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MUSIC 3CM3 Modal Counterpoint (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Matthew Woolhouse


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 428

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23669

Office Hours: Mon 9.30-10.30 and Wed 9.30-10.30

Course Objectives:

During the course, students will gain a firm grounding in Species Counterpoint, including one, two and four notes against one, syncopation (suspension) and florid counterpoint. The course follows a step-by-step approach to the topic, building up the student’s skills in a logical manner. By the end of the course, the student should be able to write florid counterpoint in multiple parts in (pre-)Baroque style. The course also includes studying (and singing) music by composers such as Palestrina and Lasso.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Alfred Mann. Study of Counterpoint: From Johann Joseph Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum. WW Norton; Rev ed. edition (Jan. 6 1981). ISBN-10: 0393002772, ISBN-13: 978-0393002775. Available in the Campus Bookstore.

Students should also download the music editing software MuseScore onto their laptops; access to this software will be required in class ( Please also bring headphones or earbuds, and manuscript paper to all classes.

Method of Assessment:

Students will complete weekly counterpoint assignments (12 in total), relating to the reading of the week. Lecture notes will be posted on Avenue to Learn throughout the course ( Assignments, also posted on Avenue to Learn, are to be completed using MuseScore and returned to the instructor via Avenue to Learn. Assignments will be evaluated on the basis of content, creativity and accuracy. The 2 assignments with the lowest mark will be dropped; therefore, out of 12 assignments only 10 will count towards the final grade. Regular attendance is essential; 5% of the final course mark depends upon attendance and in-class participation. Students in this course will have received 10% of their grade in this course by 9 November 2018.


Evaluation Breakdown:

Assignments (10 x 7.5% each): 75%

Attendance and participation: 5%

Final exam (Date TBA): 20%

Total: 100%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will not be accepted unless accompanied by a medical certificate, or with the prior consent of the instructor.  

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:

Weekly chapters from  Study of Counterpoint: From Johann Joseph Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum by Alfred Mann.