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MUSIC 3CT3 Tonal Counterpoint

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. William Renwick


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 409

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23671


Office Hours: Wednesday 10:30-11:30, Thursday 9:30-10:30

Course Objectives:

The student will be able to write in various baroque musical forms: variation, binary dance, invention, and fugue. The class focuses on writing in the baroque style, with particular emphasis on figured-bass and voice-leading.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Course materials will be provided on Avenue to learn.

The following supplementary materials are available in the library:

Bach, Carl Philip Emmanuel, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (Cassel, 1949).

Bach, Johann Sebastian, J.S. Bach's Precepts and Principles (Oxford, 1994).

Gauldin, Robert, A Practical Approach to Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint (Prentice-Hall, 1988).

Kirnberger, Johann Philipp, The Art of Strict Musical Composition (Yale, 1982).

Niedt, Friedrich Erhard, The Musical Guide (Oxford, 1989).

Prout, Ebenezer, Fugue (Augener, 1891).

Renwick, William. Analyzing Fugue: A Schenkerian Approach. Pendragon, 1995.

Renwick, William. The Langloz Manuscript. Oxford, 2001.

Method of Assessment:

10 Assignments: 7% each. 70%

One in-class test, Wednesday, October 1 10%

Final exam: 20%

Total: 100%

Assignments, given on approximately a weekly basis, are due one week later. Assignments use skills and concepts discussed in class. In-class Test: This tests students' assimilation of the major topics of the course and serves as practice for the final exam. Final Exam: The final exam (2-hour) tests students' abilities at writing Baroque counterpoint.

Students in this course will receive a midterm grade worth 10% by October 8.

Assignments, Quizzes and Tests, due dates

6 Sept #1 due 13 Sept

13 Sept #2 due 20 Sept

20 Sept #3 due 27 Sept

27 Sept #4 due 4 Oct

4 Oct #5 due 18 Oct

25 Oct Test

1 Nov #6 due 8 Nov

8 Nov #7 due 15 Nov

15 Nov #8 due 22 Nov

22 Nov #9 due 29 Nov

29 Nov #10 due 6 Dec

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will receive a 10% reduction in grade.  After one week, late assignments will not be accepted, except in the case of a justifiable absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Unit1: Harmonic Progression, Figured Bass, Figuration, Prelude

Unit2: Binary Form, Phrase and Cadence

Unit3: Minuet

Unit4: Invertible Counterpoint

Unit 5: Invention

Unit 6: Invention continued

Unit 7: Fugal exposition

Unit 8: Fugal exposition continued

Unit 9: Sequence

Unit 10: Fugal form

Unit 11: Complete fugue

Unit 12: Complete fugue