Writing a cantus firmus

Also an expression simply of the statistical distribution of notes in a melody: Bach, in their chorale German hymn settings for both voices and instruments, the organ in particular.

Try to find the error sand recompose the exercise to create a well formed exercise. To approach this ending smoothly, with variety, and with strong goal orientation, always approach the final interval by contrary stepwise motion.

In first-species counterpoint, we not only write a smooth melody that has its own integrity of shape, variety, and goal-directed motion, but we also write a second melody that contains these traits.

Note, there is one error in the graphic: This draws too much attention to an interval which already stands out of the texture. Hybrid Pedagogy Publishing Composing a first-species counterpoint Counterpoint is the mediation of two or more musical lines into a meaningful and pleasing whole. Macy Accessed November 7,subscription access Sparks, E.

The fouth, when it appears in a full triad we get to triads soonis stablized by writing a cantus firmus addition of a third above, forming a chord more on that soon.

Composing a first-species counterpoint

The final must be approached by step. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press. There are some minor differences, to be discussed below, but generally a first-species counterpoint should consist of two cantus-firmus-quality lines. As noted above, watch out for all direct and parallel motion into a fifth or an octave.

Practice exercise Before composing a cantus firmus from scratch, try building a well formed cantus around the following skeleton. The 11th- and 12th-century organum added a simple second melody duplum to an existing plainchant melody the vox principalisor principal voicewhich by the end of the 12th century was stretched so as to accommodate a melody.

Perfect consonances must be approached by oblique or contrary motion. The counterpoint must begin and end on a perfect consonance.

Cantus firmus

An expression of goal-orientation and the rest—motion—rest pattern. The counterpoint line In general, the counterpoint should follow the principles of writing a good cantus firmus. First Species Counterpoint — Instructions For 1: From these cantus, notice how the general musical characteristics of smoothness, melodic integrity, variety, and motion towards a goal are worked out in specific characteristics.

Because similar and parallel motion diminish variety and melodic independence, their use should be mediated by other factors: Imperfect consonances are preferable to perfect consonances for all intervals other than the first writing a cantus firmus last dyads, in order to heighten the sense of arrival at the end, and to promote a sense of motion towards that arrival.

This promotes variety in the exercise, since there are so few notes to begin with. That new line contains one note for every note in the cantus: In general, all harmonic consonances are allowed. Cantus firmus in Mass and Motet, Berkeley, Begin and end on either the unison, octave, or fifth, unless the added part is underneath, in which case begin and end only on unison or octave.

A few further rules given by Fux, by study of the Palestrina style, and usually given in the works of later counterpoint pedagogues,[ citation needed ] are as follows. Only change the counterpoint line. An interval of a fifth or larger is referred to as a "leap".

The cyclic masswhich became the standard type of mass composition around the middle of the 15th century, used cantus firmus technique as its commonest organising principle. Possibly an expression of goal-oriented motion, as we tend to perceive a move down as a decrease in energy movement towards a state of rest.

Build from the bass, upward. However, unisons should only be used for first and last intervals. The fourth, being an inversion of the fifth, is far less stable an interval than the fifth.

Here are a few reasons and I take this from the book Counterpoint in Composition, a classic in the field: The same cantus firmus is used for later examples also.Music Cantus Firmus Writing These notes are a distillation of Salzter/Schacter's Counterpoint in Composition. It is in no way a substitute for reading and working through the actual text book.

The student gradually attains the ability to write free counterpoint (that is, less rigorously constrained counterpoint, usually without a cantus firmus) according to the given rules at the time. The following rules apply to melodic writing in each species, for each part.

Composing a cantus firmus. Exercises in strict voice-leading, or species counterpoint, begin with a single, well formed musical line called the cantus firmus (fixed voice, or fixed melody; pl.

cantus firmi).Cantus firmus composition gives us the opportunity to engage the. The cantus firmus is a compositional technique that has existed for a thousand years.

Learn how it developed, how it was used, and some of the. Cantus firmus: Cantus firmus, (Latin: “fixed song”,) preexistent melody, such as a plainchant excerpt, underlying a polyphonic musical composition (one consisting of several independent voices or parts).

The 11th- and 12th-century organum added a simple second.


Make sure you understand the cantus firmus chant by completing this interactive quiz and worksheet. You can print this quiz to make studying even.

Writing a cantus firmus
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