Coming to an understanding

Today has been mostly devoted to wrestling with the counterpoint. I’m finding it almost mind-bendingly hard at times – it’s almost like I’ve never done it before (fairly sure this is because the counterpoint course I did at uni was compressed into half a semester and I never quite managed to come to grips with what I was supposed to doing), but I’m finding as I’m working – very slowly – through the exercises, that I’m gradually internalising the rules and almost unconsciously applying them – no, I can’t use that note because the previous interval was a perfect interval and the bass line does this, therefore I have to move this bit by step. I’m finding as I’m playing through my work that I really can hear where it’s gone wrong and I’m picking up errors this way, which for me is a fantastic leap forward because my aural skills have always been a little on the rubbish side. I’m not done with the first species counterpoint exercises yet (the second one has an absolute cow of a cantus firmus – really hard to set) but I’m getting there. I’ll pick up where I’ve left off tomorrow. Right now it’s time to make an early dinner and get ready to go out and hear what Stephen Sondheim has to say for himself at the Southbank Centre…

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