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    Westergaardian Species Counterpoint

    Dear SMT Discuss Members,

    I am interested in knowing whether anyone teaches Peter Westergaard’s version of species counterpoint.

    I have developed on online tool in which users can compose simple counterpoint in first, second, third, and fourth species: 


    After composing an exercise, users can click one one of three buttons: one will evaluate whether the upper line is generable as a primary upper line with basic step motion (Urlinie), another evaluates whether the lower line is generable as a bass line with a basic arpeggiation (Bassbrechung), and the third will evaluate the voice leading. Errors/success are reported to the user in the browser window. 

    The user also has the option to download a musicxml version of the exercise in order to import it into a notation program. Successful parses can also be displayed in Schenker-like notation, though this is not an option I make available to student users, as I expect them to be able to learn to interpret the lines themselves.

    Parsing linear structure and checking voice leading take place on the server using a combination of custom Python scripts and the music21 toolkit.

    If anyone is interested in exploring this tool or has an interest in collaborating on further development, please contact me privately. Further information is available on the project website: Westergaardian Species Counterpoint Online.

    Robert Snarrenberg

    Associate Professor of Music and Comparative Literature

    Washington University in St. Louis

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