Counterpoint vs. Harmony Analysis.
Why Should We Learn Counterpoint?
The most common topic among piano students is to search for Harmony studies to understand the chords they are playing. For the piano tutors and composers, the study of Harmony is an advantageous approach either to sight-reading or to analyse the chord progressions of the pieces they teach.
Furthermore, the study of Harmony provides us with an understanding of the big picture in music from the Classical period and beyond; it clarifies the sections of the music and how the frame each one. But for the Baroque period, Harmony is just not enough.
Chronologically, Counterpoint came first, and from it, Harmony was developed until the system we know today. For all the pieces George Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Vivaldi, Rameau and even Telemann, we need a lot more to learn.
We can see the Contrapuntal technique as the way in which Harmony expresses itself in its minimal form. It is primordially, the form in which every chord expresses itself in a more complex and detailed version, marrying the horizontal plane (the melody) with the vertical plane (the chords) in perfect Harmony (no pun intended!)
After all, Harmony came from Counterpoint as when the number of melodies increased by three or more, its combination gave the vertical notion, how the sounds created chords, but we can’t forget that a chord is seen without life until we use Counterpoint that gives freedom and independence to every melody of the chord, producing variety and unity, two important aspects in every musical composition according to the theorist and composer, Arnold Schonberg.
This technique is a unique and useful asset for every performer, student or teacher to dig into the core of the music, not only written during the Baroque period but in all eras, as this technique has been studied and used by the best composers that ever lived.
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