The above is double counterpoint at the tenth below.
Triple or quadruple counterpoints consist of three or four melodies so adopted that any of them may be a bass to the other. This can only be done with counterpoint at the octave.
Counterpoints may also be constructed by contrary motion, or by augmentation, or diminution, or retrogression. In compositions in more than two parts, the counterpoint is often confined to two parts, while the others are free accompaniments in order to fill up and complete the harmony.
In a fugue the subject and countersubject are necessarily constructed in double counterpoint. [See article Fugue.]
For a good example of counterpoint at the twelfth and in diminution, see the fine chorus 'Let all the Angels of God,' in Handel's 'Messiah.'
For an example of five subjects in double counterpoint at the octave, see the finale of Mozart's 'Jupiter' Symphony.
[ F. A. G. O. ]
COUNTERSUBJECT. When the subject of a fugue has been proposed by one voice it is usual for the answer, which is taken up by another voice, to be accompanied by the former with a counterpoint sufficiently recognisable as a definite subject to take its part in the development of the fugue, and this is called the countersubject; as in the chorus 'And with his stripes,' in Handel's 'Messiah'—
It should be capable of being treated with the original subject in double counterpoint—that is, either above or below it, as in the chorus just named, where it first appears in an upper part, but further on in the tenor, with the original subject in the treble; thus—
But it is allowable to alter it slightly when thus treated, so long as its character is distinctly marked. The principal subject of the above was a favourite with the composers of the last century; instances of it with different counter-subjects will be found in Handel's 'Joseph,' in Mozart's Requiem, and in a quartet of Haydn's in F minor; also in Corelli's Solos, op. 1, No. 3.
When a second subject appears simultaneously with the first proposition of the principal subject it is common to speak of it as the countersubject, as in the following, by Handel (6 organ fugues no. 3)—
but many theorists think that this tends to confusion, and wish it to be called a second subject. Cherubini held that a fugue could not have more than one principal subject, and that therefore the terms first, second, or third countersubject should be used to designate any subjects which follow after the first; but the question does not seem to be of any very great importance.
For further treatment of this question see Fugue.
[ C. H. H. P. ]
COUNTERTENOR. See Alto.
COUNTRY-DANCE. See Contredanse.
COUPART, Antoine Marie, born in Paris 1780, died there 1854, originator and editor of the 'Almanach des Spectacles' (Paris 1822–1836). Coupart was for many years an employé in the 'Bureau des journaux et des théâtres' and had special opportunities for gaining his information. He also wrote vaudevilles and comedies, and edited several collections of songs.
[ M. C. C. ]
COUPERIN, François, called, like Louis XIV, 'Le Grand,' was born at Paris 1668, and died there 1733. In 1696 he became organist of St. Gervais, in which office, from about 1650 to 1700, he was both preceded and succeeded by members of the Couperin family, who were all professional musicians. But though he is reported to have been a first-rate organist, his reputation rests upon his various suites of pieces for the 'clavecin, his excellent Méthode for that instrument, and his proficiency as an executant upon it. It is of particular interest for historians of music, as well as for professed pianists, to note the unmistakeable influence which Couperin's suites and Méthode had upon Sebastian Bach, both in his practice (mode of touch, fingering, execution of 'les agrémens'—shakes, turns, arpeggii, etc.) [Agrements] and in the shape and contents of some of his loveliest contributions to the literature of the instrument, such as his suites and partitas. The principal pieces in Bach's 'Suites françaises,' 'Suites anglaises,' 'Partitas,' and even in some of his solo works for violin and violoncello, as well as in his suites for stringed or mixed stringed and wind instruments—'Concerti Grossi,'—the allemandes, courantes, sarabandes, gavottes, gigues, etc., are frequently in close imitation of the French types of dance tunes then current, and of which Couperin's suites furnished the best specimens. Bach here and there goes to the length of