Music of Alan Belkin; online courses by Alan Belkin. Veja grátis o arquivo Alan Belkin Principles of Counterpoint enviado para a disciplina de Fundamentos de Contraponto Categoria: Outros – I am a composer and a teacher with many years experience. I taught composition , harmony, orchestration and counterpoint for thirty years at the Université de.

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It may seem odd to move from a discussion of line directly to one of harmony, while postponing discussion of the ways in which lines interact; however, harmony is best understood as the integration of simultaneous musical lines into a coherent ensemble. No matter how independent the lines in question, we always hear a whole — although with some perception of foreground and background — and not simply independent sounds.

Put another way, music, no matter how dense, is understood by one brain at a time. This point merits further discussion. Nor can one hear them out of their harmonic context, at least as long as they are being played together. If the listener is to have the impression of related events occuring at the same time, the strands must coalesce into a coherent whole. This largely results from harmonic and rhythmic coordination.

If the various lines regularly meet at metrical points of reference, it is hard to impute to them complete independence. Human hearing, it seems, does not require much encouragement to seek out such connections. We will only look at aspects of harmonic design that specifically relate to contrapuntal textures.

And there are many artistic advantages to be gained from fine control of harmonic tension and direction. If the counterpoint is not to sound haphazard or rough, the harmony needs to be as rich as possible. This is an area where the standard species approach fails pitifully.

Alan Belkin Principles of Counterpoint

The parallel octaves in the first example here are extremely prominent: Each of the first two bars begins and ends with the same note; the ear notices both the beliin notes, and the progression from the last note of the bar to the first note of the next. The situation in the second example is only slightly better: But the accented first beat octaves are still very salient. However, certain parallel 5ths and 8ves, although prohibited in conventional species counterpoint, are quite innocuous, even unnoticeable.

In most species approaches, the octaves created between the C in the first bar of the above example and the D in the second measure would be prohibited as being rhythmically too close. However, they are not really very disturbing to the ear, because the notes in question are not accented, not on corresponding beats, and the motives in the two bars do not correspond.


The ear is thus not encouraged in any beloin to associate these octaves. Pedagogically, it is more useful to discuss why certain cases are less disturbing than some others.

Such discussions help the student refine his hearing and better predict how specific musical situations will be perceived; whereas blanket prohibitions do not encourage aural sensitivity.

Compare the direct octave into the 1st beat, 2nd bar in the first example, which is rather prominent, since all the parts move in the same direction, with that in the second, where the suspension in the middle part creates a belkkn richness, and distracts the ear from the outer parts.

In the first example, the similar motion between soprano and bass creates a strong accent on the tritone in bar 2.

In the second example, this accent is somewhat weakened by the contrary motion of the bass. Rather than limiting the student to simple consonant harmony counterooint study of the species, it is better to gradually enlarge the harmonic vocabulary to include seventh chords, modulation and chromaticism.

My own goal is to arrive at the same harmonic resources as in a course of chromatic harmony, by the end of four part contrapuntal study.

This counterpooint helps bring together the two disciplines. In fact, the further one explores harmonic richness, the more it becomes a matter of refined voice leading, and the further one advances in counterpoint, the more sophisticated the harmonic resources required to solve problems.

Counterpoint | Alan Belkin Music

Particularly with accented dissonances, the underlying harmony can easily be obscured. Such exercises are challenging, and should be part of every program of contrapuntal study. Most explanations of modulation focus on pivot chords; however the way newly altered tones are approached melodically is at least as important in making a beokin convincing to the ear.

There is always one line introducing each alteration. Otherwise the altered note would bel,in doubled, creating harshness as well as a weak resolution. If the modulation is not to seem confused, this line must be in the foreground. This means avoiding distracting motivic or harmonic events elsewhere, and giving the new accidental at least some rhythmic weight.

One excellent way to do this is to make the new alteration the resolution of a suspension. Is it merely local color or does it articulate the arrival of a major new section? Real world uses of counterpoint. Principles of Counterpoint Harmony It may seem odd to move from a discussion of line directly to one of harmony, while postponing discussion of the ways in which lines interact; however, harmony is best understood as the integration of simultaneous musical lines counterooint a coherent ensemble.


Salient parallel 5ths and 8ves. This is especially flagrant when they leap. Then, the last beat of the bar has no 3rd.

Counterpoint – Harmony | Alan Belkin Music

The 7ths sound rough, and what follows sounds empty. Conversely, richness can be enhanced by: They are almost always improved by addition of a third or sixth to one or both of the involved notes, in another part.

As will be seen later, this is the main use for invertible counterpoint at the tenth: By rigorously avoiding parallel motion, such counterpoint guarantees that adding such doublings will not create parallel 8ves and 5ths.

In the first, the arrival on the major seventh in bar 3 second beat is very harsh since the upper parts move in similar motion. Further, the resolution by exchange does not diminish the level of interval tension.

In the proposed variant, the dissonant F and its resolution are doubled at the 6th in the middle part, creating a much richer effect, more in tune with the style of the opening bars. Here the top parts arrive at a consonance suggesting a D minor chord, and the bottom parts, in their turn, suggest a first inversion C major chord. The fact that the tied F in the alto progresses by leap suggests that it is a chord tone; the fact that the lower parts do not move to a clear consonance make it difficult to consider them as just passing tones.

In short, the information presented is unclear, and leaves the listener trying to puzzle out the harmony from conflicting cues. The overall effect is distracting, creating an inappropriate accent. Leaps are normally made to and from chord tones; when there are several in a row, they are heard as outlining chords. The only major exception to this rule is the appogiatura approached by leap ; however in this case the leap to the dissonance is used as a motive.

Otherwise, apart from very occasional special cases, like word painting, the dissonant note will sound like a mistake.