Counterpoint in Composering: Fourth Species

Fourth species. The most problematic species, for me at least, and my least favorite. Using the Salzer/Schachter book made it significantly easier though: they break species TWICE with regularity. The certainly clears up things a bit, let me tell you. I did these six exercises rather quickly so there are probably strict things that I missed but I stopped caring. As I recall, this is about what happened in my Summer ad Parnassum series: 4th species burnout. I know my students were feeling it.

CF:1:Sus

Assessment: My suspended voice is like an episode of Dora, “Can you find the pitch A or B?” Of course you can. There really isn’t anything else going on. The 1:1 voice = parallel thirds. So, there is that. Next!

CF:Sus:1

Assessment: This one is awesome. I wrote the 1:1 first, all the way through, so I could ensure good variety of motion between the soprano and CF. The middle voice just flew into place and worked perfectly. Yes, there are a bunch of Cs in the inner voice but there are 2 honest to goodness LINES happening there.

1:CF:Sus

Assessment: Not too shabby. I like having staggered arpeggiations in my counterpoints. The lines are decent. Not going to set the world on fire, though.

Sus:CF:1

Assessment: Parallel thirds? Similar motion? Yup. This isn’t terrible but it is rather close. Next!

1:Sus:CF

Assessment: This one is surprisingly good. The 1:1 line has a lot of independence and the inner voice is a little restricted in range but not too repetitive to my ears.

Sus:1:CF

Assessment: I did not go out gracefully. This one. Ugh. I should have scrapped it and started over. I leapt a 6th in the bass because I’d already done the octave leap and wanted to see what happened if I didn’t do that. Range is a major problem: more than 2 octaves between bass and soprano at times, wildly big range of the bass, other crap like that. Oh well, 4th species is over. It wasn’t pretty (#2 and #5 are kind of nice) but Achievement Unlocked!

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