Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Imitative counterpoint

Imitative counterpoint is a composition technique that states an idea and then repeats it within other voices possibly in other keys. Imitative counterpoint consists of at least 2 voices but may use far more. Usually the restatement occurs at even intervals only at a different pitch level. One common sequence is a statement of the theme at normal level and then a fifth above or a fourth below. Some forms of imitative counterpoint are the canon and the fugue. A canon restates the theme again and again exactly as it was initially stated while a fugue may use one idea for an entire song but the idea may grow and change as the composer alters the initial idea. Fugues are generally freer than canons. One particular famous composer who used this technique was Bach.

Sources: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Don Randel Article: Imitative counterpoint