Practical Counterpoint

An in-depth look at counterpoint for up to 4 voices, including invertible counterpoint, fugue and implied harmony.

Course length: 2 hours +

In this course you’ll learn how to write Baroque and early Classical-style counterpoint from a modern approach.

You’ll first understand the elements that go into creating an effective solo melody line, and then add a second part while looking at how the parts combine with each other in terms of melody, rhythm and harmony.

You’ll also learn about three- and four-part counterpoint, invertible counterpoint, and some of the typical composition forms like the fugue and the trio sonata.

You’ll find this course in-depth and both accessible and practical, and by the end you’ll feel confident composing your own contrapuntal music in a Baroque style like this:



Counterpoint, or the art of weaving together multiple melodies, began in the Renaissance era but flourished in the Baroque, when Johann Sebastian Bach was at his height.

From that time on, counterpoint has been a composition technique used throughout all the eras and it still a hugely important skill today.
Traditionally, music schools teach counterpoint using the “species” method. But this method only goes so far, and most people find it hard to move forward from species counterpoint into writing real, creative contrapuntal music.

This is partly because species counterpoint is always built on a basic, slow-moving “cantus firmus” melody, but what most composers want are the tools to write complex counterpoint like fugues, where every part is rhythmically complex.

This course looks briefly at how species counterpoint works, but focuses mainly on writing in the later, more creative Baroque and early classical style.


The course includes a downloadable PDF with lesson notes, musical examples and practical exercises for you to work through yourself.

See more at https://www.mymusictheory.com/learn-music-theory/reference/579-counterpoint


Download Course Handbook PDF Here
What is Counterpoint?
How Counterpoint Developed
Baroque v. Species Counterpoint
What You'll Learn in this Course
Revision of Intervals
Consonance and Dissonance
Roman Numeral System of Naming Chords
Make a Good 1-Part Melody
Implied Harmony - An Introduction
Implied Harmony - Examples
Root Movement & Harmonic Rhythm
Practice Exercise - 1-Part Melody
Introduction to 2-Part Counterpoint
Dealing with the Harmony
2-Part Implied Harmony
Inversions of Chords
The Unison
Bach - Invention in C major
The Dominant 7th Chord
Types of Motion
Bach - Fugue in E minor
Consecutive Perfect Intervals
Cadences
Decorative Notes
Independent Parts
Elements of Independence
Things to Avoid
Quiz! Test on this section
Writing 2-Part Counterpoint Part 1
Writing 2-Part Counterpoint Part 2
Writing 3- and 4-Part Counterpoint
Contrapuntal Devices - Imitation and Sequence
Contrapuntal Devices Part 2
Invertible Counterpoint
The Fugue
Bach - Fugue in C Minor
Quiz! Test on this Section
How to Write a Fugue

What's included

  • 31 Video Lessons
  • 8 Text Lessons

  • Works on all devices
  • Certificate of completion

Victoria Williams

Instructor