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CCC#1 - "The Watzmann" - Update (1 week extension)

So a couple of people have asked for an extension for the first competition, and as we've only had a few of entries, I've decided to give you 1 week to complete your compositions. The one's we've had so far have been excellent, so keep 'em coming!

You now have until Saturday 25th May to complete your compositions. This is an extra 6 days, so be grateful. ;D

I will announce the winners on either Saturday on Sunday, depending on how long it takes me to mark them all. Well done to everyone who's entered so far!

Reimagining of one of Bach's most popular fugues.

The subject is a fragment of Bach's fugue in g minor subject.
I decided it might be kind of interesting to take it and see what i could do with it.
I changed the key to b minor and went too town. For the counterpoint i chose the species approach, starting with species 1 and "evolved" it til i was happy with where it ended up.
Tell me what you people think. 


I will update this weekly

1 Member
1 Discussion
Group is created today! Woohoo! *confetti and stuff falls from sky*

8 Members
2 Discussions
Eek! I forgot to do this yesterday. The group is already dying, so uhh… :o
@Jaybird1 is one of the first truly active members, I told him I would give him a shoutout here, so here you go :P

14 Members
3 Discussions
I haven't updated this in a while, this group is blowing up now...

22 Members
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Holy cow, this group is blowing up. 8 members in 4 days, wow...

30 Members
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Hmm...Starting to die again...

35 Members
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Welp...I was wrong...

41 Members
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I was very wrong, this group is really blowing up, welp

47 Members
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Again, welp

Should I let my canon modulate?

So I am writing a 2 voice canon so that I can get your feedback on it(and in this case it is literally 2 voices as I am using soprano and tenor voices, an octave apart from each other). It is a canon at the octave, one of the simplest interval canons, though you certainly can have a canon of the second and so forth. A canon of the tritone is theoretically possible but without being super careful, it is going to be dissonant throughout and the key will be ambiguous. Thus, this is usually not considered when talking about interval canons. Maybe someday I will try to do a canon at the tritone but for now I'm sticking to canons of consonant intervals.

Here is the progression that I am basing my canon off of:

V IV iv ii° V i

A typical progression for a minor key. My canon is in C minor. I have done 3 harmonization iterations(making sure to make it a smooth melody as I am doing the harmonization and making most leaps outline either a triad or a dominant 7th chord) and I am finding that my canon is wanting to go to Eb major. But ii° doesn't make sense in Eb major because it is chromatic(B natural in the chord where there is a Bb in the key signature) Also, the iv chord kind of makes sense, especially since it comes after IV in a plagal progression but going to tonic is delayed by 2 chords. And the tonic is minor, not typical for a major key unless you are like Beethoven and love those sudden shifts from major to minor. 

And Eb minor is a weird key to end up at from C minor. It is only a 2 step relation because it is Cm -> Eb -> Ebm, a relative modulation followed by a parallel modulation. If going by key signature alone, Eb minor and C minor are very distant keys(3 flats distant) I would want to avoid this sudden jolt into Eb minor(especially given that the last note in the tenor that I have so far is a C). So it is like, at the beginning of it, it wants to modulate to Eb but then towards the end it wants to go back to C minor. I will upload and post my incomplete canon so you can hear it for yourself and also give feedback on any mistakes that I have.

But should I let my canon modulate or should I keep it in C minor for it's entire length(which is 50 bars)?

Dave Benson: Music: A Mathematical Offering

This  is a great book on the mathematics of music, it starts at your usual  pitch ratios and  sine waves but ends up at fourier transformations, burnside's  lemma and dihedral groups. There are also excursions to file formats and various  way to generate music (including specific software to do so).

New Admin in town!

The mathematician Daniel Bump, who started this group over seven years ago, has made me an admin of it.  I have been active in this group for over four years now, as a composer, arranger, and, increasingly importantly to me and others, a sharer of my many decades of experience with and knowledge of traditional counterpoint and contrapuntal music, both in tutorials and analyses published here (see “Tutorials” set in my profile) and score comments (often requested, and usually appreciated).

Dan has (understandably) not had time to follow and supervise this group over the last few years.  I hope to monitor and maintain the discussion board, e.g., removing posts that are inappropriate (e.g., “please look at my work”, which can be achieved just by posting the work), spam, and widely-cross-posted work that bears no particular relevance to the group topic, and in so doing maximize the usefulness of the discussion board as  a resource.

I have viewed this group as a place where people can post, as Dan says, works by masters of counterpoint such as Bach and Palestrina (although if the scores have errors and the person posting is not responsive to notice of them….), and your own contrapuntal compositions, as he said, even unfinished works, if you want comments by other musicians.   If your works are mind-bogglingly terrific, they will speak for themselves.  Otherwise, expect reactions by others of both great and little knowledge and experience.  This is not an arena to collect applause, but, hopefully, a place to  share and learn.

Counterpoint is not a “style” or “genre” like Reggae, Celtic Ballads, or Bebop Jazz (but even those have their parameters, means, and corpora), or even “Baroque”, but a discipline about which great books and papers and course have been  and continue to be written (and I hope to maintain useful bibliographies and linkaries) and in which, although models  and parameters vary over the last 500 years, (at any era) there are very definite “rules” and “right and wrong”, just as with the grammar of a language, the rules of artistic perspective, or classical rhetoric. Any work with more than one voice (and even some in one voice!) exhibits  counterpoint, whether you intended it or not, which can thus be good or bad in reference the stylistic models of any era.  “Hey, I used some counterpoint!” (as in several early Beatles songs) is not so interesting.

Fugue is an extraordinarily complicated business, with a vast literature, and an exercise traditionally undertaken only by those who have achieved significant skill in counterpoint.  I will not say more about it right now.

There are (and hopefully will be) a number of regulars here with enough knowledge of, and skill in, this area to teach a course, including some who actually do (although employed teachers, performers, and scholars rarely have the time for this).  We are a resource for those who wish to learn and have their efforts analyzed and commented on.   For those not eager for honest commentary, just write, “No comments, please!” on your scores.   This is not a venue for unconditional, assured applause (either for compositions, presentations of scores of repertoire, or arrangements) or emotional support. This is a score-posting group, not a social media chat room.   Posts to the discussion board, including questions, should be considered by you with the question, “Will this be useful to others wishing to know more about counterpoint?”  Inappropriate posts will be removed.

I hope that this group and forum will continue to be, and more and more become, a showcase of quality contrapuntal compositions by masters old and new, and resources and texts old and new, as well as a place where those eager to learn more about counterpoint will feel both welcome and able to do so.

Bernard Greenberg (@BSG) 10 May 2019