Species Counterpoint

Learn the basics of the writing contrapuntal 2-part music using the species method.

Course Summary

“Species” counterpoint is the traditional method for learning how to write contrapuntal music.

The species counterpoint method dates back several hundred years, but it’s still taught in Universities and music schools across the world today, because of its simplified, step-by-step approach.

The problem is that most species counterpoint textbooks are outdated, dry and confusing. (If you have ever tried to read Johannes Fux’s treatise you will know what I mean!) Many texts insist on using obscure or extinct clefs, which means reading the examples is both challenging and confusing for the modern music student. And in any case, the best way to learn about counterpoint is by hearing what you see.

  • If you need to study species counterpoint as part of your music course, this video course will be a life saver for you!
  • If you are learning for your own pleasure, you’ll find this course is accessible and practical, and will open the door for you to more in-depth study of counterpoint.
This course will give you a thorough preparation in two-part species counterpoint. You will learn how to effectively write counterpoint in the five distinct species:

  1. note against note
  2. two notes against one
  3. four notes against one
  4. tied notes across the bar line
  5. mixed (florid) counterpoint
Some of the topics you will become confident in are

  • distinguishing harmonic and melodic intervals,
  • the classification of consonances (perfect and imperfect) and dissonances,
  • the correct preparation and resolution of dissonances,
  • the use of tritone, ligature and cambiata
  • the three types of motion: similar, contrary and oblique

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

Course Curriculum

Victoria Williams

I'm Victoria Williams BA (Hons)Mus, LmusTCL, AmusTCL (Distinction), MISM. I graduated in music, (specialising in musicology), from the University of Leeds. I hold two diplomas in music theory from Trinity College London, and have enjoyed over a decade of experience teaching music theory, with an emphasis on ABRSM exam preparation, to students around the globe. All the materials have been tried and tested on real human students, and have proven themselves to be effective - my students generally gain top marks in their exam (and so can you!)

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