Talk:Counterpoint

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Problematic[edit]

I am forced to say there is no studious language which enables me to properly argue the fact that this article is at best, terribly problematic. There is no proper or even accurate definition of the technique of counterpoint in the article and it's historical "use" is completely false (see Shenker, Schacter etc) The weak attempt at genre-izing counterpoint in non Westen Music mediums is simply not possible. One cannot alter the true features of counterpoint to fit different types of music. In the first place, counterpoint is not a form of composition (again see Shenker or Schacter on the subject) nor is it a derivation of 15th-18th Century music. Counterpoint is an abstraction of free compositional techniques as derived from nature, as practiced by such masters as JS Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. I have to recommend this article be completely redone by someone who is familiar with counterpoint. Something is not true just because we say it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tadcaster (talkcontribs) 04:33, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Do you have any specific suggestions for the article? Hyacinth (talk) 05:09, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

This is a different respondent from the above, however I do have a suggestion. I didn't seem to find any talk of species counterpoint involving 3 (or more) voices: some of the rules in this domain - including the fact that hidden fifths can be tolerated in either the bottom or the top two voices should the third voice move by contrary motion - are not stated in this article, and I wonder if they should be included. (?) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.3.247.212 (talk) 20:17, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

All examples of species counterpoint shown here are wrong. A Cantus Firmus has a MINIMUM of 8 notes, MAX of 16. Source: "Counterpoint In Composition" By Felix Salzer and Carl Schachter (Page 4). Let's just use the rules that survived Mr scotch. Unless you want to uncover the other species... too much work, i'm lazy.

Species counterpoint is a math to getting good voice leading. It's not a compositional tool, but composition practice. Palestrina DID use calculations such as what we see in species counterpoint to write his music, but they didn't always obey the "rules."

And to answer to your question, IP : 152.3.247.212 After you have written your counterpoint over the cantus firmus, you can write piano chords between them. Parallel fifths, octaves, and beaten fifths are much less problematic when they are in the inner voices. It is the lesser of the Evils, so it is allowed but only a little. Never between the top and bottom notes( what should be the cantus and counterpoint), because those are the voices we can hear the most. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dax the drums (talkcontribs) 20:19, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

The introduction to this article, "Counterpoint most generally involves very different, independent, and harmonious musical lines.[citation needed] In each era, contrapuntally organized music writing has been subject to rules—sometimes strict ones. Chords are the simultaneous soundings of notes; whereas harmonic, "vertical" features are considered secondary and almost incidental when counterpoint is the predominant textural element.[citation needed] " contains two citation-neededs. I don't think this is the problem.

I think the problem is that this is a piece of verbal fog so impenetrable that it would be difficult to argue either way on the question "Is this meaningless nonsense?" Some might say there is no evidence for either side, while others might claim that there is too much.

In any event it seems to me clear that it does not tell us anything about counterpoint.

DavidLJ (talk) 16:14, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

OK this article is incomprehensible and weak. I looked at the other language versions and they are not much better, except maybe the Chinese version which has a detailed history of counterpoint. The Portuguese page has modern music samples from Brazil, the Romanian and German versions have additional examples with graphics. Someone needs to rework this article and make it more newbie friendly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.132.27.57 (talk) 02:31, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Melodic Strands[edit]

... Melodic strands? ... uh, do you think we could use more appropriate language in this respect? Voices, perhaps? — Ryguillian

yeah we could say 'melodies' 'lines' 'parts' 'voices' etc.

The term "melody", "melodic strand" is foreign to any discussion in the main works on counterpoint. A cantus firmus does not share the same features as a melody (or "chorale", as termed by Shenker). A melody, as it applies to tonality, is a feature of free composition and therefore built around a tonality (key). If you read any SIGNIFICANT works on counterpoint, Schacter or Shenker for example, you will learn that counterpoint is definately not a watered down version of harmony and is not intended to be. It is interesting to note that Shenker, the excepted authority on the subject, spends much of his intro to his book "Counterpoint (vol. 1) explaining why the past masters (Fux, Albrechtsberger etc) also confused the concepts of "melody" of the old masters and cantus firmus. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.183.134.122 (talk) 14:37, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Re: "If you read any SIGNIFICANT works on counterpoint, Schacter or Shenker [sic] for example, you will learn that counterpoint is definately [sic] not a watered down version of harmony and is not intended to be.":
Your "SIGNIFICANT" strikes me as POV. In any case, the "intent" or function of counterpoint and its relation to "harmony" in the sense of chord structure and chord progression (which is how I think you mean the term here) varies greatly according to period, within a period according to composer, and within a single composer's oeuvre from piece to piece. TheScotch (talk) 07:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Your comments about intention brings out a very important point regarding the function of counterpoint, being that there is no intention in a phenomenological sense but that its function never varies from period to period. There are two distinct phenomenon: counterpoint and free composition. The role of counterpoint never changes, its principals remain intact and inviolable (sp?) What I think you are trying to describe when you use the term "varies from piece to piece" is simply free composition. In order to understand the true nature of counterpoint it is necessary to abandon the concept that it is in any way a form of composition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.183.137.114 (talk) 13:35, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

No, you are simply wrong--as well as ridiculously dogmatic. Counterpoint is extremely variable even within the "common practice period" when so much else is relatively invariable--such that we can get away with the term "common practice period". TheScotch (talk) 21:33, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Origin[edit]

(page originally created by User:Fleeb)

Credit where credit is due and all that, but you can find this out by checking the History page. Removed; sorry Fleeb, but this doesn't add to the article.


"punctus contra punctum ("note against note")". Not that it's a matter of life and death, but it should be "point against point", hence counterpoint, and not counternote.

