Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 20 August 2019

Counterpoint (from Lat. contrapunctus, from contra punctum: ‘against note’; Fr. contrepoint; Ger. Kontrapunkt; It. contrappunto)locked

  • Klaus-Jürgen Sachs
  •  and Carl Dahlhaus

Extract

(from Lat. contrapunctuscontra punctum: ‘against note’Fr. contrepointGer. KontrapunktIt. contrappunto)

A term, first used in the 14th century, to describe the combination of simultaneously sounding musical lines according to a system of rules. It has also been used to designate a voice or even an entire composition (e.g. Vincenzo Galilei's Contrapunti a due voci, 1584, or the contrapuncti of J.S. Bach's Art of Fugue) devised according to the principles of counterpoint. (See also Polyphony, §I.)

Klaus-Jürgen Sachs

The theory of counterpoint, which existed by about 1330, developed from the older theory of discant, but differs from it in ways that a comparison of the two makes clear. The technique of discant occurs in two distinct forms. Works dealing with ‘interval succession theory’ (‘Klangschritt-Lehre’) merely list possible single progressions of an added voice for all usual successive intervals of the cantus, considering only the consonances of unison, octave, 5th (and occasionally 4th); for example: ‘If the cantus ascends by a 2nd and the opposed part begins at the octave, then the opposed part descends by a 3rd and forms [with the cantus] a 5th, or descends by a 7th and coincides with the cantus’ (...

Access to the complete content on Grove Music Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.

San Marino (CA), Huntington Library
Leipzig, Karl-Marx-Universität, Universitätsbibliothek, Bibliotheca Albertina
Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Dipartimento Musica
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung
Proceedings of the Musical Association
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Muzïkal 'nïy sovremennik
Rivista italiana di musicologia
Bach-Jahrbuch
Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie
Sion, Bibliothèque Cantonale du Valais
Vienna, Minoritenkonvent
Weimar, Thüringische Landesbibliothek, Musiksammlung [in D-WRz]
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Music & Letters
Kirchenmusikalisches Jahrbuch
Journal of Music Theory
Note d'archivio per la storia musicale
Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Dansk aarbog for musikforskning
Porrentruy, Bibliothèque Cantonale Jurasienne (incl. Bibliothèque du Lycée Cantonal)
Modern Music
Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft
Music Review
Die Musikforschung
Journal of Musicology
19th Century Music