Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making

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9780300046281: Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making

Counterpoint manuals have long been central to the music education of composers, historians, and theorists. In this book a conductor uses counterpoint exercises to aid musicians in becoming sensitive to the fundamental ingredients of good music making. The author takes the reader step by step through the composition and performance of the counterpoint species, from unaccompanied lines to complex three part exercises. Each genre of counterpoint is preceded by a discussion of the musical element it introduces - line (cantus firmus), harmonic interval (two-part counterpoint), dissonance (second to fourth species), and rhythm (fifth species). "Write-throughs", which illustrate the composition of an exercise from start to finish, are included for each species. Throughout, the author focuses on the experience of musical beauty, recognizing that it results from the contribution of both composer and performer. Thus each exercise is successful only when it is composed, and performed, so that it allows this experience. And as each new element of music is introduced, its effect on the experience of beauty is considered. This book should have value for a wide range of readers, from accomplished soloists and composers to near beginners. It aims to advance conscious understanding of the principles of good music making, yet the reader needs to know little more at the outset than the major and minor scales, a few key signatures, and the names of intervals.

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