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This section is in a simple lecture style, and looks at music from a purely mathematical angle, in a theoretical tradition that goes back, through the works of Renaissance theoreticians, to the Ancient Greeks. The words of Mersenne , Cicero and Aristotle are among the references quoted by Fux in this section. This part is in the form of a dialog, between a master Aloysius, Latin for Luigi, who is meant to represent Palestrina's ideas and a student, Josephus, who represents Fux himself, a self-admitted admirer of Palestrina.
At the outset Fux states his purpose: "to invent a simple method by which a student can progress, step by step, to the heights of compositional mastery Leopold Mozart is said to have taught his son Wolfgang from Gradus ad Parnassum. JS Bach and Beethoven both held it in great esteem, and Haydn meticulously worked out each of its exercises. Translated into the vernacular, Fux's work remains useful for the study of counterpoint. Translated and edited by Alfred Mann , The paperback copy that I consulted was from its 34th printing.
Fux divided Gradus ad Parnassum into two parts: "In the first part, Fux presents a summary of the theory on Musica Speculativa , or the analysis of intervals as proportions between numbers.
The Study of Counterpoint : From Johann Joseph Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum
He is most famous as the author of Gradus ad Parnassum , a treatise on counterpoint , which has become the single most influential book on the Palestrinian style of Renaissance polyphony. Almost all modern courses on Renaissance counterpoint, a mainstay of college music curricula, are indebted in some degree to this work by Fux. Fux was born to a peasant family in Hirtenfeld , Styria , Austria. Relatively little is known about his early life, but likely he went to nearby Graz for music lessons. In he was accepted at the Jesuit university there, where his musical talent became apparent.
The Study of Counterpoint
Search this site. Some preliminaries What is Species Counterpoint? Fux and his Gradus ad Parnassum. Some why questions. The Fux Tradition. Species at a glance.
Johann Joseph Fux
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