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Counterpoint
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Doobah



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:41 am    Post subject: Counterpoint Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Who here practices counterpoint? I've been practicising for a while and would love to share and learn about what other people can do.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I do.
I'm not classically trained, but from what I've worked out counterpoint is any situation where a melodically important instrument (in my case the bass) plays a note which digresses from the expected.
For example if the chords were C(M), A(m), F(M) and the bass played C, A, A then the last A is a counterpoint. Is that right?
Actually, it might be when you use the A to go into the key of A(M).
A cello by any other name would sound as sweet!
Looks like I'm about to learn something new from this forum again! That's why I love hanging out here!! Smile

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FLechdrop



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For everyone who wants to do some reading up: http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/personnel/belkin/bk.C/index.html.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Larry Solomon has some interesting stuff at http://solomonsmusic.net/
It is a nice supplement to Belkin´s text. Solomon also has written some great books.

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bachus



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes I do, I'm addicted to it. Most of my pieces are mostly contrpuntal.
Here's one, Very Happy "Various Casualties"
(about 11 megs Sad )

Smaller one here "Butterflies, Flowers and a Kite"

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey, that's great music, Bachus. A very steathy post.

This sounds like a new mix of the Various Casualties and I really think it is superb. Congratulations, or should I say Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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bachus



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks much;

I realize my style is a bit ummmm...antique. But I'd really like to hear what other people are doing with counterpoint and am interested in any style of contrapuntal writing.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

To me, contrapuntal music is the best kind because it engages the intellect as well as the emotions. I'm energized when my mind/ear is following multiple melodic lines as the move independently to create the music. I love fugues.

I enjoy writing contrapuntal music too. When I improvise on the piano, it is almost always involving two melodic lines moving contrapuntally. I'm either an addict, or in a rut. Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have to say that trying to read that Belkin stuff is like trying to pull a splinter out of your arse with boxing gloves on. I trudged through some of it the other day and I still have no idea what counterpoint really is. Worse than that, I've lost interest in wanting to find out. I'd much prefer to just do what sounds good and enjoy making music. It's sad how the really esoteric texts can do that to minds that would otherwise be ready to soak up knowledge like a sponge.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I dunno if this is more entertaining: The effect of tone duration on auditory stream formation.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I actually find that a lot more interesting. Somehow it seems like it says what it means. I find that theoretical texts on music use heaps of overly complicated language to describe very simple things. This is just really annoying and makes me feel like the author is going out of their way to be an elitist wanker.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
Yeah, I actually find that a lot more interesting. Somehow it seems like it says what it means. I find that theoretical texts on music use heaps of overly complicated language to describe very simple things. This is just really annoying and makes me feel like the author is going out of their way to be an elitist wanker.


Try http://solomonsmusic.net/theory.htm

..and have a go at the "Analysis" stuff down the page first.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just read through "Bach's Chaconne in D minor for solo violin". I can deal with that. I'd say probably 40% is still completely over my head, but at least it's interesting enough to keep reading. Still not sure exactly what counterpoint is though (I probably do it all the time! Rolling Eyes )
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Perhaps a little late in the thread for this but :

Counterpoint is simply a set of compositional techniques that enhance the "ear's" ability to hear each member of a set of simultaneous lines ("melodies") clearly and cleanly.

As experience is always the best instructor, before “studying” counterpoint it would probably be best to spend a while listening to or playing some.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Which means?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
Which means?


If you set your mind to the task of following any one line in the ensemble of lines doing so is "relatively" easy compared to,say, following lines that are no more than chord elements moving together as chords.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"The art of combining two simultaneous musical lines. The term derives from the Latin contrapunctum. 'against note'."

That is from this tiny website: http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/g_counterpoint.html

And it also mentions one style of counterpoint with a good specific description:

"J.J. Fux...devised a system known as 'species' counterpoint in which the student learnt contrapuntal facility progressively. He was given a part in long, even notes (the cantus firmus, or 'fixed song') to which he would first add another part in notes the same length, then two (or three) notes against each one, then four (or more) against each one, then a syncopated part (one against one, but moving alternately) and finally a combination of all these, so that the added part is free and florid. This may be done in two-part counterpoint or in three or more. The terms double (triple etc) counterpoint are used for counterpoint in which two (three etc) parts may be heard inverted, i.e. with either (any) as the upper part; this is also known as invertible counterpoint. "

It seems to me that counterpoint is such a huge topic (as there were many styles that were "invented") that you kind of have to take the original definition "the art of combining two simultaneous musical lines" for what it is, then read up on all the styles to see specific examples.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It all sounds like a very convoluted and verbose way of saying: -
Counterpoint is playing more than one note at the same time.
Why is it that musicians have so much trouble trying to say what they mean?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't find reading about music to be very instructive. In fact, I've experienced Uncle K's reaction many times - reading about something turned me off rather than inspiring me. Not to say that there are good reads.

