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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It is a streak of light which, to be sure, breaks up under the polyphonic approach, as if through a prism, into a glistening, sparkling play — a play whose variety, nevertheless, depends to a certain extent upon illusion. Originally, as we know, counterpoint meant polyphonic composition or composition in general.

Current printing last digit: In one of the most representative works of this century on the theory of music, the Documenti armonici of Angelo Berardi, who has been men- tioned before, we find, for example, a countless number of such tricks, which may possibly have stimulated the imagination of the pupil but which were otherwise hardly of great value.

In such a case, however, the composition must be for several voices and the sixth or its octave above the bass must not be used. It is always dangerous to dwell unduly on a secondary consideration, for one thereby easily forgets the main point.

Berardi Doubtless the reason the theorists clearly comprehend the trend of this whole development so quickly is that the time was ripe for it. It is a truly typical trait if the sixteenth century. For example, he says: As always in matters of art, there arises a “not only.

Hence it was not at all remarkable that the theorists of the Middle Ages should accept this technique which thus has its deeper basis in the fact that music displays a certain gravitating tend- ency and inertia in its evolution and adheres to its first principles with remarkable tenacity. One cannot properly declare a textbook outmoded until another pedagogical work appears that performs Thhe PREFACE the same tasks better, that is, produces the same musical values in fuller measure.

This is followed by separate discussions of each succeeding century, the styles of Palestrina and Bach, the “Palestrina Movement” after Fux, and more. Remarkably enough, however, Hucbald himself does not even observe this rule logically.


Counterpoint: The Polyphonic Vocal Style of the Sixteenth Century

Palestrina starts out from lines and arrives at chords; Bach’s music grows out of an ideally harmonic background, against which the voices develop with a bold independence that is often breath-taking. The present work is distinguished from the con- ventional treatise on counterpoint by its freedom from arbitrary rules and by its close adherence to a definite style period as a standard of reference. Ernst Kurth, who has recently joined this group, gives a clear, concise definition of the term counterpoint in the following words: But one would be wise to provide, in the study plan, a greater and more important place than has been customary for the stage at which melody and rhythm are free — the stage employing what Fux calls the fifth species, or florid counterpoint, to which the other species are merely preparatory.

That is something he could not do at that time for obvious reasons.

Here we have a choice, and here, too, the ways divide. Vicentino Vicentino’s famous work L! In addition to these five species, Zacconi has a large number of other exercises: Vicentino expresses this most briefly and clearly: Both kinds of counterpoint can be performed either from the notes therefore previously composed or extemporaneously.

It must be considered, too, that the tendency to the ex- pressive and subjective, which was predominant in the century and which characterizes this period in comparison with the preceding epoch, was cut across by somewhat strong counter-tendencies toward the objective and universal.

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.

Counterpoint: the polyphonic vocal style of the sixteenth century;

If the harmony of the fifteenth century was often a little ascetic and thin we still find definite traces of the fifth and octave supremacy of the preceding century nevertheless the compositions of the period when vocal polyphony flourished were distinguished by perfection in wealth and variety of tonal combinations.

Jadassohn, and Hugo Riemann, chose the art of Bach as its stylistic basis. His art seeks universality and is charac- terized by a deep joy in the development and fulfillment of the law. Especially in Palestrina’s favor in this connection seems to be the very strict economy of his style.


In baroque painting, for example in Rembrandt and Rubens, the unity is no longer a result; the artist begins with unity and works toward multiplicity. For this edition, the distinguished scholar Alfred Mann has contributed a new foreword to Jeppesen’s classic study. The explanation is conceivable, however, that the theorists of the seventeenth century believed the new style, in spite of its otherwise valuable charac- teristics, not well adapted to pedagogical uses. From now on contrapuntal theory divides in two direc- tions; and although most theorists have decided in favor of Palestrina, Bach is not wanting in followers, among whom are many important personalities.

The counterpoint must continue in good melodic form even if the tenor makes large skips. To understand how this music a com una — the Palestrina style, the gener- ally used style of composition of the time— was formulated by the theorists, we will have to consider a confusing number of statements, several of which are quite convincing.

Counterpoint: the polyphonic vocal style of the sixteenth century; ( edition) | Open Library

The following suggestions may be helpful. And if I must now refer to that which I have seen and learned, I must confess that some old compositions of unknown composers have come into my hands, pieces that sound quite simple and tasteless, so that they rather disturb than please the ear. His detailed treat- yhe of imitation is also a typical trait of the century; here we are told, among styoe things, that in imitation one should keep the voices in an easily understandable relation to each other and that imitations at the second, seventh, sttle ninth should be avoided so far as possible.

Today this custom is no longer common because the half note as a dissonance is too prominent, and not only it but the quarter note as well is too sharp a dissonance if it is not used in a proper manner; we therefore are accus- tomed to use only quarters and eighths as dissonances.

Some permit the direct succession of perfect consonances in the upper voices even when these consonances are the same size, and they allow such parallels if they are separated by a rest.