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Counterpoint.docx

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Department
Music
Course
Music 1649A/B
Professor
Kevin Mooney
Semester
Fall

Description
Counterpoint:  Musicians once composed with only a few dots or points, hence counterpoint  They placed one point against another how we place a onte against anoter  Two kinds of counterpoint: simple and diminished o Simple – solely of consonances and equal note values place against one another o Diminished – has dissonances as well as consonances  Gioseffo Zarlino (1517-1590) o Very famous composer, and music theorist of the renaissance o Made large contributions to counterpoint and musical tuning o Recognized the primacy of triad over interval as a means of harmonic thinking  Renaissance era is the first art and practice of counterpoint  The music of Palestrina (16 century) is thought of as the crowning glory of counterpoint practice o Palestrina was also known as the prince of music o Palestrina saved music from the church banishing it by creating Missa Papae Marcelli, which demonstrated that the text of music can be made without being obscure. o Saved music from the more conservative element of the counter reformation o You can still have counterpoint in the context of traditional catholic ritual o Savior and prince of music  Missa Papae Marcelli o Very angelic/serene o Controlled type of music – very deliberate o Incredibly dynamic – creates interest through dynamics o Strong aspect of control – too controlled would be boring so he uses contrast through low and high registers o Exploits the possibilities of the choir o A vocal style of composition – the voice is very fluent in its lines. Step wise style of writing, fluent melodically.  If he uses a large interval he will reserve that for an important moment  Step wise melodic motion  Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741) o He is in interest to us because he really embodies Palestrina’s style o Tries to distill that style into a set of rules that captures the essence of Palestrina o Contemporary of Bach o Doesn’t write music about his time like Palestrina did o Wants to formulate some way of teaching counterpoint to his generation  Counterpoint was the foundation of the training in the composers who interest us. o Publishes Gradus ad Parnassum in 1725  Book on the study of counterpoint  Treatus that many of the most great composers studied from  Heidus, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms etc etc  Composers wanted to learn how to write in tis controlled style of writing Species Counterpoint: “I began, therefore
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