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Fifth Species, Called Florid Counterpoint.

This species admits of notes of all values, and suspensions; therefore it may be defined as a mixture of all the preceding species.

The Suspended Dissonances may be "ornamented;" that is, they may move in various ways before coming to their resolution, as follows:-

I. A suspended dissonance may ascend one degree, then fall a third to its resolution.



II. A suspended dissonance may fall a third, then ascend one degree to its resolution.



III. In both these cases the descent of a thurd may be changed to a run. Observe that the eighth notes must occur on the second beat.

IV. The suspended seventh and ninth may fall a fifth, then ascend a fourth to their resolution.

V. In these cases the ascent of a fourth may be changed to a run.

Observe that the eighth notes occur on the first and second beats; also, that when the Suspension is ornamented, the resolution must occur on the third beat.

When the Suspension is not ornamented the resolution may occur on either the second or third beat.

In Strict Counterpoint it is forbidden to use eighth notes on the first beat, unless they also occur on the second, or on the third beat, unless they also occur on the fourth. Therefore, passatges like the following (no matter how well they may sound) are forbidden:

They must be used as follows:

The Diatonic Scale furnishes an excellent Cantus for the practice of this species.

Florid Counterpoint may also be written with a florid Cantus. In this variety the suspensions may occur in the Cantus as well as in the C.P. The effect of the suspensions may be still further varied by the following means.

I. The root of a Suspended Fourth may fall a fourth.

II. The root of a Suspended Seventh may ascend a fourth.

III. The root of a Suspended Ninth may ascend a third or descend a third:

IV. The root of a Suspended Second (that is the upper note, the second being the inversion of the seventh) may ascend a fourth.

If the Suspension is ornamented, these movements of the root must not take place until the ornamentation is finished.


If the Suspension is not ornamented, the movement of the root may be in the following cases:

  1. Root of Seventh, ascent of a fourth changed to a run.
  2. Root of Ninth, ascent of a third changed to a run.
  3. Root of Ninth, descent of t third changed to a run.
  4. Root of Second, ascent of a fourth changed to a run.

Observe that the movement of the root of a Suspended Fourth may not be ornamented.

When writing a C.P. of this species, the chief object should be, to contrast the two parts as much as possible in motion and in value of notes.

In Strict Counterpoint, the Molodic Minor Scale is always used. The Harmonic Minor is impossible on account of the interval of the augmented second between the sixth and raised seventh.

The raised sixth, when in the Cantus and in the upper voice, may have the thurd, fifth, or sixth below written with it; when the Cantus is below, write the third or sixth over it.

It is not easy to direct the student as to where he is to look for music written strictly in accord with the rules here given. The composers were never at a loss for means to evade the rules when they wished to produce new effects. It is not possible to point out any given time in the history of music when there was a perfect accord between the theory and the practice. The composers have always been a little bit ahead of the theorists. The most that may be said of these rules is, they were (and are) "officially" recognized by musicians, but politely disregarded whenever they were found to be in the way.


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