What is the course about?
Counterpoint is the art of writing two or more independent melodic lines that combine to create effective music. This course explores the principles of contrapuntal technique, providing students with both an insight into this compositional style and practical skills in composition. The course will combine analysis of scores from a variety of musical periods, and practical exercises which will be reviewed and discussed in class.
What will we cover?
• Analysis of pieces from contrapuntal repertoire, ranging from Renaissance to 20th Century
• Similarities and differences in contrapuntal technique between different style periods
• Modal and tonal practices in melodic and harmonic contexts
• Contrapuntal devices including imitation and canon
• Applying contrapuntal techniques in composition exercises.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Gain understanding of a linear approach to composition
• Analyse contrapuntal music using technical terms
• Develop awareness of differences between musical styles and periods
• Develop knowledge of modal and tonal landscapes and explore consonance and dissonance
• Write two-part pieces in contrapuntal style.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course requires a good understanding of music theory (equivalent Grade 6 level or above) and some skills with performing on an instrument or voice.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The classes will include analysis of and group discussion on specified musical scores, as well as individual feedback and group discussion on student exercises. You will be expected to complete homework tasks.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Manuscript paper, notebook, pen, pencil and eraser.
Other materials will be supplied by the tutor.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Music theory: counterpoint 2 follows in the same time slot next term.
For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details