18th-Century Counterpoint with Paul Dell Aquila Semester Topics

Assigned Reading, Homework Schedule, and Class Agenda

University of Louisville Music 550 Semester Topics

Introduction to Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint

Johann Fux

Historical Perspective
The Nature of Counterpoint
Strict versus Free Counterpoint

The Single Melodic Line

Phrases and Cadences
Periodic Phrases and Fortspinnung
Melodic Contour
Structural and Less Structural Notes and Events
Harmonic Backgrounds
Compound Line

Principles of Two-Voice Counterpoint

Quality of Individual Lines
Independence and Unity Between Lines
Harmonic Backgrounds
Consonance versus Dissonance

Two-Voice Species Counterpoint Exercises

Note against Note (1:1)
Two Notes against One (2:1)
Nonharmonic Tones
Placement of Harmonic and Nonharmonic Tones
Parallelism in 1:1 and 2:1 Counterpoint

Chromaticism in Two Voices

Essential and Nonessential Tones
Secondary Functions
Mode Mixture
Cross Relations

Johann Sebastian Bach

Other Two-Voice Species Exercises

Three Notes against One (3:1)
Four Notes against One (4:1)
Syncopation (Fourth Species)


The Anticipation

Tied and Repeated Tones

Fifth Species
Dividing Rhythmic Activity between Voices

Two-Voice Binary Form Pieces

Form and Structure
Repetition, Variation, and Contrast
Addition and Subtraction of Voice Parts

Imitative Counterpoint

Imitation at the Octave
Imitation at other Harmonic Intervals


Technique for Writing Canons
Special Canonic Devices

Contrary Motion

Augmentation and Diminution

Retrograde Motion

The Accompanied Canon
Writing Perpetual Canons and Rounds

Johann Kuhnau

Invertible Counterpoint

Invertible Counterpoint at the Octave
Invertible Counterpoint at other Harmonic Intervals

The Two-Part Invention

Motive, Countermotive, and Imitation
Episodes, Middle Entries, and Final Statements
Invention Construction and Formal Structure

Three-Voice Counterpoint

Rhythmic Relationships in Three Voices
Relative Importance of Voices
Harmonic Considerations
Converting 1:1 Three-Voice Exercises to other Species Patterns
Imitation in Three Voices

Writing Three-Voice Pieces

Three-Voice Preludes
Three-Voice Periodic Dance Movements
The Three-Part Invention (Sinfonia)
The Trio Sonata
Baroque Duo Sonatas

The Chorale Prelude

Types of Chorale Preludes
Writing a Three-Voice Chorale Prelude

The Lute Player


The Fugue Subject and Answer
Three- and Four-Voice Fugues
The Fugue Exposition
Episodes, Middle Entries, and Final Statements
The Counterexposition
Fugue Construction and Formal Structure

Assigned Reading, Homework Schedule, and Class Agenda

E-Mail Instructor Paul Dell Aquila