To find a fresh and exciting approach to a topic often thought intimidating and arid. To stimulate the imagination (and hopefully boost confidence, partly through the removal of any distinction between ‘composers’ and ‘non-composers’, ‘singers’ and ‘non-singers’, and other barriers) by selecting some of the contrasting and often highly dramatic ways in which counterpoint has been put to use. To explore the variety of counterpoint and concomitant textures in Western art music and one or two other musical cultures in the world, disentangling such terms as polyphony and heterophony. The Project will be hands-on, trying out some of the textures in performance, and written exercises, leading to the acquisition and refinement of specific musical techniques and extension of modes of thinking. While the emphasis will be on traditional Western techniques over as wide a historical span (from the Middle Ages, through Bach and Beethoven to the present) as allowed in the time, there will be a consideration of their place in the rather unusual context of folk vocal polyphony and instrumental ‘heterophony’ (notably from Southeast Asia).
You are not required to read these before the Project as it may help to go through the principal techniques first in class.
Listening (only a selection from the music planned for the Project):
By the end of the taught part of the module all students should:
First years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-A6 & A9-A10
Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-B6 & B9-B10
Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C6 & C9-C10