Removed[edit]

Removed from the article:

Bold textcould someone who knows please tell me how to write counterpoint and explain the number thingys that are used? thanks, Gez

Writing counterpoint isn't a simple matter, and if I was going to teach you how to do it, I'd have to charge vast sums of money ;) For the "number thingys", maybe you mean figured bass? --Camembert

Maybe number thingys includes diatonic intervals? Hyacinth 01:07, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
More likely he's talking about milliseconds, waveforms, and sound envelopes - all of them identified with real numbers.198.177.27.17 (talk) 06:56, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

No, that's exceedingly unlikely. Figured bass is most likely. TheScotch (talk) 08:27, 27 July 2008 (UTC)


"The same cantus firmus is used for each, and each is in the Dorian mode." - No it isn't. This is a tonal example, not modal. The example is in d-minor. How else can you explain the leading tone c# to d? This does not exist in d-dorian. This article is pretty sloppy I must say.

No, you are mistaken. In 16th century counterpoint, in Dorian mode, at the cadence you raise the leading tone. Every counterpoint book -- and I mean every counterpoint book--will present you with copious examples of this. The examples are in Dorian, as it is understood in the practice of species counterpoint. Antandrus (talk) 05:39, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Antandrus, at the cadence it always goes final -> raised 7th -> final. This happens in all modes except the phrygian mode (as it states) If this was written in d-minor, there would be B-flat and E-flat, even in the harmonic minor (with the c#, there would still be the two flats). This is clearly in D dorian because of the key signature. Minnimob 02:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I added a section of overall considerations, which includes the requirement to raise the leading tone at the cadence. The rules list could be a lot longer, but since it's a basic article on counterpoint, not a counterpoint manual, I only included the major ones. Antandrus (talk) 06:08, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Species defines[edit]

According to the article:

  • "It is a common and pedantic misconception that counterpoint is defined by these five species, and therefore anything that does not follow the strict rules of the five species is not counterpoint. This is not true; although much contrapuntal music of the common practice period indeed adheres to the rules, there are exceptions. Fux's book and its concept of "species" was purely a method of teaching counterpoint, not a definitive or rigidly prescriptive set of rules for it."

I have always found it hard to believe that there are "exceptions" to the rules, occasionally during the 200 years of the common practice period. It seems to me that counterpoint which follows the species rules would be the exception. Hyacinth 01:07, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I am inclined to agree, Hyacinth. My editing adds "pedantic", as a further qualification of the view discussed. But I didn't want to interfere too much. (Do I dare disturb the universe? You bet! It disturbed me first...!) --Noetica 01:25, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the rules for counterpoint were developed well after it's hay day. The Rulers are an adaptation put together by music historians, theorists and musicologists as a pedagogical tool to teach people how to write music in the style. Certainly if you've examining the music of Binchois you'll find few exceptions to these rules that have been developed, but Palestrina's works are filled with exceptions. So of course they we're breaking the rules because they didn't exist yet. -Liam

This last statement is completely insupportable with the facts and a misinterpretation of the nature of what "exceptions" in counterpoint are (mistakenly assigned to the realm of melody when they actually belong to the narrower field of counterpoint). The prescriptions and restrictions associated with counterpoint were certainly NOT established well after the "hay day" (sic) of counterpoint. There was no heyday for counterpoint because it is NOT a style of composition. What you are referring to, I assume, is the early attempts at vocal polyphony, and with this term in mind then it is true that the earliest work on the subject (as we understand counterpoint) "Gradus ad Parnassum" by Fux was published well after this era. Before this time, theorist certainly were very active in recording instruction in voice leading, but only as it conciously developed. The pathway to discovering the significance of the third and fifth scale degrees was not an "invention" which theorist projected onto composers but an evolution of the ear. On these terms it actually happened with astounding speed, that is, our ability to grasp the tonality of a work as a whole. <One of the problems with the Fux work (this is terribly interesting as described by Schenker) is the 18th century confusion about the nature of 14th-17th century polyphony. Fux and many others from his 18th Century perspective had already lost contact with the fact that polyphony was an evolutionary process and that voice leading in, say, Palestrina, was not governed yet by true tonality, which is defined by a high level of relationship between the tonic and its "bretheran" the fifth and third. Of course, Palestrina used the third and fifth but the unfolding process and the relationship between the vertical (chord) and horizontal (melody) dimensions were not mature(do NOT go to the Wiki article on Tonality for further info.It is very anecdotal) <About the Fux work and CPE Bach's monumental work "Theory of Accompaniment", a treatise on voice leading (counterpoint) and thoroughbass, Shenker write, " In (these) two treatises just mentioned, the theory of voice leading alone was presented; thus it appears in completely pure form at least in that no notion of scale degree (and thus tonality) is intermixed with it...not even in the matter of doubling of intervals."

[User:Tadcaster|Tadcaster]] (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 19:01, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion[edit]

A midi file for each of the different illustrations would be a good complement. It also gives a more tangible sense of what counterpoint is. Rintrah 09:02, 30 October 2005 (UTC) if you've examined(not)if you've ixamining

Considerations for all species[edit]

The article states:

  • "Students of species counterpoint usually practice writing counterpoint in all the modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian and Aeolian)."

Where's the Locrean mode? Did the writer just forget it, or was it not used? If it was indeed not in use, could someone please edit the article to explain why? Henre 21:32, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Correct: it was not in use. There were eight modes used until about the middle of the 16th century (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and their respective plagal variants). Glareanus published the Dodecachordon in 1547, showing that there were actually twelve (adding Aeolian and Ionian, with their plagal variants), although he was really just showing contemporary practice. Locrian was never used, probably because of the instability of having a tritone with the tonic. By the time of Palestrina, which is the "common practice" for the type of counterpoint discussed in the article, the modes described by Glarean were the only ones in use, with the additional stipulation that they tended to be rather like the major and minor scales at the cadences (i.e. using a raised leading tone) -- except for the Phrygian. (Other than a single Dead Kennedys song I can't think of a single piece in the Locrian mode ... I'd love to know if there are any.)
I'll try to think of a way to write some of this in the article. Antandrus (talk) 20:38, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Intro[edit]

Noetica- What is an organizing principle? Wouldn't a technique be more than an organizing principle, as I'd assume an organizing principle is one type of technique? -Hyacinth 23:22, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

