SOUND PATTERNS

A Structural Examination of Tonality, Vocabulary, Texture,
Sonorities, and Time Organization in Western Art Music

by PHILLIP MAGNUSON

BASIC RULES FOR SPECIES COUNTERPOINT

Chapter 10. Species V in Two Voices

Chapter 6. Species I in Two Voices
Chapter 7. Species II in Two Voices
Chapter 8. Species III in Two Voices
Chapter 9. Species IV in Two Voices
.
Chapter 11. Species I in Three Voices

10.1 INTEGRATION OF SPECIES

Species V is the integraton of Species I through IV into one exercise, as in the example above. The method of doing this requires balance of each species, and a useful guide to ensure this variety is this:

Species I whole-notes: only one, in the last measure
Species II half-notes: no more than three in succession
Species III quarter-notes: no more than eight in succession
Species IV tied half-notes: no more than two pairs in succession

The melodic and contrapuntal principles for each species apply for the length of time that each is used, and upon entering and leaving that species.

10.2 SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPECIES V

  1. Species III and IV can be combined to create a dotted half note or a half tied to a following quarter note. Each must begin on a strong beat, and a quarter note can never be tied to a following half note.

    In measure 2, notice how the suspension resolves on the second quarter note of the measure instead of beat 2. In measure 3, notice that there really is no suspension created, but that it works like the rhythm of the measure before.

  2. Eighth-notes may be added as an extra layer of embellishment, but they must conform to the following rules:
    1. They must occur in stepwise pairs.
    2. They must be approached and left by step.
    3. They must occur on the "and's" of beats 1 or 2.
    4. No more than one pair may be used in a given measure

    This example shows the correct uses of eighth-notes. Dissonance does not have to be explained. but parallel perfect consonances still must be avoided.


INTERLUDE

How many errors does the counterpoint below contain?

A


3
errors

B


4
errors

C


5
errors

D


6
errors

E


7
errors


10.3 EXAMPLE OF COUNTERPOINT IN SPECIES V

Note the relatively equal distribution of each species.

10.4 HOW TO WRITE IN SPECIES V

The four big questions to ask yourself when writing species V counterpoint:

  1. Is this note good for the line? You need to have good knowledge of all the melodic principles to answer this.
  2. If it is a perfect consonance, how has it been approached?
  3. If it is a dissonance, how is it justified?
  4. Is the cadence a clausula vera?

There are some extra conditions that need to be examined, but they involve lesser questions. These include issues about

  1. Beginning the counterpoint
  2. Distance between voices
  3. Use of unisons
  4. Breaking species
  5. Adding 8th notes

ASSIGNMENTS:

SYNTHESIS

Using an assigned cantus firmus, write a soprano counterpoint above, and a bass counterpoint below, in Species V.

Be careful to pay attention to all the principles of each species as you use it. In Species V, the quality of the melodic line is always the most important issue. Include at least 3 pairs of eighth-notes.

This must be written as two separate pieces, one with a treble clef and alto clef, and a second with alto clef and bass clef. Follow the exact format of the example above, including the labels for the counterpoint and the cantus firmus.

To prepare this writing assignment properly, use the notation guidelines appendix, located at Basic Principles of Music Notation, Semester I.

ANALYSIS

Find the errors in the following example. Put a number with a box around it near the mistake and briefly explain by the corresponding number below.

APPLICATION TO REAL MUSIC

A cantus firmus is not always used in contrapuntal compositions. Analyze the piece below written by Orlando di Lasso in the sixteenth century.

Label the intervals, and indicate which species is being used in any given measure. Notice the use of musica ficta, especially the B-flats. They are not used for a cadence as other musica ficta are, but to avoid melodic tritones (the diabolus in musica). Also note that the two voices take turns imitating each other.

Listen to a performance


Cantus firmi

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.


Links to chapters in this unit:
Chapter 6. Species I in Two Voices
Chapter 7. Species II in Two Voices
Chapter 8. Species III in Two Voices
Chapter 9. Species IV in Two Voices
Chapter 11. Species I in Three Voices

Link to previous unit: FUNDAMENTALS

Link to next unit: DIATONIC PROCEDURES I: Harmonic Dimensions


Copyright 2008-2009 by Phillip Magnuson.

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