Music of Alan Belkin; online courses by Alan Belkin. Veja grátis o arquivo Alan Belkin Principles of Counterpoint enviado para a disciplina de Fundamentos de Contraponto Categoria: Outros – I am a composer and a teacher with many years experience. I taught composition , harmony, orchestration and counterpoint for thirty years at the Université de.

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By rigorously avoiding parallel motion, such counterpoint guarantees zlan adding such doublings will not create parallel 8ves and 5ths. Because many analysis courses these days, taught by theorists and musicologists, are not always that useful for a composer. Here, our aim will be to explain contrapuntal principles so as to provide the most general applications possible. Conversely, richness can be enhanced by: The fact that the tied F in the alto progresses by leap suggests that it is a chord tone; the fact that the lower parts do not move to a clear consonance make it difficult to consider them as just passing tones.

Principles of Counterpoint

This is what this course will explore. The parallel octaves in the first example here are extremely prominent: Why analysis for composers? I offer private lessons countefpoint these subjects via Skype.

In the second example, this accent is somewhat weakened by the counetrpoint motion of the bass. Unless otherwise indicated, all the musical examples are my own, and are covered by copyright.

Alan Belkin is creating another online course: Analysis for Composers | Patreon

The former are general principles, which cannot be avoided if the music is to be performable at all; the latter are, by nature, provisional rules of thumb designed to avoid common elementary problems, or to force the student to concentrate on a particular problem and to avoid others that might be confusing.


Pitch and rhythm are certainly very important, but they are not always the main factors behind the music’s expressive effect. I am a composer and a teacher with many years experience. Particularly with accented dissonances, the underlying harmony can easily be obscured.

Please contact me at: Here the top parts arrive at a consonance suggesting a D minor chord, and the bottom parts, in their turn, suggest a first inversion C major chord.

There is always one line introducing each alteration. Pedagogically, it is more useful to discuss why certain cases are less disturbing than some others. The pedagogy of counterpoint The pedagogy of counterpoint is often a confused mixture of style and method.

The only major exception to this rule is the appogiatura approached by leap ; however in this case the leap to the dissonance is used as a motive.

Such exercises are challenging, and should be part of every program of contrapuntal study. Otherwise, apart from very occasional special cases, like word painting, the dissonant note will sound like a mistake. The problem is not that analysis as currently taught is bad, but that it is often not asking the questions a composer needs answered. Now that the Modern Harmony and the Applied Counterpoint courses are complete, I will be offering a new course: Such discussions help the student refine his hearing and better predict how specific musical situations will be perceived; whereas blanket prohibitions do not encourage aural sensitivity.

This is especially flagrant when they leap. Now I’m retired and I want these courses to be available to a larger audience, online. The overall effect is distracting, creating an inappropriate accent.

If such pedagogical constraints are presented as global rules, they lead quickly to nonsense. However, they are not really very disturbing to the ear, because the notes in question are not accented, not on corresponding beats, and the motives in the two bars do not correspond.

In the proposed variant, the dissonant F and its resolution are doubled at the 6th in the middle part, creating a much richer effect, more in tune with the style of the opening bars.


The material may be used free of charge provided that the author’s name is included. This series is dedicated to the memory of my teacher and friend Marvin Duchowone of the rare true scholars, a musician of great depth and sensitivity, and a man of unsurpassed kindness and generosity. The other volumes are Orchestration and Harmony.

Counterpoint – Harmony | Alan Belkin Music

The main problem with scholastic approaches is that they counetrpoint substitute rigid rules for flexible general principles, and thus fail to provide guidance in enough varied musical situations to be useful in practice.

It may seem odd to move from a discussion of line directly to one of harmony, while postponing discussion of the ways in which lines interact; however, harmony is best understood as the integration of simultaneous musical lines into a coherent ensemble. All grow out of my own experience as a composer. In the first example, the similar motion between soprano and bass creates a strong accent on the tritone in bar 2.

Alan Belkin Principles of Counterpoint

But the accented first beat octaves are still very salient. We will not repeat, in detail, information easily available elsewhere. Here we will take a similar approach to counterpoint, treating it as an aspect of composition training and not as an independent academic discipline. The composer’s problem is to add to existing music, and that requires a different kind of thinking.