best way to prepare for it is to study as much vocal polyphonic music from the
period as possible – sing it, look at scores, play them through on the
keyboard, and if possible listen to recordings.
are some good and bad things in a Renaissance counterpoint exercise.
|Mixture of perfect consonances, imperfect consonances and prepared dissonance||Consecutive perfect consonances (unison, 5th and octave)|
use of suspensions (i.e. prepare on a weak beat, suspend on the strong
beat and resolve downwards by step on the next weak beat).
|Unprepared dissonance. The definition of a dissonance is a note that needs to resolve. All 2nds and 7ths are dissonant. All augmented and diminished intervals are dissonant. Perfect 4ths with the bass are dissonant. A perfect 4th between the upper 2 notes is OK as long as they are both consonant with the bass|
|Imitation (look out for where the 2 given parts imitate each other – almost certainly the third will also be imitative)|
|Variety of texture – take your cue from the given material. It may be imitative throughout, or there may be a mixture of imitation and homophony||Homophony all the way through|
|Vocal melody moving mainly by step. Occasional melodic leaps should be followed where possible by a stepwise movement in the opposite direction||
leaps of: major 6th, (minor 6ths are OK, but not used very often), any
kind of 7th, any augmented or diminished interval, anything bigger than
|Good word setting. Stressed syllables of a word normally come on a strong beat. The last few syllables of a line may be set melismatically (i.e. lots of notes per syllable)||No attention given to word setting – melody doesn’t fit words, or words missed out. Difficult to sing.|
|Simple, even rhythmic style, with occasional dotted rhythms or syncopation for variety. Rhythmic style is consistent between all the parts||
many jerky rhythms.