Godzilla KingKongratulations! Welcome to second species counterpoint!


Okay. Second species counterpoint is just like first species, but instead of note against note, you're going to place two notes of melody against one note of Cantus, or two half notes against a whole note. Get ready to hear the same rules over again, but with fun additions!

  1. Each measure can only contain one harmony.
  2. The first half note in each measure must be a chord tone, or part of the chord you are dealing with. See #1. Somtimes figured bass helps with keeping your chords straight.
  3. The second half note in a measure can be a chord tone, thus involving skips, neighbors, and passing tones.
  4. The first measure in this species must always contain a half rest and a half note. This half note must be a chord tone and must be part of the tonic harmony (or I chord, for you progressives), either the 5th or octave (or their compounds) or unison with the bass. Although if you only ever make it unison with the bass you're some kind of wussy and should quit now.
  5. Parallel 5ths and octaves must be seperated by two half notes, or four whole counts.
      *However, if the second 5th is a passing or neighboring tone, you only have to seperate them by one half note.
  6. Parallel 5ths with only one half note between them are tolerated if either is diminished.
  7. Never skip an octave on the leading tone, which can move only to tonic. Ever.
  8. The final measure must contain an octave of a whole note or a unison with the bass.
  9. In the bass voice, a melodic movement of a 4th is forbidden. This isn't allowed because it will turn what you're doing into a 6/4 chord which can't be resolved. Anything resulting in any 6/4 harmony is forbade!
  10. For the same reason, avoid the melodic movement of a fifth in a single measure since that would also outline the 6/4 chord. I promise if you've been paying attention so far this will make sense. Remember, one harmony per measure.
  11. Having said all that, the movement of the 4th and 5th are allowed from one measure to the next. Also, they're permitted in the upper voice so long as they don't form a fourth with the bass as a chord tone which is...? Right! The 6/4.
  12. Now is when you should start indicating what each note functions as, be it chord tone, passing tone, or neighboring tone. Just use the first letter of each word.

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