As I sat down to write this, I started wondering where I originally got the idea to study counterpoint… and I’m not sure I can remember. I first studied it way back in music college. I was studying for a year at BIMM (some good points, some bad points, a blog post for another day), and after being there for three days, I damaged a tendon in my elbow.
I couldn’t play guitar for the entire first term.
Which was frustrating to say the least.
Anyway, I needed to do something to keep my brain occupied. Something I cannot stand, is doing nothing.
So, I decided to tackle some more in depth music theory. Somehow, somewhere, I read that JS Bach had studied counterpoint, so I found an English translation of the book that he used – Gradus ad Parnassum (Amazon link), and started studying.
I learned some cool things, and was able to write for two voices.
After my arm healed, it was back to learning guitar and I didn’t have time for my counterpoint study – which is another way of saying, I gave up.
I took another crack at it a couple of years later, but didn’t get very far. Then I started learning counterpoint from another book but, again, didn’t get too far.
On a slight side note, I recently changed rooms in the house I rent (currently, I rent a room in a shared house), and had to move all my books, and came across my first counterpoint book.
Which got me wondering,
What happens if I work on this for an hour every day?
Well, what happens is I get badass at writing counterpoint.
So… that’s what I’ll be doing. My YouTube channel has been a bit bare of late, but, I’ll be uploading examples from the book and my completion of the exercises onto YouTube as I go (subscribe to my YouTube here or to my email list to get fresh guitar videos), posting some notes from each chapter on here, and I’ll make a download on the store page of the tabs I make for the examples and exercises.
The book I’ll be using is Gradus ad Parnassum by Johan Joseph Fux. It has been studied by great composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Bach.
I also started a new ‘blog category’ (see to your right) where I will post my notes as I study.