uses a cantus firmus (preexisting melody)
- Emphasis is on the melodic dimension (modal variety)
- Highly controlled use of dissonance
- Vocal style of composition (mostly stepwise motion)
The modes
Different ways of partitioning the white notes on the keyboard
- Ionian - the positionings of the half steps (a major scale)
- Dorian - half step between 2 and 3, and between 6 and 7
- Phrygian - half steps between 1 and 2 , and between 5 and 6 (the metal guitar
- Lydian ……………………… etc
The rules

Intervals Motions
1. Perfect to perfect Contrary or oblique

2. Perfect to imperfect Direct, contrary or oblique

3. Imperfect to perfect Contrary or oblique

4. Imperfect to imperfect direct , contrary or oblique

​ ome more rules….
Use perfect consonances at beginning and end
Don’t begin with P5 when counterpoint is below c.f.
Use M6/m3 in penultimate measure
Beware of hidden fifths (p.32, fig7)
Avoid melodic tritones (diabolus in musica)
Avoid large uncompensated melodic leaps
Avoid skipping onto the P8 or P1 (unintentional downbeats)