Teaching counterpoint by progressively adding more notes to a given part, often labelled species counterpoint, did not begin with Johann Joseph Fux’s, Gradus. The Study of Counterpoint has ratings and 36 reviews. Joel said: Now how you gonna go and front on my boy Fux? Even if you’re not a musician — like. Misc. Notes, Title: Practical Rules for Learning Composition translated from a Work intitled Gradus ad Parnassum written originally in Latin by John Joseph Feux.

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By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Fux’s need to preach takes away from his perfectly legitimate argument: For example, in three-part writing a leap between two notes of a triad may occasionally avoid consecutives, an option which is typically not available in two-part textures.

I understand why he would recommend that as this book requires time and practice to work out. By the s he was in Viennaand attracted the attention of Emperor Leopold I with some masses he counterpoibt the emperor was sufficiently impressed by them to assist him with his career after this point. With an extra part, however, comes the necessity to construct parts which satisfy the harmonic and melodic aspect while avoiding forbidden consecutives.

Oct 15, Nathan Mcfarland rated it it was amazing.

The Study of Counterpoint by Johann Joseph Fux

I honestly cannot understand why people still recommend Fux, to this day, some referring to him as “the source”.

I had to read everything about 3 times to get a handle on it. Jul 24, Niek Lucassen rated it liked it.

As all of the remaining species in four parts essentially follow the rules already given for fewer parts, examples will be given for each species. That said, these techniques of counterpoint particularly two-part, first-species counterpoint are still found all over music to this day. Fux gives several examples of this species, many with counterpoint above and below the cantus firmus.

The Study of Counterpoint | W. W. Norton & Company

Once all the species are mastered in two voices, the species are gone through again in three voices, and then in four voices. This article needs additional citations for verification.


The most celebrated countrpoint on counterpoint is Fux’s great theoretical work? Jan 01, Daniel added it.

Definitely worth a look through your local secondhand bookstore or library! Feb 24, Counterpoitn rated it really liked it Recommended to X by: Jul 19, Max Gibson rated it liked it. The work is counterpoknt into two major parts. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Occasionally, in modern counterpoint textbooks, the third and fourth species are reversed with suspensions being taught before four notes against one. It was written around the 18th century, and teaches all the rules that govern counterpoint.

After a couple months of practice and familiarization on the subject, I was able to come counterpoibt and progress through it slowly. The examples are not very melodic in nature but will teach you sound counterpoint writing.

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It’s nearly years old at this point, and many of the old masters studied from it. Anybody interested in learning counterpoint fus historical sources is better adivsed to look at Morley, Tinctoris and Zarlino for the Renaissance and Mattheson, Rameau and Marpur for the Baroque. Hell, even the standard renaissance cadences, which are of great structural importance are not thought and are only possible in one of is species.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Here, in bars and the soprano and bass parts move by direct motion to perfect consonances; a move, which in two-part writing, would be forbidden.

Gradus ad Parnassum (Fux, Johann Joseph)

Definitely worth a look th Reading this was my first exploration into more advanced harmony and voice leading, and I was quite daunted! In this way, the note values of the lower counterpoint in the above example could be halved. Post Your Answer Discard By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of serviceprivacy policy and cookie policyand that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.


Loved the dialog between teacher and pupil. As with the other species, Fux includes various examples of fourth species in three-part writing, the Lydian example is shown below.

Dissonance is introduced in the form of suspensions which occur on the first note of the bar. Fux strongly feels that “modern music” has lost its sense of value and purpose with its incessant need to improvise, and he feels that we have lost touch with what is true.

I chose to do the “quick” route and just play through the examples and glean general instruction on writing counterpoint but I agree with Fux that working through the species will take considerable time and be of the most benefit. Even if you’re not a musician — like, if you’re maybe a painter or a movie-maker or just a person trying to get some stuff done or something — read this book and feel inspired by its easy to understand analysis of the ever complex world of counterpoint.

You’ll either find the style charming or off-putting. Now how you gonna go and front on my boy Fux?

Did Fux or Mann write anything else? The suspensions must be prepared correctly, as a consonant on the second note of the bar, they then form the suspension on the first note of the bar, which is dissonant, before resolving downwards counteerpoint the following second note, which is consonant. Appreciated the good explanations for the rules, as well as the message that some of them are mostly guidelines rather than absolute truths is very important to go coutnerpoint with the more complicated types of counterpoint.

Books by Johann Joseph Fux. Good classic work for studying the theory of counterpoint. In this species, all of the intervals are consonant. Dec 15, Ella added it. Dec 04, Namrirru rated it it was amazing Shelves: