Posted in Project 3: Introduction to Species Counterpoint, Uncategorized

Exercises 1.2: First species

The task of this exercise is to compose a voice part to go with the pre-composed cantus firmus given in the course-book, based on the rules of first species of counterpoint by Fux.

Here is the finished exercise with the intervals marked (cantus is in the lower voice), while the analysis is below, in which I try to go over my process and the choices I made:

exercise 1.2

Following the rules and advices from page 21, I open and end on the octave (I could have opened on the 5th, but I chose to use the octave instead), while using the 3rds (10ths) and 6ths from bar 2 until the penultimate bar, thus no consecutive or exposed 5ths or octaves. I tried to make the melody of the upper line as smooth as possible in a wave-like motion, moving mostly in step-wise movement. The motion between the parts is mostly contrary, except the consecutive 3rds and 6ths. For example, I could have avoided the thirds by having the melody climb in bar 4 to F, instead of descending to C, but I feel like the melody wouldn’t be as smooth with the jump back and forth from D to F, so I decided that to conserve the flowy, step-wise movement instead as the final version of the melody instead of similar jumps. I don’t really like that the climax of the upper melody is in the penultimate bar – in my previous studies, my teachers advised the climax to be somewhere towards the middle, but I don’t think that is too big of a problem, since this is only a brief exercise. However, if I was creating a full piece, I would definitely watch out for the positioning of the climax of the melody.

Overall, I found the exercise quite engaging, although I did study Fux’s counterpoint before. Also, I quite liked the idea of working backwards from the final note, for the last two or three bars – I don’t think I have ever consciously done that before. Off to the second species.

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