Counterpoint is important in the formative years of any well trained orchestral musician, composer, conductor, or musicologist. Also, it's a royal pain in the ass.

Counterpoint is the study of how and why notes move against and with each other the way they do. It also comprises the collection of rules derived from that study which have been in use since the sixteenth century. While these are not rules which composition is governed by today, they have the same relevancy to the composer's craft as a ballet dancer's barre exercises do to form and technique; the greater control and understanding a composer has of the inner workings of tonality, the better he can implement a direct translation from what he hears to paper, notation, and performance.

Since counterpoint is a requirement in most any music program, and since it is so very, very difficult, I'll be compiling a complete guide to all aspects of counterpoint, including period counterpoint, species counterpoint, canonical wrting, fugue form, and of course, rules for fugue composition with up to four voices.

Once the student has acheived a mastery of all the rules contained herein, he or she is fully qualified and ready to be a composer in any style or medium.

Also, this is an ongiong project. Information that is not yet noded will not be included here, so keep checking back.

Periodical Counterpoint:

General Instructions for Species Counterpoint:
General Instructions for Three-Part Counterpoint:

Coun"ter*point` (koun"t?r-point`), n. [Counter- + point.]

An opposite point


Sir E. Sandys.


© Webster 1913.

Coun"ter*point`, n. [F. contrepoint; cf. It. contrappunto. Cf. Contrapuntal.] Mus. (a)

The setting of note against note in harmony; the adding of one or more parts to a given canto fermo or melody

. (b)

The art of polyphony, or composite melody, i. e., melody not single, but moving attended by one or more related melodies.


Music in parts; part writing; harmony; polyphonic music. See Polyphony.

Counterpoint, an invention equivalent to a new creation of music. Whewell.


© Webster 1913.

Coun"ter*point`, n. [OF. contrepoincte, corruption of earlier counstepointe, countepointe, F. courtepointe, fr. L. culcita cushion, mattress (see Quilt, and cf. Cushion) + puncta, fem. p. p. of pungere to prick (see Point). The word properly meant a stitched quilt, with the colors broken one into another.]

A coverlet; a cover for a bed, often stitched or broken into squares; a counterpane. See 1st Counterpane.

Embroidered coverlets or counterpoints of purple silk. Sir T. North.


© Webster 1913.

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