The Contrapuntal Aspect

Part of the Computational Music Science book series (CMS)


Counterpoint is perhaps the most critical topic when it comes to the search for creativity. In fact, counterpoint is strictly codified and taught as a sort of catechism of classical compositional discipline in polyphony, the art of combining several voices to a balance interplay. In its most formalized shape, counterpoint has been described in Johann Joseph Fux’s famous treatise in 1725, Gradus ad Parnassum (Fux, 1725). It was written in Bach’s time but consciously refers to Fux’s idol Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (February 2, 1526 (or possibly February 3, 1525) - February 2, 1594). In the foreword, Fux even stresses his conservative position: “Why should I be doing so (writing about music) just at this time when music has become almost arbitrary and composers refuse to be bound by any rules and principle, detesting the very name of school and law like death itself.”


Strong Dichotomy Acoustical Theory Pitch Class Opened Wall Gestural Movement 
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  1. 44.
    Fux J J: Gradus ad Parnassum (1725). Dt. und kommentiert von L. Mitzler, Leipzig 1742 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guerino Mazzola
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joomi Park
    • 3
  • Florian Thalmann
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MusicUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of InformaticsUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.McNally Smith College of MusicSaint PaulUSA

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