Suggested Learning Resources


2) Video Lesson: YouTube ByronWeigel Channel

3) Online Reading: WikiPedia Lesson

4) Interactive Lesson: 

Music Theory QuickThink: 

-          Counterpoint is the art of two independent melodic lines, performed at the same time, following established rules and guidelines so that they complement each other harmonically, but still maintain their independence as separate lines of music.


-          NOTE: Why are we learning counterpoint?  - Some Theory texts do not cover counterpoint in the Theory 1 scope and sequence. Advanced counterpoint study is often offered at University as an entire separate one or two semester following Theory 4.  We are learning the topic because

(Laitz's The Complete Musician covers 1st and 2nd species counterpoint, Francoli's Harmony in Context covers 1st through 4th species, and Clendinning's The Musician's Guide covers 1st through 5th.  Kostka's Tonal Harmony does not formally introduce counterpoint).  


-          Cantus firmus is a given line to which we write a counterpoint line.

-          Cantus firmus usually starts and ends on the tonic (scale degree 1)

-          Cantus firmus can appear either as the top or lower voice in a counterpoint exercise

-          During the Baroque era, when people were doing counterpoint exercises, the cantus firmus was often a sacred or secular melody that was common and recognized by the people 


-          The counterpoint line is the line opposite to the cantus firmus, usually written by us in a counterpoint exercise

-          The counterpoint line can appear either as the top or lower voice in a counterpoint exercise.


-          If a melody moves primarily by stepwise motion, it is conjunct

-          If a melody moves primarily by skip and/or leap, it is disjunct


-          Contrary motion means the two voices move in opposite directions. (Ex. Top voice moves from C up to D while lower voice moves from G down to E)

-          Parallel motion means the two voices move in the same direction, and the initial and resulting the same interval size, but not necessarily same quality. (Ex. Lower voice A, Upper voice C [a 3rd] both move in and upward direction resulting in Lower voice C, Upper voice D [a 3rd])

-          Similar motion means the two voices move in the same direction but not by the same interval size.

-          Oblique means one voices moves (up or down) and the other voice stays on the same pitch.


Objective 10.2: Examples in Music: YouTube

Objective 10.2: Define counterpoint, cantus firmus, counterpoint line, and other terms (conjunct, disjunct, Contrary, Similar, Parallel, Oblique)  in the context of counterpoint exercises