Counterpoint/What is counterpoint?

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What is counterpoint?[edit | edit source]

Counterpoint is intertwining melodies together at once in a way that creates rich tonality. Counterpoint is generally seen in fugues, inventions, canons and other pieces.

History of counterpoint[edit | edit source]

Though counterpoint as we know it today was invented in the seventeenth century, many earlier forms of counterpoint were seen as early as the early medieval period and were developed throughout the later medieval period and renaissance. Counterpoint is seen very often throughout the baroque and classical period. In the beginnings of the romantic era, however, counterpoint began to die out as people became less strict. Mendelssohn contributed greatly to help revive this music, however, in the 1810s-30s. This inspired multiple composers such as Liszt arranging a large list and assortment of classical pieces. Counterpoint was seen once again in the 20th century, introducing topics such as atonal counterpoint.

Types of counterpoint[edit | edit source]

There are many different types of counterpoint seen throughout history and changes are frequently seen. The most basic type of counterpoint is two-voice counterpoint where you have only two melodies at once. This includes first species counterpoint, second species counterpoint, third species counterpoint, fourth species counterpoint and fifth species counterpoint(which you will learn about eventually). Three-voice counterpoint uses three voices instead of two.