Two-Part Counterpoint

This order 1) is one composed of the four preceding orders, employed alternately in the part which forms the counterpoint; and in addition to the characters of notation already recognized, quavers 2) and dotted minims 3) are included.

Quavers 4) should succeed each other by conjunct movement, and rarely by disjunct movement. In order to follow the style of the ancient composers, no more than two quavers 5) should be placed in each bar. These quavers 6) must never occur in the first half of the sub-division, but in the second.

If four quavers 7) be employed in a bar, they should be distributed between the two latter halves of each sub-division, and not follow each other consecutively.

In general, it is well to use this character sparingly, and not to multiply quavers 8) too much; else, the counterpoint becomes too jumping, and uncongenial with the style appropriate to this kind of composition. Otherwise, quavers 9) are subject to the same laws that govern crotchets 10), as regard passing discords 11). It will be seen, hereafter, how they are to be employed with respect to prepared discords 12).

Care should be taken to give as much elegance as possible to the melody, without perverting the severe character of the style which distinguishes strict counterpoint. It will not be out of place, to repeat here, that contrary and oblique movement – and consequently syncopation – are the best means to employ for ensuring elegance in florid counterpoint. It is likewise essential, that when employing all the admitted characters of notation, they should be interspersed with tact, in order that a too-frequent recurrence of the same forms may be avoided.

The dot serves as a diminution to the semibreve 13), inasmuch as it converts it first into a dotted minim 14), and then into a crotchet 15), or two quavers 16).

Diminutions or variations of this kind, may also occur in syncopations, and by their means, the duration of the discords 17) is lessened. These diminutions give much grace to the melody.

The counterpoint in this order 18) is subject – with respect to the penultimate bar – to the same rule as in the preceding order 19); Rule 28 should therefore be consulted, where mention is also made of the first bar, which should be similarly treated in florid counterpoint.

Two completed examples of florid counterpoint

1) , 18) , 19)
2) , 4) , 5) , 6) , 7) , 8) , 9) , 16)
eighth notes
dotted quarter notes
quarter notes
11) , 12) , 17)
whole note
dotted half note
quarter note
  • cherubini_counterpoint_and_fugue/two_part_counterpoint/fifth_order.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/06/18 15:19
  • by brian