The Art of Counterpoint

The Art of Counterpoint

The Art of Counterpoint

The Art of Counterpoint

Excerpt

The first edition of this treatise was published in 1907. During the fifteen years that have elapsed, a considerable change has come over the outlook upon contrapuntal study in this country. This welcome change enables me in the second edition to carry to its logical conclusion what I had in mind in 1907, but felt at the time to be inopportune. If the technique of strict Counterpoint be deduced from the practice of the sixteenth century, it is only logical to employ the scalic system of that period. Fux used the modal system, and it should be restored. The atmosphere of sixteenth-century music cannot be obtained without using the modes. Further than that the technique is bound up with the modes, so that if the modern scales be employed, all sorts of difficulties in reference to unessential notes and harmonic progression arise, leading to all sorts of false conclusions.

Those who modernized strict Counterpoint evidently thought they were doing a real service in making it do duty as a kind of abstract technical study. But the result was that it taught neither sixteenth-century technique, nor any other.

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