Today in my counterpoint class we worked through our first three-voice first species exercises. I put a cantus firmus on the board and we talked through all the considerations of 1:1 in three voices.
Here is what we came up with:
The biggest issue we ran into as class time ran out was how to get a peak in the soprano line (the F in measure 6) while still compensating for the E-flat to B-flat leap immediately thereafter. Also, the middle voice has a prominent melodic tritone shape in measures 3 – 6 which, as an isolated line, bugged us. Other than that, this seemed to be the best of all possible options for our first outing.
I worked through an alternate solution right after class during my office hours. I was able to fix both problems. I wanted to maintain the opening of our example and retain as much as I could while still showing a sense of revision. Here is what I did:
What I changed:
Moving from an 8/3 sonority to an 8/5 in measure 3 took care of the middle voice’s tritone. Also, putting the cadential resolution of ti-do in the middle line let me compensate for the soprano’s leap to (and from) the peak note. While that leap to and from the peak F in measure 6 is certainly not ideal, I do spend the rest of the line filling in the gaps. I can’t think of another way of peaking on that F and compensating without leading to parallel octaves.
What a minute. I’ll be right back.
What about this?
So moving the peak note to the G in measure 7 allowed for immediate compensation and I ended up with more variety in the soprano line overall. The middle line keeps its peak and while I’m using more ties than I ought to, I think the line still has direction and shape. Yes, now my soprano and bass are in parallel 10ths for 4 notes in a row but I could fix that by moving the soprano to an F in the last measure (causing unequal fifths with the middle voice, I think 4 10ths is better).
The other thing I’m doing is learning Lilypond. One of the first things I did was learn to replace the default font (ugh) but I can’t quite make the scripting work out to hide the time signatures. Baby steps. I’m learning. I used to put my counterpoint homework into Finale when I worked as a monitor in the music computer lab at KU back in ’94. It just feels like the right way to learn Lilypond.