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Intervals in Action (Two-Voice Composition)

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  1. Intervals in Action (Two-Voice Composition) Musicians Guide to Music Theory and Analysis Chapter 8

  2. Counterpoint • Melody and harmony working together • Counterpoint comes from the Latin punctus contra puncturn, which means point-against-point. • Counterpoint was popular during the Medieval and Renaissance time periods

  3. Connecting Intervals: Note-Against-Note Counterpoint • Note-Against-Note counterpoint is technically called first species counterpoint • It can also be referred to as 1:1 counterpoint (1 melody pitch to 1 harmony pitch) • Originally whole note to whole note, but does not have to be just whole notes

  4. Connecting Intervals: Note-Against-Note Counterpoint • 1:1 • Each line is melodically interesting A first species counter point from Gradus ad Parnassum

  5. Labeling Intervals in Counterpoint • Melodic intervals - from pitch to pitch within the same line/part - using generic intervals • Terms to label melodic intervals • Step - intervals of half and whole steps • Skip - intervals of thirds and fourths • Leap - intervals larger than a fifth (used sparingly) • Harmonic Intervals are also labeled generically, using simple intervals numbers A first species counter point from Gradus ad Parnassum

  6. Labeling Intervals in Counterpoint • Label the melodic intervals below and use the terms step, skip, and leap to describe each. A first species counter point from Gradus ad Parnassum

  7. Labeling Intervals in Counterpoint • Label the harmonic intervals below. Mozart, Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman,” theme -When a line moves primarily by step, like the upper line above, the motion is considered to be conjunct. -When a line move primarily by skips and leaps, like the lower line above, the motion is considered to be disjunct.

  8. Four Types of Contrapuntal Motion Oblique Motion Similar Motion Contrary Motion • Oblique Motion (O) - one voice stays the same, the other moves by step, skip, or leap • Similar Motion (S) - both voices moving in the same direction by step, skip, or leap • Contrary Motion (C) - voices moving in opposite directions • Parallel Motion (P) - harmonic intervals moving in the same direction to another interval of the same generic size between the two voices

  9. Four Types of Contrapuntal Motion Oblique Motion Similar Motion Contrary Motion Parallel Motion

  10. Summary - page 139 There are four types of motion between pairs of voices: • Oblique motion (O): on part repeats or sustains a single pitch, the other moves by leap, skip, or step. • Contrary motion (C): the two parts move in opposite directions. • Similar motion (S): both parts move in the same direction, but not by the same generic interval. • Parallel motion (P): both parts move in the same direction by the same generic interval.

  11. Writing Note-against-Note Counterpoint (Key Concept - page 140) When writing a contrapuntal line: • Use mostly stepwise motion, with a few skips and leaps artfully placed to give your melody an interesting shape. • Aim for a melodic contour with one high point and several smaller peaks. • Follow leaps with steps in the opposite direction. • Avoid more the two skips in a row.

  12. Writing Note-against-Note Counterpoint Steps to writing a melody: • Start by writing the beginning and ending of your melodic line. • Choose and notate a possible high point, usually about 2/3 of the way through. • Go back and fill in the spaces, using only intervals of 1(8), 3, 5, or 6. (Avoid moving 1(8) and 5 in succession.) • Revise as necessary.

  13. Beginning a Note-Against-Note Counterpoint • The opening interval establishes the tonic. • Usually starts in unison or an octave. • In traditional counterpoint unison, 5th, or 8th were the only choices to start. • In the 18th century pitches in the tonic triad are acceptable. • If the piece or a phrase begins with an anacrusis, the first down beat of the first full measure usually establishes the tonic. OPEN YOUR BOOKS TO PAGE 140.