First let me say, Hyacinth, that I am pleased with the edits you have just done. I think the lead is now just fine. Personally, I would have thought that organising principle is an appropriately broad notion, and that technique is, in this context, subordinate to it. What could technique mean here, after all? A technique of composition, surely. But counterpoint is more than that. There are techniques of counterpoint, just as there are techniques of harmonisation, writing for string trios, etc. On the other hand, there are broad organising principles like regularity of metrical structure, division into identifiable phrases marked by cadences, etc. In any case, though I might not myself have written texture in the lead, given that there is an article expanding on the notion I am happy to leave it alone – though I have added a more accurately focused link for simultaneous, as you can see. – Noetica 05:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Counterpoint in popular music[edit]

Why do we have this section? Counterpoint is a pretty broad term; most music can be said to use counterpoint in some way or other. What are we trying to say with this? To me it just looks like a magnet for lists of songs and artists people like, with no real informational value. - Rainwarrior 21:27, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Counterpoint appears in numerous contexts, and these kind of sections always turn into weed patches, where everyone adds their favorite little tidbit. I'd be fine with this section removed. Antandrus (talk) 21:35, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Done. Mak (talk) 22:28, 6 January 2007 (UTC)


I disagree that the section should be removed entirely. This entire article reads like a PhD thesis on Classic Music Theory and it seems to discount the notion that counterpoint can exist in popular music. I do agree that this section became too long with far too many obscure, unknown examples by punk groups, etc. However, the use of counterpoint, especially in musicals, is notable and I don't think it's at all fair to remove it completely. Let's just keep it short and succinct and not use too many obscure examples. I really hate it when people unilaterally remove entire sections just because they think it's too long, and because they are too lazy to do the work of editing the section to make them shorter. --Mezaco 19:43, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
In my mind, the Les Miserables example uses polyphony, not counterpoint. -- Yano 23:40, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

All false, I'm afraid. Counterpoint is not a "broad concept" nor does it exist in many types of music. To say so is an admission of a lack of fundamental understanding about what the purpose of counterpoint is. Again, counterpoint is not a form of composition and superficial similarities (such as non western music that moves note against note) does not AUTHENTICALLY define that music as counterpoint (!) I will also say, that bending the definition of counterpoint to encompass other types of music or trying to categorize music of other cultures as belonging in the realm of western counterpoint, does not lead us to a better understanding of either counterpoint or the music of other cultures! The act of trying to bring pop music, non-westen music etc etc into the argument is merely a weak attempt at adding some genuine content to an article which lacks deeper undestanding of the meaning and purpose of counterpoint. It is amateurish and rather pointless. Why do we insist on taking these shallow avenues into anecdote-ville rather than actually dig deeper into the actual topic of counterpoint and shall we say, the amazing relationship between the dissonant second and the seventh in tonal music? Because it takes effort I guess.(talk)Tadcaster (talk)—Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.183.134.122 (talk) 14:48, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

My sophomore Music Theory (part writing) teacher used to say that all music is contrapuntal to some extent, and Walter Piston in his Counterpoint seems heartily to agree. I don't think there's any point to "popular music" or "jazz" sections here unless they discuss particularly how contrapuntal practice in these genres is distinct from the contrapuntal practices discussed elsewhere in the article. As they currently read they are entirely worthless and should be deleted--"everyone adds their favorite little tidbit" indeed.
Re: "This entire article reads like a PhD thesis on Classic Music Theory....":
It so happens that all music theory is an offshoot of "classical" music theory, and there really isn't much non-"classical" music theory anyway. (I'm considering the theory of Indian music, for example, "classical" music theory because ethnomusicology defines this music as a "classical" music--I'm not talking about "Bollywood" soundtracks, of course.) There is an obvious reason for this: "Classical" music (again according to ethnomusicology) is a music supported by an institution. In Western Europe it was the church for many centuries, then the aristocracy, then governments and the university. Other music always existed, but it had no theory to speak of. TheScotch (talk) 08:10, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

This is the entirety of the "Jazz" section as it currently reads:

"Excellent examples of counterpoint in jazz include Gerry Mulligan's Young Blood, Nina Simone's "Love Me or Leave Me", Bill Holman's Invention for Guitar and Trumpet and his Theme and Variations, as well as recordings by Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, Johnny Richards, and Jimmy Giuffre."

The four pieces named may be polyphonic and may be "excellent" (POV, by the way), but listing them doesn't tell us anything about counterpoint. The remainder of the sentence is a mere list of jazz musicians, which is even less informative.

Then we have the "In literature" section, which is obviously using the term counterpoint in another sense entirely (whether or not that other sense is analogous). TheScotch (talk) 08:20, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I've removed the "In literature" section and tagged the popular music section. TheScotch (talk) 09:28, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Re: "it [this article] seems to discount the notion that counterpoint can exist in popular music":

I have to think that this discounting is in Mezaco's imagination, but I'd have no objection to placing in the article some version of Rainwarrior's observation that "most music can be said to use counterpoint in some way or other" if a reputable source can be found and that would satisfy Mezaco.

Notice that the "Counterpoint in popular music" section was reinstated without consensus having been achieved that it should be reinstated. Notice that as of this writing Mezaco is the sole dissenting voice (now it's five-to-one in favor of deletion) and that Mezaco's comments never actually addressed the original complaint (that since counterpoint exists in most music, there's no point listing instances genre by genre). TheScotch (talk) 09:01, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Countour?[edit]

I noticed this word in the introduction, but not being a musician I don't know what it means. There is no article for it on Wikipedia, the dictionary draws a blank and Google returns what mainly look like misspellings of contour. Is countour a spelling mistake? If not, could a knowledgeable person please write an article on it and turn the word into a wikilink? John Dalton 23:46, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

It's just contour, John. Fixed now. –Noetica 23:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps a musical person could write an article on "Contour (Music)" and add it to wikipedia please? Wikipedia doesn't seem to document this concept. It might be as simple as a redirection if contour is a synonym or subset of some other musical concept which does have an article? John Dalton 05:52, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
John, it's really quite an easy notion. It's the up-and-down shape of a melodic line. Think of a particular roller-coaster track: it too has a certain contour, or perhaps set of contours, yes? The term is self-explanatory enough, I had thought, not to need special definition. Anyway, I intend to do some general revising in this article soon, so I'll bear in mind this difficulty. If you have had it, others might have it also, I guess.
– Noetica♬♩Talk 09:40, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

"Homosynchrono"[edit]

An anon is persistently adding the following:

  • Homosynchrono counterpoint (which literally means, "the same at the same time") is when the prime form of a melody is played concurrently with one or more permutation of itself. This includes homosynchrono retrogrades, inversions, augmentations/diminutions, and concentric canons.