When reading about counterpoint one is going to start reading rules. This is a turn off to some people. I think the best way to get a feel for counterpoint is to listen to examples of it. The first source of examples would, IMHO, be J. S. Bach.

His Two and Three Part Inventions, and Preludes and Fugues are virtually 100% counter point. If you are not a skilled keyboard player, IMHO the best way to get exposure to these is to download and play the MIDI files. If you have a DAW with a score view, you can then see the sheet music - maybe not as clean and fancy as a professional publication by Kamus or somebody, but it's free.

A good source of MIDI files is here: http://www.classicalarchives.com/

You can spend a lifetime on that site. Here's the first fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier. http://www.classicalarchives.com/m/023/1fuga1.mid It's very simple and often learned by beginning piano students - that doesn't mean it's easy. Very Happy

The Preludes and Fugues for Organ are a bit fancier. The Toccata and Fugue in Dm is a favorite. Here is a link to just the fugue: http://www.classicalarchives.com/m/0/fugadm.mid

If you have G2, try it with this performance. Not as good as a great organist on a great organ, but still it's pretty nice, IMHO.


Organ for Bach.prf2
 Description:
A performance for playing the Bach Fugue in D minor. Based on the stock G2 Church Organ patch.

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 Filename:  Organ for Bach.prf2
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes - Bach chorales. That was my first introduction to studying counterpoint. It was so easy because we first learned their simple rules, and then we wrote short pieces for 4 voices. You get to see the melody lines for each voice and (depending on the chord progression) the (limited) choices you have when following the rules.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was going to argue the Chorales are not counterpoint, but harmonized melodies, but that would be wrong. While chorales are haromized melodies, they can also be looked at as 4 part counterpoint. In music, as in life, there is a lot of ambiguity. Wink

http://sofia.fhda.edu/gallery/musicianship/resources/resource09.html

Quote:
Bach chorales are often studied in classes sometimes called "harmony" because chorales are most notably comprised of chordal progressions that underpin the melody. But one can also view Bach chorales as four counterpoint lines that weave through progressing harmonies.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I was going to argue the Chorales are not counterpoint, but harmonized melodies, but that would be wrong. While chorales are haromized melodies, they can also be looked at as 4 part counterpoint. In music, as in life, there is a lot of ambiguity. Wink


Yeah, I would say it is the most basic of counterpoint techniques if one qualifies them as counterpoint. The rules for Bach chorales were so strict, there were actually a finite amount of possibilities for each chord progression chosen. And no musician likes to hear "finite." Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
It all sounds like a very convoluted and verbose way of saying: -
Counterpoint is playing more than one note at the same time.
Why is it that musicians have so much trouble trying to say what they mean?


But it is not a way of saying that. That definition would permit a simple doubling of a voice at the octave to be consider counterpoint which it certianly is not.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

To risk over simplification, this is what counterpoint means to me:

Counterpoint involves two or more melodies played a the same time to create an integrated musical effect. Counterpoint traditionally implies that the voices are independent (octave or 3rd doubling isn't counterpoint) and that there is contrary motion. When one voice goes up, the other does not, or goes down. When one voice plays fast notes, the other voice does not.

Traditionally, little phrases or motifs are passed from one voice to the other either verbatim or modified.

Rounds (like Row, Row, Row Your Boat or There Blind Mice) are a simple form of counterpoint.

Thus, if you take some kind of music or noise and play it delayed by more that a few milliseconds with itself, you have counterpoint of sorts. To make it more interesting you'd pitch shift the delayed version, or play it backwards, or both. If the original track has silences, then you'd try to adjust the delay time so that the delayed track plays when the original is silent. You could pan the two tracks in ways to keep them sounding independent. These tricks would make for better counterpoint.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
Why is it that musicians have so much trouble trying to say what they mean?


Attribution Uncertain wrote:
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.


Now just think how much fancy dancing you'd have to do to adequatley describe your dwelling and its construction. Very Happy

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