  14. Ending a Note-Against-Note Counterpoint • In strict species, one voice uses scale degree 2 to 1; the other uses 7 to 1. This will end the counterpoint in an unison or an octave. • Ending on a 3rd or a 5th is permitted. OPEN YOUR BOOKS TO PAGE 143

  15. Chordal Dissonance We call the dissonant intervals of a dominant seventh chord chordal dissonances. Resolve these intervals as follows: • D5 -> 3: both voices move in by a step. • A4 -> 6: both voices move out by a step. • m7 -> 3: the lower voice moves up a P4 or down a P5; the upper voice moves down by a step. These intervals must be approached by step in both voices.

  16. Resolving a d5 A d5 resolves in to a 3 like the example to the left. d5 3

  17. Resolving an A4 An A4 resolves out to a 6, like the example to the left. A4 6

  18. Resolving a m7 To resolve a m7 to a 3: 1. Move the lower voice up a P4 or down a P5. 2. Move the upper voice down by a step. m7 3 P4 P5

  19. Completing the Counterpoint (Key Concept - page 144) 1. When you connect harmonic intervals, consider the melodic intervals that are created. • If one line skips or leaps, the other should step or remain on the same pitch. • If one line repeats or sustains the same pitch, the other should step, skip, or leap. • Both parts may step. 2 . Use contrary motion the most, followed by similar, then oblique. • Both lines should be singable. • Both should have an interesting contour with a single melodic highpoint. 3. Use parallel motion carefully. • Parallel motion between two perfect fifths or octaves is not permitted in this style. • Use parallel motion freely with thirds or sixths, but • Avoid too many parallel thirds or sixths in a row (remember, we are aiming to for independent contrapuntal lines).

  20. Completing the Counterpoint (Key Concept - page 144) cont. 4. Approach and leave perfect intervals carefully. • Aim for contrary or oblique motion into and out of P5 and P8. • Avoid parallel motion into and out of P5 and P8. • Use similar motion into our out of P5 and P8 only if the soprano move by step; otherwise avoid. • Include perfect intervals less often than thirds and sixths. • Avoid harmonic perfect fourths altogether. 5. Use mostly consonant intervals. When you write a chordal dissonance, • approach it by repeated pitch in one voice or by step in at least one of the voices; • resolve it correctly. 6. Make sure the opening and closing establishes the tonic chord. • End the counterpoint with a unison or octave (possibly a fifth or third). • Begin the counterpoint with a unison, octave, or fifth (possibly a fifth or third). 7. Close the counterpoint with a phrase ending that suggests dominant-to-tonic harmonic motion.

  21. Key Concept - page 144 - Broken Down 1. When you connect harmonic intervals, consider the melodic intervals that are created. • If one line skips or leaps, the other should step or remain on the same pitch. • If one line repeats or sustains the same pitch, the other should step, skip, or leap. • Both parts may step. -AT LEAST ONE VOICE SHOULD BE MOVING AT ALL TIMES -DO NOT HAVE A SKIP OR LEAP IN MORE THAN ONE VOICE 2 . Use contrary motion the most, followed by similar, then oblique. • Both lines should be singable. • Both should have an interesting contour with a single melodic highpoint. -BOTH LINES SHOULD BE MUSICALLY INTERESTING

  22. Key Concept - page 144 - Broken Down 3. Use parallel motion carefully. • Parallel motion between two perfect fifths or octaves is not permitted in this style. • Use parallel motion freely with thirds or sixths, but • Avoid too many parallel thirds or sixths in a row (remember, we are aiming to for independent contrapuntal lines). -NO PARALLEL 5THs OR 8THs -TOO MANY PARALLEL 3RD AND 6THS GETS BORING 4. Approach and leave perfect intervals carefully. • Aim for contrary or oblique motion into and out of P5 and P8. • Avoid parallel motion into and out of P5 and P8. • Use similar motion into our out of P5 and P8 only if the soprano move by step; otherwise avoid. • Include perfect intervals less often that thirds and sixths. • Avoid harmonic perfect fourths altogether. -BECAREFUL HOW YOU APPROACH P5 AND P8 -USE 3RD AND 6TH MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE (MEMORIZE THIS RULE!!…AND THE REST OF THEM OF COURSE!)