This word, as of right now, gets exactly three google hits which are not on Wikipedia itself. It appears to be a recent coinage by one person who has written one paper promoting it (one of the hits), and is also the domain name for a website by the same person.

I have removed this paragraph several times since any additions need to be terms already in standard usage, in conformance with our policy that everything needs to have been already published in multiple, independent, reliable sources; this addition appears to be original research. This newly-coined word should not appear in the article until it is in as common usage as diminution, augmentation, and the other terms in that subsection of the article. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 18:05, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I was just about to post a similar question here and found this note. Removed again. I also removed a speculative edit on counterpoint outside Western music. Including a non-Western approach to counterpoint would make a fine addition, but it needs to be referenced and shouldn't be based on what might exist. ---Sluzzelin talk 08:32, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Counterpoint outside Western music and more[edit]

Sluzzelin and I had a talk on ‘counterpoint’ while its implication might be wider than it looks. I quote them as follows in order to attract more attention and responses.


Hi, Sluzzelin,

Hmmm… How do you want me to provide references?

I have some image files of ancient Chinese music scores. However, you may need a training to read it, their symbols are even different from modern Chinese.

Sean TX Wu (at GymSean(Talk))


Hello, Sean. I hope my removal and reasoning didn't offend you, I really do think that including a non-Western perspective would make for a valuable expansion of the article's current scope.

First of all, I suggest writing about what is known and can be referenced. For example, your phrasing was vague ("it might have most commonly been", "the practice might have been existing in a lot of areas around the world".) Did it or didn't it exist? How did it exist? Where did it exist? What are the shared characteristics and where do they differ? etc.

Secondly, I'm not a scholar of Chinese music, but I do believe that techniques and aesthetic rules comparable to Western counterpoint can be found outside Western music. These comparisons need to be specific and referenced. "For example, we have found plenty of cases in Chinese music history in which the earlier ones might be traced back to thousands years ago." (Also, who is we?)

Finally, the language may be a problem, but not necessarily. I admit that I neither understand nor am even able to read Chinese (whether modern or not). Do any publications on counterpoint in Chinese musical scores or structures exist in English as well? This might be a starting point. If they exist in Chinese, some people might oppose their inclusion, but not me. If they're referenced they can be verified by other users who happen to understand Chinese, or by myself with help of a translator.

Once again, I hope you find a way to include this potentially valuable information. I have asked Antandrus to weigh in. He's a scholar as well as an administrator with a lot of experience regarding musical articles at Wikipedia. Maybe he can help you. Take care. Sluzzelin talk 10:55, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


Furthermore, I'd like to add more comments:

1. I appreciate Sluzzelin’s interest to include non-Western perspectives. I believe it is the wiki’s objective to expand a worldwide scope instead of a Western-centered point of view. It will require a long-term pursuit and not be limited to 'Counterpoint'.

For another example, I found the wiki's ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’, which is the base of counterpoint, described Bach’s publication (in 1722) and his leading contribution in the twelve-tone equally tempered scale. However, this story did not mention that a earlier Chinese musician and mathematician Zu Zai-Ui had already published a systematical and deliberated book that established the well-tempered scale in 1584; thenceforth he also had redesigned the instruments of the orchestra to play the well-tempered scale.

2. There are heavy literatures that keep, examine and develop the Chinese music theories and its evolution; however, there is relatively rare in English version. I have checked the wiki’s Chinese version; most of them are direct translation from English version. They are bare of original Chinese information included.

I am wondering if you have a ‘call-for’ system to recruit a qualified translator to provide the evidences you need.

3. In the fields of arts, aesthetics, history, behavioral sciences and probability knowledge, we (I, my colleagues, my students, my readers and my friends who agree with me) want to be careful enough to use the word ‘might’. We'd like to constantly remind ourselves that under a certain chance, we ‘might’ still make a bad judgment even though we have strong evidences.

Txwu A.K.A GymSean(Talk) 18:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

The Well-tempered Clavier is of course a very famous contrapuntal work, but it's a bit much to call it "the base of counterpoint". Since Bach is not known as a "leading [contributor]" to the development of the twelve-tone equally-tempered scale and the Wikipedia article in question (as it currently reads) doesn't suggest that he is, mention of "Zu Zai-Ui" in that article would be irrelevant. That article is about a particular piece of music.
As for might, see Wikipedia: Avoid weasel words. TheScotch (talk) 10:11, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Volume on MIDI Playback[edit]

These MIDIs seem to have incredibly low volumes. Does anyone else have to turn the volume WAY up to hear them? If so, maybe we can get new recordings, preferably on a non-percussive instrument? Any string bank that sustains sound throughout the note value would be better, I think. -- Yano 23:00, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Independence in this Context[edit]

I've been trying to understand what counterpoint is but I can't seem to find anything which explains what independent and interdependent, as used at the start of the article mean in a music theory context. I've been able to understand other music theory articles but this one stumps me. If I'm having trouble with it, I think other people might be too. Because of this, I suggest either a rephrasing or extra sentences for explanation. Munci (talk) 22:38, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

"Independent" means they are different. "Interdependent" in this context means they harmonize in a pleasing way. If you take two completely different tunes and play them simultaneously on two different CD players, they do not harmonize; if they create any harmonious sounds at all, it would be at random. Counterpoint involves two or more lines so contrived as to be different, but yet coming together harmoniously. Hope this helps, Antandrus (talk) 19:03, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

