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Learn counterpoint with George Bellas

George Bellas, our endorsed artist, offers you one of his tablatures in the classical counterpoint style. Let’s discover this technique and his explanations to learn the piece.

Classical Etude in Am .gpx (free download)

Counterpoint definition

“Counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are harmonically interdependent (polyphony), but independent in rhythm and contour. It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period, especially in Baroque music. The term originates from the Latin punctus contra punctum meaning “point against point.” (source)

Technical description of the piece

“In Classical Guitar Etude in A Minor I used the multi-voice feature in Guitar Pro 6 (video) to compose a 2-part counterpoint piece in an 18th century style.

Measure one commences the piece with a tonic chord that is embellished with an upper neighbor tone in the lower voice and then imitated by inversion in the upper voice at a time interval of one quarter, followed by two passing tones in the lower voice on the 2nd eighth of beats three and four respectively. Measure three progresses through the supertonic, tonic, dominant and tonic, with the voice leading staying true to period resolutions; 7th resolving down and leading tone up by step in the soprano. At measure four we arrive at the neapolitan resolving regularly to the dominant which is then followed by an imperfect authentic cadence. Measures four through six proceed through a simple diatonic harmonic progression, and then on beat three of measure seven the secondary dominant of the dominant is used as a modulatory device to lead to the dominant key. In measure eight we tonicize the new key and then progress through a series of harmonies that revolve mainly around the tonic and dominant.  In measure thirteen what appears to be a picardy third is functionally used as the dominant of the home key to modulate back to A minor. The second to last measure is to be played with a ritardando and alternates between the tonic and dominant before finally resolving to the tonic with a perfect authentic cadence.”

George Bellas

About the author

Guitarist, composer and music teacher, George Bellas has recorded more than 20 albums in his whole career. This eclectic musician absorbs influences from many genres: Progressive Rock, Shred, Jazz and Classical music. You can find his full discography and listen to some of his songs on his website.

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