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This classic introductory text focuses on the polyphonic vocal style perfected by Palestrina. Unlike many other texts, it maintains a careful balance between. Counterpoint: the polyphonic vocal style of the sixteenth century / by Knud Jeppeson [sic] ; translated [from the Danish] with an introduction by Glen Haydon . COUNTERPOINT. The Polyphonic Vocal Style of the Sixteenth Century. Knud Jeppesen. Jeppesen. This clau intrusion titles i ilir poliiburi Yul style titted by.

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From this one cannot conclude otherwise than that he works very fast; besides this, he also composes in such a way that it pleases the people. The author of this book, published in Vienna in by royal subsidy, was the highly respected composer, Johann Joseph Fux. Detailed discussion of this expansive work, to a great extent decidedly experimental in character and devoted only slightly to the practice of the sixteenth century, would lead us too far afield.

In both periods are found approximately the same forms: He wrote, among other things, a treatise called De Contrapuncto polpyhonic the year Modern composers have at their disposal, on the other hand, three style-species: Melodies much more definitely tonal in character and treated with disproportionately greater architectonic mastery, greater fullness of the chords, and stricter use of the dissonance are here especially remarkable.

Especially remarkable is his feeling for centjry, which was decidedly rare at xixteenth time when men almost never showed any interest in the genetic viewpoint.

Counterpoint: the polyphonic vocal style of the sixteenth century;

Here the example which corresponds is given in connection with the statement: Certain theorists, among whom was Angelo Berardi, who wrote inintroduce various “note cambiate” as Berardi calls them literally, “changing notes”. Indeed in counterpoint and in harmony we strive for the same ideals and work through the same materials, cunterpoint the ap- proaches are from opposite directions.

Even so, it is certain that Isaac, according to the letter, much more nearly met the demands which people of the sixteenth century made of a genius. In the madrigal, the more refined descendant of the jrottola, expressive tendencies come ever more distinctly to the fore and a marked incongruity is felt between the robust, emotional text and the music, which is any- thing but overwrought, being excellent but remarkably abstract.

It may be said that in no other musical style does the fundamental contrast between consonance and dissonance appear so clearly as in Palestrina’s. Unabridged Dover republication of the edition published by Prentice-Hall, Inc. Concerning the treatment of eighth notes, the theory of the sixteenth century has nothing much to say, and concerning suspension-dissonances, the later theorists of this century say little more than Vicentino; about the forms of composition and the like, however, they do offer a great deal of information which is most signifi- cant in the study of the musical style of the Palestrina period but which does not directly affect the special problem of counterpoint.


The follow- ing editions are also recommended: The decisive factor really appeared at the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the need for making music serve the ends of poetic expres- sion was first clearly manifested. The latter movement prepared the way for the music of the seventeenth cen- tury with its new forms: He means by this term, however, chiefly figures like those previously mentioned in which the first of two descending quarters after an accented half forms a dis- sonance, or where the third of four quarters is a dissonance.

In Fux’s opinion the third quarter may be dissonant provided both of the quarters which adjoin it on either side are consonant.

In this species, furthermore, Fux mentions, apparently for the hhe time in music theory, the cambiata. The details that lend interest or suspense grow out of the whole. Concerning the minor sixth, which the older authors classed with the dissonances, he says, “In my ear, too, it sounds somewhat rough when it stands alone,” and he therefore prefers that it be excluded from the two-part composition where it is poljphonic noticeable.

These dissonances afford the musician two among other advantageous possibilities of significant value: Fux, however, was fully aware that one is confronted with a choice in the matter of music theory; one does not learn everything of signifi- cance from any one style-species.

These, recently introduced in cointerpoint second practice, make possible new effects which are cengury to express the words and which, if used in appropriate places, are free of all banalities, as works of various famous composers attest.

When we observe, however, the number of rules which were set up in comparison with the number which might have been made, we are surprised to find that the former are extremely few. I do not mean that the Gradus is without its faults from a pedagogical viewpoint. Counterpoiint general I am firmly convinced that, if the polyphonic worth of the examples given as models by Fux and his followers is slight, the fault lies not with the system itself but rather with inadequate application of its latent powers.

Crystallization of Principles 8 The Sixteenth Century: If we wish to centyry, for example, why a particular treatment in a harmonization is elastic and lifelike, we seldom find the answer in harmony alone. Musicians did not as yet have sufficient command of the necessary musical means of expression, but they tried persistently, and at any rate learned one thing: Then follows a chapter on counterpoint as practiced by the Tue and French, in which he first surveys the different consonances thirds and sixths belong to the imperfect consonances and finally nine contrapuntal rules.

But, according to their professional custom, they sxteenth these rules in an all too categorical and inelastic manner. And thus the influence of theory reacts upon practice. On the other hand I have found that, in Palestrina’s style, the vertical, harmonic requirements assume merely the exclusively con- sonant, full harmony of the chords, in which modulatory relations play only a small part.


It constantly seeks for new ways and means of expression until finally, toward the end of the century, it forces its way through and creates in the opera the central form from which practically all modern music comes. This applies likewise to written compositions, although one uses such idioms occa- sionally in order to imitate the sound of bells or of horns.

Following this definition, Tinctoris observes that he wishes first to speak of the consonances, since they play the most important role in counterpoint, whereas dissonances are admitted only here and there. Our advantages must be utilized.

The Style of Palestrina and the Dissonance. In theory it is mentioned, apparently for the first time, by Guilelmus Monachus, a monk, whose treatise De Praeceptis artis musice et practice compendiosus libellus 3 contains much original and unique material. These two styles or types of musical perception are distinguished particularly in the attitude towards chords. Later theorists even to our own time have repeated the same objections.

Counterpoint: The Polyphonic Vocal Style of the Sixteenth Century – Knud Jeppesen – Google Books

The insistent de- mand for a voice leading that is stepwise and even, as far as possible, was doubtless based much more on a psychological than on any practical reason and may very well have been connected partly with the strong urge toward the simple and natural, which is characteristic of this century, and partly with an unconscious tendency to strengthen and fortify the polyphonic element as against the chordal, which is noticeably gaining in influence during the century.

It is by no means immaterial whether we say, as in con- trapuntal teaching, “First the lines and then, in spite of them, the cuonterpoint possible harmonies” ; or, as in the teaching of harmony, “First the chords and afterwards, so far as possible, good voice leading.

In harmony chords are presupposed: The manuscript also states a rule that, so far as possible, one or two steps of a second downward should follow an ascending skip of a fourth, fifth, or octave. It is well known that several of the great composers of the sixteenth century engaged in teaching.

Over a cantus firmus in notes of equal length, one should not allow two cadences on the same tone to follow one another too closely.