I think I get it. Would it be at all be similar to polyrhythms? Is the difference that counterpoint is with multiple separate melodies whereas polyrhythms are with rhythms? Munci (talk) 19:23, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think that's a fair comparison. The concept of polyrhythm usually involves a shorter "unit" (e.g. three against four) while counterpoint involves longer time-spans (an entire phrase, say, rather than just the duration of a single beat). Antandrus (talk) 19:29, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Would it be a good idea, do you think, to put in the article your first explanation here? Munci (talk) 19:34, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

I can try but I'm not really sure where to fit it. Not in the lead. Maybe in the first paragraph after the first subheading? Antandrus (talk) 19:48, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, go ahead. I would have thought the lead would have been best though because it would fit in easily without changing the surrounding words much. Munci (talk) 20:04, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand the words 'dependent' as opposed to 'independent' - let alone the use of the word 'interdependent'. Is the only criterion here, whether it is euphonic or cacophonous? That strikes me as way too subjective a definition, especially in the context of someone who is a little tone deaf, or hard of hearing. I'm getting there, but I'm not all gone yet. I can still hear some sounds, and enjoy a lot of music, even if the fine points escape me for their inaudibility. So, when is a note 'independent'? If it is isolated from the other notes for an appreciable length of time? Would 10 seconds on either side of a note be enough to make it independent of the rest? Now, I wouldn't go so far as to vote for some kind of ambient room pressure devoid of waveforms; that would be too hard to verify, but I go to Wikipedia for information that is objectively reliable. 198.177.27.29 (talk) 01:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Let me try another way of explaining it. If you took one voice from a contrapuntal composition -- say, an oboe part -- and played it all by itself, you would hear a single line, and it would have an aspect -- a melody, a character, -- something that you remembered as unique about it. Then if you played another part all by itself, say a cello part, when you heard it you would not associate it with the first one you heard; they would be different. Different rhythms, melodic intervals, character, feeling. Yet when played simultaneously they would blend together into a harmonious whole (that's where it gets complicated -- there's a certain acculturation going on; someone from the highlands of New Guinea would not necessarily hear them as harmonious, and they may sound entirely like noise; but I digress). Counterpoint is the art of writing those parts so that they work well together, but yet have independent characters, and are individually identifiable. Antandrus (talk) 01:42, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Re: "Is the difference that counterpoint is with multiple separate melodies whereas polyrhythms are with rhythms?":

Melody as an attribute of music is an abstraction different from a melody or melodies. Melodies have rhythm, and one important way--possibly the most important way--to make simultaneous melodies independent is to give them different rhythms, especially rhythms that weave in and out of each other. Each melody may be satisfactory rhythmically in and of itself, but the composite rhythm may lend the music a rhythmic drive, a beat, each melody doesn't have in and of itself. It isn't necessary that all counterpoint use the technique I'm describing, but a lot of effective counterpoint does use it. Much of Bach's contrapuntal music has been called motoric, meaning that the composite rhythm of its separate strands drives it as an engine drives a train.

Re: "Counterpoint is the art of writing those parts so that they work well together....":

That's the traditional viewpoint, anyway. In another section on this page I remarked that sections about counterpoint in jazz and popular music should (so as to justify their existence) discuss how contrapuntal practice in these genres differs from the practices discussed elsewhere in the article. Well, it so happens that the salient difference--where there is a significant difference--has really to do with what I've always called random counterpoint. A certain amount of random counterpoint is inevitable in all improvised music and to a lesser extent in all music composed collectively, as most popular music is (the "lead sheet", which is really only a sketch, not withstanding). In jazz music in the bop and post-bop eras it occurs regularly between the walking bass part and the soloist's part. TheScotch (talk) 09:48, 24 July 2008 (UTC) TheScotch (talk) 09:48, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Death metal counterpoint?[edit]

are death metal songs really examples of counterpoint? The musical pieces of the mentioned bands seem to be examples of multiple guitar harmonization, more than well defined contrapuntal sequences (except for maybe the slowed down passages of Nile). I wont edit that part in the article, though.Leif edling (talk) 16:17, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Counterpoint in computer-generated music[edit]

I think the main article could be improved with a description of counterpoint in computer-generated music. Surely it is possible for a computer to generate this kind of music? About 30 years ago, there was a column in Scientific American magazine about computer-generated music. Although it might strike some people as dry, I think a list of some early computer-generated examples of counterpoint would be very useful, especially if there were a description of the algorithms used for creating them.198.177.27.13 (talk) 06:03, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't think this article needs any kind of "list" at all, nor does it need "example" titles of contrapuntal pieces. If the "computer-generated" counterpoint represents a particular sort of contrapuntal practice, different and distinct from the ones already described, then it may be appropriate to explain that practice in the article (depending how significant we judge the practice and the idiom). If it's merely a way of realizing earlier practices, on the other hand, then it's irrelevant to the article. TheScotch (talk) 09:38, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Rap, etc. music genres[edit]

Make sure to give examples from each music genre. E.g., do the Beastie Boys use counterpoint in any of their rap songs? Jidanni (talk) 19:20, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

And examples for each instrument as well. Are there contrapuntal works for accordian, harmonica, and bagpipes? TheScotch (talk) 09:52, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Counterpoint in Madrigals?[edit]

Are there any madrigals with counterpoint in them? I'm still having a hard time understanding what counterpoint is.

