"The Craft of Modal Counterpoint" is the companion book to Benjamin's "The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint," recently republished in a second edition by Routledge. Modal counterpoint is the style of composition that was employed until the "tonal" revolution pioneered by Bach; it is the basis for most Early Music.
Benjamin, a composer and pedagogue, offers a complete analysis of this important musical style. He begins by covering general aspects of the style, then covers in detail two, three, and four-part counterpoint. The Motet, an important form of vocal composition in this period, is studied separately. The book concludes with a brief anthology of key scores, 15 in all, for the student to study further. Also includes 132 musical examples.
Table of Contents
1. General Stylistic Aspects
Notation and Performance Practice
Rhythm and Meter
Dots and Ties
Accidentals (Musica ficta)
Intervals and Treatment of Leaps
Other Aspects of Melody
Typical Quarter-Note Idioms
2. Two-Voice Counterpoint
Phrase and Form
Motivic (Thematic) Organization
Comments on Two-Voice Composition
Imitation in Two-Voice Texture
Invertible Counterpoint at the Octave
Invertible Counterpoint at the Twelfth
3. Three-Voice Counterpoint
Texture and Rhythm
Comments on Imitation
Comments on Three-Voice Composition
4. Counterpoint in Four Voices
5. The Motet
Comments on Motet Writing
Suggestions for Further Study
Appendix: An Anthology of Complete Works
"Here, at last, is a book that dealt with the modal contrapuntal style in a musical and compositional way... the emphasis is always on the music itself and... on the craft of composing in this style. This is a very significant addition to the library of books on modal counterpoint."
— Dr. Robert Nelson, Professor of Music Theory and Composition, University of Houston
"The author is quite well-respected in the field, known as a composer but even more particularly as a teacher devoted to issues of effective pedagogy. This is a thoughtful and significant contribution to the study of Renaissance (or modal) counterpoint."
— Dr. Sharon G. Levy, Professor of Theory and Composition at Peabody Conservatory