9.3 Third Species Counterpoint: Tutorial

Third Species, 4:1 (3:1 and 6:1 in compound meters)

Four notes against one note.

  • Escape tones and appoggiaturas, in addition to passing tone and neighbor tone dissonances are permitted, but only on the second and fourth beats of a group of four. The first beat (where the parts align) must be consonant, and the third beat should be as well, but one can get away with the occasional third-beat dissonance, as long as not all three weak beats (2, 3, and 4) are dissonant.
  • Again, watch for hidden parallel 5ths and 8ths coming from the fourth beat of a group of four to the next aligned downbeat.

Example: a Second and Third Species counterpoint to This Land is Your Land. Write the intervals below the staff and mark the type of dissonance in each instance.

Third species example


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Comprehensive Musicianship, A Practical Resource Copyright © 2023 by Randall Harlow; Heather Peyton; Jonathan Schwabe; and Daniel Swilley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.