Can counterpoint consist of more than two voices, where a given voice consists of a series of notes characterized by, or marked with, an identical rhythm, but they trade off in their harmonies - if I am using the word right - as when indexed by seconds into the song's duration, and it becomes clear that there are moments when the notes come closer together? 198.177.27.24 (talk) 20:06, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Almost all madrigals written before about 1600 were contrapuntal, to some degree. Some more than others. (Those after 1600 are a different animal entirely, except in England where the 16th-century style continued on another couple decades.) The earliest madrigals, for example those by Arcadelt and Verdelot, were often the most like the predecessor form, the frottola, and were more homophonic in texture, but even those were essentially contrapuntal. It really depends how you use the term: even homophonic texture, where all the voices move in the same rhythm, can be contrapuntal, if the voices are not moving in parallel (e.g. parallel thirds, sixths).
When learning to write counterpoint, the first species is note-against-note: that is, the two voices are moving with the same rhythm; the idea is to write lines that are not parallel, but rather are independent. So even that is "counterpoint."
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "a given voice consists of a series of notes characterized by, or marked with, an identical rhythm" -- do you mean a rhythm identical to another simultaneously-singing voice? or a repeated rhythm in the first voice? Hope this helps, Antandrus (talk) 20:20, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure if I am using the word "voice" correctly. I think of a voice as a computer-generated sound that has, in its attempt to simulate a music instrument, a specific waveform and sound envelope, and does not otherwise vary greatly (beyond a particular range of amplitudes and frequencies) from second to second, or minute to minute, in a song. I think that ordinary people think of that sort of thing in terms of an instrument's timbre? Thus, a violin does not very often become a cello after several hours of playing, no matter how loose the strings get. But I digress. Anyway, the main article looks like it is beginning to make sense to me. But all the examples assume a pair of instruments playing at odds with each other. I was wondering if counterpoint is still possible between three or more identical instruments following separate scores? 198.177.27.24 (talk) 20:44, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I think I know what you mean now. Usually "voice" means a single part, played by an instrument/voice capable of playing or singing only one note at a time (unlike, say, a piano). Yes, counterpoint is possible with more than two: the same idea applies, that the parts have to differ from each other, i.e. they can't be playing or singing in parallel for longer than just a couple of notes. Typically when you study counterpoint after you master two-part writing you move on to three-part. There are many examples of counterpoint from the literature for four, five, six, or even more parts: there's even Spem in alium for forty, or the Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno, by Alessandro Striggio, for sixty. But those are extremes, and if you look carefully at the scores you see they "cheat" a lot. The six-part ricercar from the Musical Offering by J.S. Bach is a really good example of a completely contrapuntal composition for six independent voices. Antandrus (talk) 22:01, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think I understand it better now. Am I right in concluding that any contrapuntal score for two particular instruments can be rewritten for three or more of the same instruments, and still be able to observe, or remain faithful to, the original counterpoint? 198.177.27.25 (talk) 04:25, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

The point of this page is to discuss and achieve consensus about what should go in the "Counterpoint" article, not to answer general questions about counterpoint, and by now I think we've strayed much too far afield. Nevertheless: Yes, a contrapuntal duet for a single violin and a single cello remains just as contrapuntal if the violin part is assigned to a violin section and the cello part is assigned to a cello section. Within the sections, of course, there is no counterpoint--unless someone is flubbing his part; then we have what I call random counterpoint.

"I think of a voice as a computer-generated sound that has, in its attempt to simulate a music instrument, a specific waveform and sound envelope, and does not otherwise vary greatly (beyond a particular range of amplitudes and frequencies) from second to second, or minute to minute, in a song.":

This is a dumbed-down abuse of the term promulgated by commercial electronic keyboard manufacturers in order to maximize sales. In most cases, by the way, these sounds are not actually "computer generated"; rather, they're samples, that is, digital recordings (although they may be electronically tweaked). The (not dumbed-down) analog synthesis equivalent is patch. Beware also of electronic keyboard manufacturers's abuse of the term polyphony. TheScotch (talk) 21:35, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Punctus contra punctum[edit]

It might help to note that punctus contra punctum means "point of the pen against the point of a pen" and denotes the dot of ink left behind after dipping the pen ("penna" - a feather) into an inkpot, and dabbing notes down on a blank sheet of paper. The Latin verb "pungo, pungere, punxi, punctum" is distantly related to the English verb punch (a frequentative form of push and put), and the fourth principle part - punctum - is what gives us the word point (through Norman French). The preposition contra means against, or in opposition to, in its most usual sense. 198.177.27.24 (talk) 20:17, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Presumably, this is some sort of suggestion for the article (else what is it doing here?). The relevant bit in the article, as it currently reads, is:
"The term comes from the Latin punctus contra punctum ("note against note"). The adjectival form contrapuntal shows this Latin source more transparently."
The first sentence here, in my opinion, covers the matter thoroughly enough, and is admirably succinct. The "points" on the page will be understood to regresent notes (or, rather, pitches, I guess). The second sentence seems to me both questionable and superfluous. I recommend it be deleted. TheScotch (talk) 21:47, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Second sentence (of passage in question) deleted. TheScotch (talk) 20:29, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Objective rankings of consonance[edit]

I'd like to see more about the actual rankings of consonance of just intonation intervals. Harry Partch's odd limit, Constantine F. Malmberg's "order of merit", etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.224.65.203 (talk) 21:36, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Dissonant Counterpoint[edit]

I am dissatisfied with the section on Dissonant Counterpoint in this article. I have been researching the subject for some time and its section here does not do the style justice. Just as Schoenberg's twelve-tone method represents the compositional technique of a whole school of composition in Europe, so Seeger's Dissonant Counterpoint represents the musical stylings of the 'ultramodern' set in the States at roughly the same time.

The technicalities of composition in the dissonant counterpoint style are significantly different from classical contrapuntal writing, yes it originated from a reversal of the techniques of Fuxian counterpoint, however Seeger developed it much further to include such concepts as dissonating rhythm, form, dynamics and many other aspects of composition. I'm thinking perhaps it deserves its own article as there is a lot to say about it and the composers which wrote in the style, far more than is covered here. I would be happy to start work on a new article, however I am not familiar with the technicalities of such an undertaking. Any willing collaborators? 62.56.124.204 (talk) 08:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC) Jackmack

Additional citations[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 23:55, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Tag removed. Hyacinth (talk) 00:25, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Historical context[edit]

Counterpoint is normally taught in historical context, and I think the article should be organized historically with separate broad sections devoted to the techniques of 1) "modal" or Renaissance counterpoint, 2) "tonal" or "common-practice-period" (Baroque, Classical, and Romantic) counterpoint, and 3) "modern" or twentieth-century counterpoint. The current "Linear counterpoint" and "Dissonant counterpoint" sections should be subsumed by 3). (The "Linear counterpoint" section as it currently reads, by the way, is a mess.) TheScotch (talk) 09:19, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Do you have the sourcs for the job? Ceoil (talk) 11:40, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Counterpoint examples[edit]

Are the examples of the species taken from a specific book or manual? I'm asking because I think there are some errors:

  • in 1st and 2nd spieces I'm not sure that those tritones are admitted (F and B subsequently in the two voices);
  • in 3rd species there are at least two parallel fifths: F-C and G-D in 2nd and 3rd measures, F-C and E-B in 4th and 5th; I'm pretty sure that they are too much close for not being errors;
  • in 4th the syncopation is totally nonsense: you can't make dissonance with the fourth when you write for two voices; the interval of fourth when there are only two voices is not allowed. And a 4th species counterpoint should end with the penultimate measure with tonic (tied from the previous measure) and the seventh degree, and the last measure with tonic (like the example for the 5th species).

