Counterpoint in Composering – First Species

I picked a random cantus firmus from page 11 of the Counterpoint in Composition text and wrote counterpoints for each possible CF position.

Example 1: Cantus firmus in the bass


This is my first one and I was rather surprised at how much more restrictive Salzer and Schachter are than Fux. While there are some glaring errors (all voices moving in similar motion m.4-5, soprano leaps while upper voices move in similar motion, unequal fifths into m. 10 with all voices moving in similar motion AGAIN) I have to say I’m more satisfied with the soprano line than I am in the version where I fixed some of these errors:

More correct but not as good? Still some errors of the soprano leaping during similar motion of the upper voices, though. That happens to me a lot. I’ll get better at it, I promise.

Example 2: Cantus firmus in the soprano


This one was a lot easier, even though the book said it wasn’t going to be. Going in to measure 9 was rough and the only option I had that I liked was the octave+sixth that I’m supposed to avoid. Well, I’m hoping all the oblique motion obscures the undesired interval. This isn’t anything to write home about but I did it.

Example 3: Cantus firmus in the middle


I actually liked working on this one. Sure, I approach measure 3 through all voices moving in similar motion. I also have well-defined lines in the outer voices and other than the direct 5ths in measure 7 those outer lines seem fine. The soprano and bass each have non-consecutive high and low peak notes. Boo-yah! And I have more full triads and more open spacing than in my previous examples. I feel good about this one.

The takeaway?

I care more about line shape than I do motion relationships. A good line is better than being 100% correct.

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