First Species Counterpoint

This is a new drill added in January 2019, so there may be a few bugs. Please email dave@tonesavvy.com with details about any potential bug you encounter.

Complete the counter-melody for the given melody using the rules of first species counterpoint. To add a note, just click on the staff. The list of counterpoint rules is shown at the bottom of the page.

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Counterpoint Rules

If you chose "Standard" rules:

  • The interval between the given note and the note in your counter-melody should be consonant (major/minor 3rd or 6th, perfect unison, 5th, or octave, or a compound form).
  • If the counter-melody is above the given melody, then the last note of the counter-melody should be in the tonic chord.
  • If the counter-melody is below the given melody, then the last note of the counter-melody should be the tonic or third of the tonic chord.
  • Parallel fifths: if the previous harmonic interval was a fifth, your next note should not create the same harmonic interval again.
  • Parallel octaves: if the previous harmonic interval was an octave, your next note should not create the same harmonic interval again.
  • Direct octaves or fifths: if both voices are moving in the same direction (and the upper voice by jump), they should not move to a vertical octave or fifth.
  • Avoid the tritone — the diminished fifth or augmented fourth interval — both melodic (between notes in your melody) and harmonic (between your note and the given note above or below it).
  • Avoid augmented 2nds, both melodic (between notes in your melody) and harmonic (between your note and the given note above or below it).
  • Use notes in the key signature only. The only exception allowed is a sharp for the leading tone in a minor scale.
  • Leading tone resolution at cadence: if your second-to-last note is the leading tone, you should resolve that up a half-step to the tonic at the cadence.
  • Your counter-melody should move in steps, or in leaps of a 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th.
  • Your counter-melody should not contain multiple successive large leaps (5th or 6th) in the same direction.
  • Your counter melody should not contain more than 3 leaps in a row.
  • Avoid simultaneous leaps in the same direction.
  • Simultaneous opposite leaps are only allowed if both voices leap by a third, or one voice leaps by a third while the other voice leaps by a fourth.

If you chose "Strict" rules:

  • If your counter-melody is above the given melody, the interval between the given note and the first note in your counter-melody above should be a perfect unison, 5th, or octave, or a compound form.
  • If your counter-melody is below the given melody, the interval between the given note and the first note in your counter-melody below it should be a perfect unison or octave, or a compound form.
  • The last note of your counter melody should form a perfect unison, octave, or double octave with the given note above or below it.
  • The second-to-last vertical interval should include both the supertonic (second note in the scale) and the leading tone (...so the interval will be either a major sixth or a minor third).
  • For all other notes in your counter-melody: all vertical intervals should be larger than the unison, and consonant (major/minor 3rd or 6th, perfect 5th or octave, or a compound form).
  • Parallel fifths: if the previous harmonic interval was a fifth, your next note should not create the same harmonic interval again.
  • Parallel octaves: if the previous harmonic interval was an octave, your next note should not create the same harmonic interval again.
  • Direct octaves or fifths: if both voices are moving in the same direction (and the upper voice by jump), they should not move to a vertical octave or fifth.
  • Avoid the tritone — the diminished fifth or augmented fourth interval — both melodic (between notes in your melody) and harmonic (between your note and the given note above or below it).
  • Avoid augmented 2nds, both melodic (between notes in your melody) and harmonic (between your note and the given note above or below it).
  • Use notes in the key signature only. The only exception allowed is a sharp for the leading tone in a minor scale.
  • Repeated note: don't use the same twice in a row in your counter-melody.
  • Your counter-melody should move in steps, or in leaps of a 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th.
  • Your counter-melody should not contain multiple successive large leaps (5th or 6th) in the same direction.
  • After a melodic leap, your counter-melody should move a step in the opposite direction, except:
    — after a leap of a 3rd, you can move a step in the same direction, leap back a 3rd, or leap back a 4th.
    — after a leap of a 4th, you can leap back a 3rd.
  • Avoid simultaneous leaps in the same direction.
  • Simultaneous opposite leaps are only allowed if both voices leap by a third, or one voice leaps by a third while the other voice leaps by a fourth.