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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Harmony, Counterpoint and Composition 1
Module Code MC112
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Sean Doherty
Semester 2: Sean Doherty
Autumn: Sean Doherty
Module TeachersSean Doherty
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

Students will learn foundational concepts in harmony and counterpoint through composition exercises, listening tasks, and performance. This is achieved through the completion of weekly exercises in two-voice counterpoint derived from the historical treatise on Renaissance counterpoint by Johann Joseph Fux, ‘Gradus ad Parnassum’ (1725). These exercises systematically introduce the study of counterpoint over five stages or ‘species’, hence the name species counterpoint.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify number and quality of melodic and harmonic intervals and relate these to the conventions of species counterpoint
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the types of harmonic motion and their associated rules of voice-leading
3. Demonstrate an understanding of various types of non-harmony notes and their permitted use in each species
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the stylistic features of species counterpoint
5. Present and manipulate relevant composition work in appropriate notation software

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Teaching, performance, listening, discussion of course content
Assignment Completion48Continuous Assessment
Independent Study53Weekly tasks
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Harmony and Counterpoint
Permitted and prohibited melodic and harmonic intervals; consonance and dissonance; types of harmonic motion (parallel, similar, oblique, contrary); types of non-harmony notes (passing notes, suspensions, neighbour notes); modal counterpoint; chromatic inflections at cadences; stylistic features of Renaissance counterpoint.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Music CompositionFirst-Species Counterpoint20%n/a
Music CompositionSecond-Species Counterpoint20%n/a
Music CompositionThird-Species Counterpoint20%n/a
Music CompositionFourth-Species Counterpoint20%n/a
Music CompositionFifth-Species Counterpoint20%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Johann Joseph Fux, trans. Alfred Mann: 1960, ‘The Study of Counterpoint’, in Gradus ad Parnassum, Norton, London,
  • Stephen C. Stone: 2018, Music Theory and Composition: A Practical Approach, Rowman & Littlefield,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BRMBachelor of Religious Education & Music

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