In addition, I don't understand why B is almost always natural instead of flat in all the examples; "dorian" doesn't mean that the B must be natural.
[Sorry if I could not explain myself better, I'm italian. :)] 80.116.252.5 (talk) 15:19, 5 December 2011 (UTC) S.P.

Greetings. I wrote the examples. (Any extract from a current manual would be copyright infringement.) In the 1st and second species I don't see those tritones you mention -- there are no harmonic tritones, and the distance between the F and B between the two voices melodically is pretty much the way you will see it in Fux or Jeppesen. Similarly with the parallel fifths -- you can do them if they are in the notes off the beat; I can show you equivalent examples in the standard manuals. Not sure about the "fourth" rule you mention; can you point to a standard manual that disallows a fourth as a dissonance? When I taught counterpoint I included it as a dissonance you could use, either passing, as a neighbor, or as a suspension. Regarding B versus B flat, you can choose depending on the melodic contour. Cheers, Antandrus (talk) 16:06, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick answer! Regarding the tritones in 1st and 2nd, I wrote that I wasn't sure, and in fact you are right. The same for the fourths in the syncopation species: i remember that I didn't use that interval when I did counterpoint, but I just checked and it's allowed. I studied on the manual by Theodore Dubois. I'm reading Dubois right now, and those parallel fifths in the 3rd species example are not allowed. It doesn't matter if they are not on the beat; Dubois says that if the two notes the make a fifth are notes if the harmony, they have to be separated by at least 4 quarters. So, F-C and E-B at measures 4-5 are surely not allowed. The previous (F-C an G-D) can maybe be tollerated becaus D is not part of the E minor chord implied on the beat. Obviously, Dubois is not God and is not the only counterpoint manual in this world, but for who studied with that book, this is an error. If I want to be really perfectionist, Dubois says that 3rd species have to begin with a pause of a quarter, and 4th with a pause of a half. But maybe Dubois made me paranoid. :) And, by the way: I'm pretty sure that copying examples for a manual of the 19th century doesn't infrange any copyright law. 80.116.252.5 (talk) 20:52, 5 December 2011 (UTC) S.P.
Actually the notes with the fifths are separated by four quarters, unless you are looking at something I am not. You can have parallel fifths on the third quarter-note of the bar in consecutive measures, as long as the first quarter note of the bar is an imperfect consonance. Do you have Gradus ad Parnassum by Johann Joseph Fux? In the first extended example of the species he gives (figure 55 in my edition) he has exactly this same case (between the second and third bars). I can find you an example in a 20th-century manual as well if you like. Antandrus (talk) 21:32, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
I meant the fifhts F-C and E-B on measures 4-5 in the 3rd species example: they are separated by only three quarters. By the way, what I just want to say is that not all the counterpoint manual are agreed with all the rules; for Dubois, this is an error. Maybe is to be specified that all the rules in this article are taken from Fux, and are for the most part (but not all) shared by the other authors. Here just Fux and Cherubini are mentioned, when Dubois, Gedalge, Zanolini or de la Motte are currently used, and I think they can't be simply ignored. 82.55.228.184 (talk) 10:04, 6 December 2011 (UTC) S.P.
Yes, there are some differences between the various authors. See for example this page, rule 8, which covers the fifths in the example I wrote. I was mainly following Jeppesen (not sure how to cite that, but I could); what I like about his book is that it begins with an extended discussion on the "Palestrina style" and only then moves on the derive the "rules" from it. Fux has gotten a lot of criticism in the 20th century for, among other things, being overly triadic in his melodic writing (Palestrina likely would have corrected his examples). I don't have the Dubois book. Interesting though -- I've never before encountered a prohibition on off-beat fifths in third species. Antandrus (talk) 15:01, 6 December 2011 (UTC)


I think there is at least one additional problem with one of these examples: In the third species example, I see a dissonant outline between the D on the first beat of the first measure and the E on the first beat of the third measure, in the upper voice. Unless I'm missing something, this is not allowed. --Julian (talk) 04:30, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Plagiarism?[edit]

Most of the sections "Development" and "Species counterpoint" (including the sub-sections) are copied almost directly from this website: http://student.santarosa.edu/~lrisi/HTML2/assn3.html . I am not quite sure how to deal with this, so any aid would be appreciated. I am glad to do whatever I can to help. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 14jbella (talkcontribs) 20:42, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

The first thing is to determine if this article really was copied from the website, or the other way around. Check the edit history here to find out when that material was added; then check the student website to see if there is some indication of a date. If material in this article proves to have been plagiarised from a copyrighted source, delete the material immediately and include the phrase "copyright violation" or "copyvio" in your edit summary. If instead it turns out that the student has copied Wikipedia, that is no big deal, provided that he/she did not submit this for a class assignment, claiming it was original work. In that case, it may be appropriate to notify the professor in charge of the class.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:00, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Aha. Look at the bottom of the website page, where it says: "All the information was directly taken from Wikipedia".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:02, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Haha, very sorry, my bad. 14jbella (talk) 02:32, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Better safe than sorry. The Copyvio Police can come down like a ton of bricks on articles that abuse copyright law.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 02:41, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Other Considerations[edit]

Here some are things (some I believe from Schachter's counterpoint text which has a certain goal, others from Fux which has another) for consideration for addition. I don't have time to develop them myself right now unfortunately, but if nobody does in the interim I will write something developed for addition to the article.

