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Study Of Counterpoint [Paperback]

Johann Fux
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1981
The most celebrated book on counterpoint is Fux's great theoretical work GRADUS AD PARNASSUM. Since its appearance in 1725, it has been used by and has directly influenced the work of many of the great composers, including J.S. Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven. Originally written in Latin, this work has been translated in to the principal European languages. The present translation by Alfred Mann is the first faithful rendering in English, presenting the essence of Fux's teachings.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Foundation of Tonal Music July 15 2004
Format:Paperback
This is an indispensable work for anyone with a serious interest in musical composition. It lays out the entire foundation of tonal composition (i.e.: counterpoint) in a lucid, organized systematic manner.
The serious student of musical composition should have this book, work through it not once but regularly. I re-read it constantly and work through all the exercises again once or twice a year.
It should also be used in conjunction with "Structural Hearing Tonal Coherence in Music" by Felix Salzer (Schenker's protégé).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic March 24 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is simply a classic, but i recommend using it in concordance with Knud Jeppesen's "Counterpoint". I would still use this book, as it can help with the use of Jeppesen's book not to say either will not suffice by themselves, but it really is great to get a look at both of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 21 2012
By Michel
Format:Paperback
For an older and ancient music text it is in easy to understand writing. One of my personal favorites.
Plus I heard Mozart and Bach studied from the same book. Must have for the serious musician into classical theory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars all musicians April 11 2002
Format:Paperback
the student mastering counterpoint cannot go through without 'The study of Counterpoint' by Joseph Fux
ray.sant
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The early fundamentals of composition Oct. 16 2001
Format:Paperback
[reprint -- sorry]
At one point in the text, Aloysius pretty much says it all: "These lessons are not worked out for actual use but for exercise. If one know how to read one need no longer bother with spelling; similarly, the species of counterpoint are given only for purposes of study."
I have been working out of this book (which is really an excerpt of a larger book called _Steps to Perfection_) with a private tutor for a year, and it has been a difficult but rewarding experience. Essentially, the species provide a platform to learn how to compose concurrent melodic lines. Each following species builds upon the knowledge of the previous. Rules that begin absolute slowly become contextual. While the book's original title is anachronistic, the program within encourages steps towards the understanding of basic tonal principles that have formed the foundation of the grand tradition of western music.
I'd recommend keeping an open mind about the rules. These are treated as the "rules," but are expected to be broken with time and experience. After all, the rules are no more than the collected general tendancies of the great composers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Fux's book provides an introduction to composition based upon the limitations--and, accordingly, the beauty--of the human voice. This book does not deal with the embellishments and ornaments possible on all instruments.
More caveats: One, I would recommend studying this book with an experienced teacher. It's like a beginning yoga text: basic, but someone with experience will put things in perspective. Two, the exercises, especially for three and four voices, are difficult and require commitment and discipline. (Again, like yoga.) There is no need to rush through the exercises.
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Format:Paperback
The book has a nice pace. It is not a fat book. Content is presented succinctly. The platonic-type dialog is as charming as it is civilized and effective. There is something inspirational about reading a treatise previously studied by people like Bach, Haydn, Mozart, etc. I would say that even the most anti-traditional composer-person might benefit from the straightforward analytic of it all, even if one's harmonic sensibility differs from those presented in this text. All in all, a book to check out, if counterpoint intrigues you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Student Guide & Lesson Companion Aug. 9 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I recently started studying composition, and this book has been immensely helpful! My composition teacher uses the same method of graduated study of starting with one note against one note and then building in complexity to four-part counterpoint. After a lesson, it's useful to read the corresponding section in the book as a refresher before doing my assigned exercises. Plus, it gives me a second explanation about the do's and don't of part writing if I didn't quite catch it in my all-too-brief lesson time. Finally, it's a great way to make sure I don't lose my proficiency over vacation; there's plenty of examples for me to work on in my spare time. After finding this book, I'm surprised it's not on my required booklist! It's a definite must for all serious composers who want to develop a strong classical training. (Let's not forget the value of classical education! Most professional artists that I've talked to, in any field, have told me that it's the best way to begin.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Student Guide & Lesson Companion Aug. 9 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I recently started studying composition, and this book has been immensely helpful! My composition teacher uses the same method of graduated study of starting with one note against one note and then building in complexity to four-part counterpoint. After a lesson, it's useful to read the corresponding section in the book as a refresher before doing my assigned exercises. Plus, it gives me a second explanation about the do's and don't of part writing if I didn't quite catch it in my all-too-brief lesson time. Finally, it's a great way to make sure I don't lose my proficiency over vacation; there's plenty of examples for me to work on in my spare time. After finding this book, I'm surprised it's not on my required booklist! It's a definite must for all serious composers who want to develop a strong classical training. (Let's not forget the value of classical education! Most professional artists that I've talked to, in any field, have told me that it's the best way to begin.)
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