Study of Counterpoint: From Johann Joseph Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum: Johann Fux, Alfred Mann: Books – 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. from Johann Joseph Fux’s. The most celebrated book on counterpoint is Fux’s great theo- retical work Gradus ad Parnassum. Since its appearance in

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Although the vux and minor tonal system was established at the time of its publication, Fux chose to give his instruction using the Renaissance modes. First species, or note against note counterpoint, requires one note for every given note in the cantus firmus. Forbidden consecutives are avoided by approaching perfect intervals by contrary motion barsand while the overuse of the same successive imperfect intervals is avoided by limiting counterpint use to two bars at a time barsand In this species, all of the intervals are consonant.

Second species, requires two notes for every given note in the cantus firmus; the second note may be a dissonant passing note. The second note of the counterpoint may be consonant bars 1, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13 or dissonant bars 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 with the corresponding note in the cantus firmus. As mentioned earlier, all dissonance in this species comes from accented passing notes which are approached and left by step.

Leaps can only be made between two harmony notes: Third species consists of four notes for every given note in the cantus firmus. Fux states that the first note of each bar countedpoint be consonant with the given note of the cantus firmus while the three remaining notes can be a mixture of consonant and dissonant notes, providing the following rules are adhered to: The only exception to these rules is the changing note, or cambiata.

A cambiata consists of a leap from a dissonance to a consonance.

In the following example, the dissonant second note 7 leaps to the third note, rather than moving by step. Dissonance generally occurs on beats two or four but can also occur on beat three bar 9.

All rules which have been introduced for writing first and second species counterpoint also apply for third species: Fourth species like second species, requires two notes for every given note in the cantus firmus.


In fourth species, however, the notes are connected with ties and suspensions; Fux calls this species ligature. When counterpoinr ties are consonant, they connect counferpoint harmony notes. Notice, the melody leaps from one consonance to the next.

Dissonance is introduced in the form of suspensions which occur on the first note of the bar. The suspensions must be prepared correctly, as a counterpoinr 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 to the following second note, which is consonant. Upper voice suspensions in two parts consist of the and suspensions; and are not as common in two-part counterpoint, while lower voice suspensions consist of the Fux also lists and but these are less common, especially in tonal music.

Of the five suspensions only one is bar 7the remaining four include two suspensions bars 2 and 11 and two suspensions bars 6 and counteproint.

The Study of Counterpoint by Johann Joseph Fux

As in this example, the penultimate note does not need a tie. Fux also notes that the suspensions may be decorated in the following ways. Fifth species is a combination of species one to four and is called florid counterpoint. Before introducing this species Fux states that occasionally two eighth notes may be used on beats two and four of a bar. Fux gives several examples of this species, many with counterpoint above and below the cantus firmus. His examples for this species incorporate all of the previously given rules as well as using decorated suspensions and eighth notes on beat two bar 6, upper part.

This example also uses a cambiata bar 2, lower part. As a combination cohnterpoint all previous species and rules, fifth species counterpoint requires the composer to create effective melodies while correctly handling dissonance and avoiding forbidden consecutives.

Gradus ad Parnassum (Fux, Johann Joseph)

In the lower counterpoint of the above example, all dissonance is either approached and left by step as passing notes or is prepared as a suspension and resolved correctly. The only exception is the cambiata in bar 2, where the dissonant G note couhterpoint to the E on beat three; the dissonance is still treated correctly, however.

It must be remembered that the previous examples, and the rules governing them, may be written using smaller note values. In this way, the note values of the lower ckunterpoint in the above example could be halved.

First species in three-part counterpoint essentially follows the same rules prescribed for two-part writing. Fus an extra part, however, comes the necessity to construct parts which satisfy the harmonic and melodic aspect while avoiding forbidden consecutives.


The Study of Counterpoint

Fux states that the composer should endeavour to use complete triads whenever possible but they cointerpoint be incomplete for the sake of better melodic writing. In the following example. Bars 7 and 8 of the following is an example of this. Here, the hidden fifths between the top and bottom parts are less noticeable than in two-part writing because of the addition of the middle part, and the upper part moves by step. Consecutive fifths, octaves and unisons are still forbidden, however.

Second species also essentially follows the same rules as for two-part writing, however, as we just observed with hidden fifths, there are other rules which make three-part writing easier.

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. Fux gives the following example. Third Species again follows the rules prescribed for rux writing.

As with the other species, Fux includes various examples of fourth species in three-part writing, the Lydian example is shown below.

As with two-part writing, fifth species in three parts combines all countegpoint the previous species and rules.

Johann Joseph Fux – Wikipedia

As would be expected, first species in four parts essentially follows the rules prescribed for first species in two- and three-part writing, one notable point, however, is the relaxation of hidden fifths as the number of parts increases. 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.

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. You must be logged in to post a comment. Fux gives several examples of this species, many with counterpoint above and below the cantus firmus http: In this way, the note values of the lower counterpoint in the above example could be halved http: In the following example http: Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post counterpoijt comment.