Summer ad Parnassum (1:1 Lydian)

1:1 Above Cantus

What I like: I like starting on the 5th. For some reason starting a 5th above is harder for me than a unison or octave. I also like the amount of stepwise motion, especially balancing stepwise motion against the leaps at the end of the CF. And sandwiching the descending F triad after the peak note in my counterpoint during the three bars between the CF’s arpeggiations is rather spiffy.

What I don’t like: Naturally I think there is too much C in this. Had I started on the octave I could have descended through D to C and cut my C usage by 25%. However, since my peak note is F I would have lessened its impact.

1:1 Below Cantus

What I like: The amount of contrary motion makes me happy. I also like the defined low and high notes. Arpeggiating the F triad against the F triad is a nice touch, too.

What I don’t like: Both voices do a lot of leaping at the same time. Even though they are both in contrary motion I feel like the end of the counterpoint becomes erratic and spastic. Leaping a fourth after a third in measures 9 – 11 is a bit of a stretch. True, leaping through triads is fine but I’m just coming off of leaping through a triad. I can’t tell if that is a good point or a bad point.

It strikes me how much more difficult it is to write linear bass lines. I want to leap a lot more when writing below the CF. I can’t tell if that is habit or just the nature of lower voices. Or if the nature of lower voices became habit. I am certainly looking forward to 2:1 exercises.

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  1. Posted May 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting these. I LOVE studying counterpoint and find it shamefully undervalued in theory curricula. I found it interesting that you often leap to and from your peak note. Do you feel it makes it more effective? I’ve heard it argued both ways. I remember one theorist comparing it to climbing up and down the stairs, saying that it is more likely that you would take bigger steps at the bottom and smaller steps as you get to the top. I just figured you would find that interesting, and to see what you thought. Thanks.

  2. Jay C. Batzner
    Posted May 21, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I’d prefer not to leap to and from notes. I’ve always thought that makes the note seem disconnected from the rest of the line. But I tend to be a lot less permissive that Fux, at least at this stage of things. I think as long as I compensate for large leaps I’ll be okay.

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