Writing a cantus firmus

Notes offset against each other as suspensions ; All the first four species together, as "florid" counterpoint.

Writing a cantus firmus

The establishment of Western musical traditions Roots in antiquity Ancient Middle East and Egypt The inhabitants of the Mesopotamian region around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers —the Sumeriansthe Babyloniansand the Assyrians —flourished from about to about bce.

Their pictures and the few surviving artifacts indicate that they had instruments of every basic type: An undecipherable hymn engraved in stone, dating from about bce, is evidence of a primitive system of musical notation.

The Egyptiansentering historical times about years later than the Mesopotamians, enjoyed all of the same types of activities and instruments, as may be deduced from numerous written references to music as well as seen on many artifacts, especially the pictures preserved on pottery writing a cantus firmus.

The musical culture of the Hebrew peoplesrecorded from about bce and documented primarily in the Hebrew Bible Old Testamentwas more directly influential in the West because of its adoption and adaptation into the Christian liturgy.

Ancient Greece Of the eastern Mediterranean cultures, it was undoubtedly that of the Greeks that furnished the most direct link with the musical development of western Europe, by way of the Romans, who defeated them but adopted much of Greek culture intact.

Entering historical times relatively late, circa bce, the Greeks soon dominated their neighbours and absorbed many elements of earlier cultures, which they modified and combined into an enlightened and sophisticated civilization.

Counterpoint - Wikipedia

The two basic Greek religious cults—one devoted to Apollothe other to Dionysus —became the prototypes for the two aesthetic poles, classical and romanticthat have contended throughout Western cultural history. The Apollonians were characterized by objectivity of expression, simplicity, and clarity, and their favoured instrument was the kitharaa type of lyre.

The Dionysians, on the other hand, preferred the reed-blown aulos and were identified by subjectivity, emotional abandon, and sensuality. The prevailing doctrine of ethosas explained by ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotlewas based on the belief that music has a direct effect upon the soul and actions of humankind.

As a result, the Greek writing a cantus firmus and social systems were intertwined with music, which had a primary role in the dramas of AeschylusSophoclesEuripidesand Aristophanes. And the Grecian educational system was focused upon musica and gymnastica, the former referring to all cultural and intellectual studies, as distinguished from those related to physical training.

To support its fundamental role in society, an intricate scientific rationale of music evolved, encompassing tuninginstrumentsmodes melodic formulas based on certain scalesand rhythms. The 6th-century-bce philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was the first to record the vibratory ratios that established the series of notes still used in Western music.

From the total gamut of notes used were derived the various modes bearing the names of Grecian tribes— DorianPhrygianLydianetc. The rhythmic system, deriving from poetry, was based on long—short relationships rather than strong—weak accentual metre.

After Pythagoras, Aristoxenus was the major historian and theoretician of Greek music. Ancient Rome When the musical culture of the eastern Mediterranean was transplanted into the western Mediterranean by the returning Roman legions, it was inevitably modified by local tastes and traditions.

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In most cases, the resulting practices were more limited than their models. The diatonic seven-note scale, for example, became the standard, displacing the chromatic and enharmonic structures of the Grecian system. Of particular consequence was the new concept of metre as a series of equal durations, with emphasis being determined by accent stress rather than by duration.

An inventory of the musical heritage transplanted from the ancient East particularly Greece to Rome reveals the rich treasure inherited: Monophonic liturgical chant With the decline of the Roman Empirethe institution destined to perpetuate and expand the musical heritage of antiquity was the Christian churchbut it was not a unified process.

Many of the cultural centres of the Western church developed distinctive characteristics while sharing the common heritage of the Hebrew liturgy and Greek culture.

In Milanfor example, metrical hymnodyas distinguished from the earlier practice of unmetred psalmodywas cultivatedparticularly under the influence of the 4th-century bishop Ambrosewho first attempted to codify the growing repertory of chant s. This body of Milanese church musictherefore, came to be called Ambrosian chant.

Somewhat later a unique style and repertory known as Mozarabic chant evolved in Spainand in France the Gallican style prevailed. But the mainstream of church music was the type of chant practiced in Rome.

