Three-Part Counterpoint

All that has been said regarding the third order 1) of two-part counterpoint with respect to four crotchets 2), should here be recalled. In the present order 3), they are affected by the same precepts.

It should be endeavoured, as much as possible, to cause the complete common chord to be heard at the beginning of the accented part of the bar; and if no means are to be found for this, it is indispensable to let it be heard at the commencement of the unaccented portion.

Although this rule is, in some sort, of absolute necessity, yet there are cases where it may admit of exceptions; since it occasionally happens that the complete chord can neither be introduced at the commencement of the accented nor the unaccented part of the bar, and when moreover the unaccented portion may begin with a passing discord 4). However this may be, pains must be taken, if possible, to fulfil the rule in all its rigour.

In the preceding order 5), one single part introduced the two minims 6), while the two other parts had only semibreves 7); in the present order, the same restriction must be observed with regard to the four crotchets 8).

Syncopation, which was allowed in the penultimate bar in the preceding order 9), is inadmissible in the present one, because it cannot take place here, on account of the four crotchets 10). Here are several examples of cadence formulae in action:–

Examples of a lesson in the present order

After the pupil shall have gone through these exercises, alternately placing the crotchets 11) in each part, he may intersperse the preceding order 12)viz:– by the two minims 13), with the present, in the manner indicated in the following examples. In this case, the part occupied by the minims 14) commences after that which is filled by the crotchets 15). (See the following examples):–

In this mixture of the two orders 16), it is almost impossible but that one of the two parts must be almost continually disjunct. The rigour of the rule, therefore, must here be dispensed with, which enjoins the employment of conjunct movement in preference to the other.

1) , 3) , 5) , 9) , 12) , 16)
2) , 8) , 10) , 11) , 15)
quarter notes
6) , 13) , 14)
half notes
whole notes
  • cherubini_counterpoint_and_fugue/three_part_counterpoint/third_order.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/06/20 15:40
  • by brian