Principles of line (tendency tones), climax or anticlimax is desirable though not required by Fux (generally avoid bass and soprano climaxing at same time), balance (don't leap into cadence), variety (don't just write scales or arpeggios), descent at cadence in Cantus, singability (=> avoid leaps of major sixths, no dissonant leaps, avoid leaps in same direction greater than third, keep vocal ranges, etc.)

Some of these are not required by Fux

Avoid cross relations and neighboring chromaticism (implied by Fux) when raising LT at cadence. Also avoid augmented second by going to 6 -> raised 7 ->1 such as in Aeolian mode.

Ottava Battuta - forbidden in two parts, permitted in more (Fux)

Nota Cambiata and other common maneuvers to evade common problems that became characteristic or cadential figures.

Outlining a dissonant interval (by changes of direction, range of an outer part)--less bad than by outlining with leaps but still not desirable.

Beaten octaves or fifths must be broken up by consonants in 2nd species (or else parallels with passing tones results) and must not be repeated more than twice(thrice?)/no sequential motion. Related rule that gives birth to Nota Cambiata in 3rd species(?).

For Schenkerian applications, voice crossing is forbidden. In "real" baroque and renaissance counterpoint it is often necessary and desirable. Rufe (talk) 06:43, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Summary[edit]

The initial summary is awful imho; a music student would have to take a few seconds to digest, whilst a newcomer would have no chance. In my mind, it'd ideally be along the lines of "counterpoint is when you have multiple tunes which are in harmony but have different rhythyms". But I get the impression the author of the current version always wanted to be a textbook writer but never quite made it...

Due to the undefended reversion, however, I've made an intermediate version, and provide my rationale for the intermediate changes: "Voices" implies two or more already, so I think the phrase "two or more" is superfluous, and rhythm is a more common term than "pitch contour" so I reckon it deserves to come first, not that I think the phrase "pitch contour" is acceptable, mind you. 86.163.71.158 (talk) 09:27, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Per Wikipedia:No personal attacks: "Comment on content, not on the contributor." Hyacinth (talk) 18:40, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I thought I was commenting on the content. Perhaps G.K. Chesterton puts it better:

If you say "The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment," you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin "I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out," you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think.

Regards, 86.163.71.158 (talk) 20:50, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I was referring specifically to the sentence containing: "I get the impression the author of the current version..." Hyacinth (talk) 23:00, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Setting aside the question of who is responsible for what, may I just ask why "pitch contour" is an unacceptable term?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:27, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I would have thought it reasonable (for example) for a secondary school music student to want to know what counterpoint is, and to happen across this page. I wouldn't think it reasonable for a secondary school music student to know what "pitch contour" is. In fact, looking up the talk page, I can see somebody else was bemused by the term as well. It's like saying 'dessert is a meal typically containing high levels of monosaccharides and disaccharides', instead of 'dessert tends to be sweet'. 86.163.71.158 (talk) 09:18, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I see. Then you are suggesting that "pitch contour" should be replaced by "where the melody goes up and down", or what? Perhaps standards have fallen badly since I was a secondary-school student, but back in the Pleistocene we all knew what "contour" and "pitch" meant, and were able to string two words together without getting a headache.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:45, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Also, does it matter what order "rhythm" and "pitch contour" occur in? Hyacinth (talk) 01:59, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know what it should be replaced by, I'm just saying it needs to be changed. And perhaps standards have fallen, but I would expect a random person on the street without much (or any) musical education, so be bemused by "pitch contour" if they came to this article to find out what counterpoint meant. 86.163.71.158 (talk) 14:10, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid this is not very helpful. You seem to be saying that "pitch contour" is absolutely the worst possible expression for the purpose, and replacing it with anything at all (let us say, "comatose wombat" or "William Shakespeare") would be an improvement. "Pitch contour" is very specific, and if your random person does not know what either "pitch" or "contour" means, it seems to me the best option is to look these words up in a dictionary. On the other hand, we may be flogging a dead horse here, since I do not find this expression anywhere in the article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:31, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
The article now reads "contour" with a piped link to "pitch contour". This is obviously less clear. Hyacinth (talk) 21:37, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that it would be clearer if the phrase "pitch contour" were made plain, rather than piping it from "contour"? Perhaps 86.163.71.158 would care to express a preference? At least this would indicate whether we sould be moving in the right direction.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:45, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Problem with Initial Image[edit]

Would anyone mind editing out the fingering numbers in the initial image example? Considering the prevalence of labeling intervals with numbers when analyzing counterpoint, unaware students (such as those that grew up playing instruments other than piano) may come to this page and end up confused by that initial image. Just a thought. Phembree (talk) 00:15, 17 November 2012 (UTC)


The first sentence should include that they are independent in melody as well. It's what counterpoint is all about — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.239.250.100 (talk) 04:49, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

That's what "independent in rhythm and contour" means. Is this so obscure?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:59, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Independence[edit]

I think the first sentence should say that they are independent melodically rather than in "contour" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:7:8500:982:D9B5:5E7C:4F5B:EE71 (talk) 05:41, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Why do you think this would be an improvement?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:03, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

"Confusing" tag removed, explanation[edit]

This subject is very advanced even for those acquainted with basics of classical music theory. I've reviewed the sections and determined they are adequately simple to be useful. Adagio Cantabile (talk) 13:45, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I've also removed all "contradiction" tags which object to lack of rhythmical independence in species counterpoint because the lead paragraph says counterpoint includes it. Unlike counterpoint in general, species counterpoint does not necessarily mean rhythmical independence. First sentence in the paragraph explains it clearly. Adagio Cantabile (talk) 14:23, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
As long as the section on species counterpoint explains that it is strictly a didactic tool, and therefore is an exception to the condition of rhythmic independence of the parts, all that is needed is the removal of the claim that "strict counterpoint" (which is defined as an alternative term for species counterpoint) was part of 16th-century practice. We can then hope that no meddling editor will mention that organum, discantus, and fauxbourdon are also regarded as forms of counterpoint, since such facts would be confusing to any but advanced readers.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:29, 17 January 2015 (UTC)