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  1. Species (or strict) counterpoint should ideally be written in the vocal clefs: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass. You may, while learning the very first basics of counterpoint, write in only the treble and bass clef, but it is important for any good performer, musicologist, conductor or composer to be able to read every clef at sight.
  2. Only the following harmonies are allowed:
  3. Only one harmony is permitted within each measure, so each note must be:
  4. Melodic movement is the motion of each individual part. Each part may only move at the following intervals, ascending or descending:
    • maj/min 2
    • maj/min 3
    • perfect 4
    • perfect 5
    • minor 6
    • octave
  5. The melodic movement of the octave must always be arranged so that the note immediately preceding and following the octave lie within it.
  6. No chromatics are allowed.
  7. Movements forming arpeggios should be avoided.
  8. Movements of a seventh or greater in two skips are forbidden.
  9. A note may not be successively repeated in the same part.
  10. Your composition should be as scalewise as possible, although no single exercise scale should be more than an eleventh in total range.
  11. Both the major and melodic minor scales should be employed.
  12. Harmonic movement (or how the parts move together) is the true struggle of counterpoint. Movement is possible between any two parts in four ways and preferable in the first two:
    • Contrary movement, in which the parts move in opposite directions
    • In oblique movement, in which one part moves while the others stands still
    • In direct movement, in the parts move in the same direction but not at the same interval
    • In parallel movement, in which the parts move in the same direction at the same numerical interval.
  13. The parallel or contrary movement of consecutive fifths or octaves is strictly forbidden.
  14. 5ths or octaves which are arrived at by the direct motion of two parts are forbidden.
  15. A unison must be approached by contrary or oblique movement except in two part first species: in this it is limited to the first and last measure.
  16. More than 2 parallel 6th's or 3rd's are forbidden between any two parts.
  17. Harmonic sequences are not allowed, as they degenerate the philosophy of coutnerpoint.
  18. No modulation which entails an accidental may be used.
  19. The lowest voice must always begin and end on tonic.
  20. The harmony of the first and last measure must always be tonic.
  21. Never double the leading tone (7th). Ever.
  22. Dissonances must be approached and prepared by contrary or oblique movement.
  23. Never use a melodic formula twice in succession.
  24. Don't cross the voices. Sometimes voice crossing may be permitted but the composer must never ever cross an upper voice with the bass voice; to do so would grant the upper voice an harmonic function, which it never has.

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