Posted in Project 11

Free Counterpoint, Part 1

Note: You can also read my research about free counterpoint here. I also did some research regarding the definite-pitched percussion instruments I’ve used – xylophone and glockenspiel, and you can also find the posts about woodwinds I used in the part two of the course. 


The first two examples of the free counterpoint are based on adding the companion melodies to the melodies given in Example 47.

For the first melody – Example 47 A, I’ve composed the following companion melody:

example 47AYou can listen to the audio of the first counterpoint below:

https://soundcloud.com/ariadna-vrljanovic-zhao/project-11-example-1/s-6HnHx

I chose the given melody to be played on oboe, while for the companion melody I picked xylophone. I think this is quite an interesting combination.

The given melody is free, not only is it written with no bars, but there is also no specific key, although it is of course not without tonal pitch centers. Still, this allowed me to choose the direction of where the harmony would go. In combination with the companion melody, the tonal plan I created goes from g natural minor to F major and finally to B Phrygian that could easily be the dominant for e minor.

As the melody is composed of the longer note values, the added counterpoint contrasted that with shorter note values, which I think suits the non-sustaining qualities of the xylophone timbre, together with the tremolos I’ve added. Although the latter can produce a comic effect, I think here it wasn’t too pronounced. I also decided not to use imitation and I’ve added the dynamics to both melodies.

The following is the companion melody to the Example 47 B:

example 47b.PNG

Here is the audio for the second free counterpoint:

I selected bassoon for the given melody and the glockenspiel for the companion. I think this is quite unusual because of their distant registers, but nonetheless I believe this mixture worked out well.

Since glockenspiel has a very high timbre and good projection, I let it sit in the piano dynamics, while the low bassoon is kept in forte.

The given melody in f# minor is very short, so I thought imitation would suit it well. The imitation is not strict though, and I played with different ways to vary it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this exercise. The next blog post will be about the second part of the project – to create two original melodies and add suitable companion melodies to them. You can find that here.

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