History of the fugue

Beginning in the late 6th century, according to tradition, with Pope Gregory Ithe vast number of traditional melodies that became the foundation for the later development of Western art music were codified and organized.

A systematic organization of tonal materials also was gradually accomplished, resulting in the eight church modes. Each melody was assigned a specific function in the services of the liturgical year—some for the mass and some for the divine offices such as matins, vespers, and compline.

Music Cantus Firmus Writing These notes are a distillation of Salzter/Schacter's Counterpoint in Composition. It is in no way a substitute for reading and working through the actual text book. In music, a cantus firmus ("fixed song") is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition. The plural of this Latin term is cantus firmi, although the corrupt form canti firmi (resulting from the grammatically incorrect treatment of cantus as a second- rather than a fourth-declension noun) can also be found. Fugue: Fugue, in music, a compositional procedure characterized by the systematic imitation of a principal theme (called the subject) in simultaneously sounding melodic lines (counterpoint). The term fugue may also be used to describe a work or part of a work. In its mathematical intricacy, formality.

After a period of assimilation, the Gregorian chant repertory began a process of expansion in the 9th century, when the practice of troping originated.

A trope is either a text or a melodic section added to a preexisting melody or a combination of text and music incorporated into existing liturgical music. It is not surprising that church musicians, after years of singing traditional chants, should want to express themselves by adding words to vocalized melodies.

Perhaps the motive was more functional: Tuotilo dieda monk of Sankt Gallen in what is now Switzerlandis credited with the invention of tropes.

Notker Balbulus died is notable for his association with the sequencea long hymn that originated as a trope added to the final syllable of the Alleluia of the mass. Development of polyphony At the same time that the Gregorian repertory was being expanded by the interpolation of tropes and sequences, it was being further enriched by a revolutionary concept destined to give a new direction to the art of sound for hundreds of years.

This concept was polyphonythe simultaneous sounding of two or more melodic lines.

The establishment of Western musical traditions

The practice emerged gradually during the early Middle Agesand the lack of definite knowledge regarding its origin has brought forward several plausible theories: Whatever motivated this dramatic departure from traditional monophony music consisting of a single voice partit was an established practice when it was described in Musica enchiriadis c.

To a given plainsong or vox principalisa second voice vox organalis could be added at the interval distance between notes of a fourth or fifth four or five steps below.

Music so performed was known as organum.

writing a cantus firmus

While it may be assumed that the first attempts at polyphony involved only parallel motion at a set interval, the Musica enchiriadis describes and gives examples of two-part singing in similar but not exactly parallel and contrary movement—evidence that a considerable process of evolution had already taken place.The purpose of this page is to make it easy for printing the entire listing of composers (so no fancy colors here but only black letters, and hyperlinks are just underlined to distinguish them easily in printed form), or to search a particular word or phrase in the browser (in the menu-browser: edit, search).

In music, a cantus firmus ("fixed song") is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition. The plural of this Latin term is cantus firmi, although the corrupt form canti firmi (resulting from the grammatically incorrect treatment of cantus as a second- rather than a fourth-declension noun) can also be found.

Composing a first-species counterpoint. Counterpoint is the mediation of two or more musical lines into a meaningful and pleasing caninariojana.com first-species counterpoint, we not only write a smooth melody that has its own integrity of shape, variety, and goal-directed motion, but we also write a second melody that contains these traits.

1 a: the highest natural adult male singing voice also: a person having this voice. b: the voice part next to the lowest in a 4-part chorus.

c: a member of a family of instruments having a range next lower than that of the alto. d: the melodic line usually forming the cantus firmus in medieval music.

Thus, when writing a counterpoint above a cantus firmus, the first note of the counterpoint should be do or sol (a P1, P5, or P8 above the cantus). When writing a counterpoint below a cantus firmus, the first note of the counterpoint must always be do (P1 or P8 below the cantus).

Composing a cantus firmus. Exercises in strict voice-leading, or species counterpoint, begin with a single, well formed musical line called the cantus firmus (fixed voice, or fixed melody; pl.

cantus firmi).Cantus firmus composition gives us the opportunity to engage the .

Composing a first-species counterpoint – Open Music Theory