  23. Key Concept - page 144 - Broken Down 5. Use mostly consonant intervals. When you write a chordal dissonance, • approach it by repeated pitch in one voice or by step in at least one of the voices; • resolve it correctly. -USE 1(8), 3, 5 AND 6 MOST -MAKE SURE YOU RESOLVE ANY DISSONANCES CORRECTLY 6. Make sure the opening and closing establishes the tonic chord. • End the counterpoint with a unison or octave (possibly a fifth or third). • Begin the counterpoint with a unison, octave, or fifth (possibly a fifth or third). -BEGIN AND END WITH AN OCTAVE AND YOU ARE IN GOOD SHAPE -3RDS AND 5THS WILL WORK AS WELL • Close the counterpoint with a phrase ending that suggests dominant-to-tonic harmonic motion. -5 TO 1 MOTION AT THE END (KNOWN AS AN AUTHENTIC CADENCE)

  24. Example Turn to page 145 in your book. Look for these in the example provided. 1. When you connect harmonic intervals, consider the melodic intervals that are created. • If one line skips or leaps, the other should step or remain on the same pitch. • If one line repeats or sustains the same pitch, the other should step, skip, or leap. • Both parts may step. 2 . Use contrary motion the most, followed by similar, then oblique. • Both lines should be singable. • Both should have an interesting contour with a single melodic highpoint. 3. Use parallel motion carefully. • Parallel motion between two perfect fifths or octaves is not permitted in this style. • Use parallel motion freely with thirds or sixths, but • Avoid too many parallel thirds or sixths in a row (remember, we are aiming to for independent contrapuntal lines). 4. Approach and leave perfect intervals carefully. • Aim for contrary or oblique motion into and out of P5 and P8. • Avoid parallel motion into and out of P5 and P8. • Use similar motion into our out of P5 and P8 only if the soprano move by step; otherwise avoid. • Include perfect intervals less often that thirds and sixths. • Avoid harmonic perfect fourths altogether. 5. Use mostly consonant intervals. When you write a chordal dissonance, • approach it by repeated pitch in one voice or by step in at least one of the voices; • resolve it correctly. 6. Make sure the opening and closing establishes the tonic chord. • End the counterpoint with a unison or octave (possibly a fifth or third). • Begin the counterpoint with a unison, octave, or fifth (possibly a fifth or third). 7. Close the counterpoint with a phrase ending that suggests dominant-to-tonic harmonic motion.

  25. Second Species Counterpoint Second species counterpoint can also be called 2:1 counterpoint. Second species counterpoint leads to melodic embellishments like passing tones, neighbor tones, and chordal skips.

  26. The Passing Tone • Most common in 2:1 counterpoint Passing tones (labeled P) are melodic embellishments that fill in between chord members by stepwise motion. The passing tone is approached by step and left by step in the same direction. (Key Concept - page 147)

  27. The Neighbor Tone Neighbor tones (labeled N) are melodic embellishments that decorate a melody pitch by moving to a pitch a step above or below it, then returning to the original pitch. Neighbor tones are approached and left by step, in the opposite direction. (Key Concept - page 149) There are two kind of neighbor tones: upper neighbor (pictured below) and lower neighbor.

  28. Chordal Skips Chordal Skips (labeled CS) are melodic embellishments made by skipping from one chord member to another. The harmonic intervals formed are consonances.

  29. Writing 2:1 Counterpoint When writing 2:1 counterpoint: • Continue to follow the guidelines for 1:1 counterpoint with respect to • types of motion (contrary, similar, oblique, and parallel) and • phrase beginnings and endings. • Incorporate chordal skips, passing tones, and neighbor tones on the offbeats. • Treat the P4 as a dissonance-use it only as a passing or neighbor tone. • Avoid similar motion into perfect intervals unless the upper voice moves by step. • Don’t write the parallel perfect consonances (P5 to P5, P8 to P8) on an offbeat to beat or on consecutive beats.