II. Counterpoint and Galant Schemas

Mark Gotham

Key Takeaways

There are many different schemas. This chapter provides an introductory overview of the main ones along with some (brief) discussion of variants and details.

We begin with an at-a-glance summary of some important schemas, then proceed to set out each of the schemas listed one by one.

Overall Short Summary

Musical notation

Here are files in musical notation with all the schemas listed on this page:

These files provide a set of schemas, with the constituent parts set out as prototypically as is possible in musical notation: that is, with melody and figured bass lines, along with (in the first file’s case) chords in a middle part realizing those figures. Musical notation is obviously useful, though really, schemas are prototypes that exist apart from any specific realization, so the more abstract representations in tables and the like are better in some ways. That’s why you’ll see them set out in this fashion here and in other literature on this topic.

Summarizing table

[table id=75 /]

Itemized List

Opening Gambits

Romanesca

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Figures 5 6 5 6
Roman numerals I V vi I

Do–Re–Mi

Stage 1 2 3
Meter S W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6 5
Roman numerals I V I

Many of the schemas involve two steps that can be considered schemas on their own. These often take the form of question-answer pairs.
Here, we have the Do–Re opening part as the opening question:

Stage 1 2
Meter S W
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Figures 5 6
Roman numerals I V

That Do–Re is answered by the Re–Mi:

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6 5
Roman numerals V I

The Do–Re–Mi may also appear in a four-stage version by putting those constituent parts back together. This basically involves doubling up the central stage of the three-stage version.

Sol–Fa–Mi

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 5 6/5 5
Roman numerals I ii V I

Again, this comprises two parts.

Opening part (SolFa):

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
Figures 5 5
Roman numerals I ii

Answering part (FaMi):

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6 5
Roman numerals V I

This schema may also appear with the harmony slightly altered, as follows:

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6 6/5 5
Roman numerals I vii V I

Meyer

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6/4/3 6/5 5
Roman numerals I V V I

Opening part:

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
Figures 5 6,4,3
Roman numerals I V

Closing part:

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6,5 5
Roman numerals V I

Aprile

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6,4,3 6,5 5
Roman numerals I V V I

Jupiter

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6 5 5
Roman numerals I V V I

Pastorella

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 5 7 5
Roman numerals I V V I

Answer/Process/Transition

Prinner and Modulating Prinner

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6 7-6 I
Roman numerals IV I vii I

A slight variant on this inserts a root-position dominant before the final stage:

Stage 1 2 3 4 5
Meter S W S W S
Melody la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6 7–6 7 5
Roman numerals IV I vii V I

The Prinner can also be used to modulate from the tonic to the dominant. This variant is called the Modulating Prinner:

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat8[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
Figures 5 6 7-♯6 5
Roman numerals I V vii/V V

Again, this can come with an additional root-position dominant:

Stage 1 2 3 4 5
Meter S W S W S
Melody mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
Figures 5 6 7–♯6 7/♯ 5
Roman numerals I V vii/V V/V V

Fonte

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass di
[latex]\uparrow\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6/5 5 6/5 5
Roman numerals V/ii ii V I

The Fonte has a strong relation to the Meyer and indeed to the cycle of fifths. This effectively tonicizes the A minor key (e.g., the supertonic minor) and then a major key a tone below (the overall tonic). The modular part is just one of those tonicizations:

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6/5 5/3
Roman numerals V I

Monte

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody do-te
[latex]\hat1-\downarrow\hat7[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
re-do
[latex]\hat2-\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Bass mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fi
[latex]\uparrow\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
Figures 6/5 5 6/5 5
Roman numerals V/IV V V/V V

Like the Fonte, the Monte also goes through two tonicizations with a sequential treatment of a modular half:

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody sol-fa
[latex]\hat5-\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6/5 5
Roman numerals V I

Ponte

Stage 1 2 3
Meter S W S
Melody sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
Bass sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
Figures 5 7 7
Roman numerals V V V

Pre-Cadential / Incomplete Cadences

Fenaroli

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter S W S W
Melody fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Figures 6/5 5 6/5 6
Roman numerals V I V I

Indugio

Stage 1 2 3 4 5
Meter S W S W S
Melody re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Bass fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fi
[latex]\uparrow\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
Figures 6/5 6/5 6/5 6/5 5
Roman numerals IV IV IV V/V V

Deceptive Cadence

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
Figures 6 6/5 5 5
Roman numerals I ii V vi

Evaded Cadence

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Figures 6 6/5 5 6
Roman numerals I ii V I

Passo Indietro

Stage 1 2
Meter S W
Melody ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Figures 6/4/2 6
Roman numerals V I

The Passo Indietro is essentially the first two stages of a Prinner. Literally a “stepping back,” the Passo Indietro often precedes a significant cadence.

Comma

Stage 1 2
Meter W S
Melody fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
Bass ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6/5 5
Roman numerals V I

Converging Cadence

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
Bass mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
fi
[latex]\uparrow\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
Figures 6 6/5 6/5 5
Roman numerals I ii V/V V

This cadence is also known as the fa–fi–sol half cadence after the definitive bass line: [latex]\hat4-\uparrow\hat4-\hat5[/latex]. Note the correspondence between this schema and the Indugio.

Cadences and Post-Cadential

Cadenza Semplice

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6 6/5 5 5
Roman numerals I ii V I

Cadenza Composta

Stage 1 2 3 4 5
Meter W S S W S
Melody do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 6 6/5 6/4 7 5
Roman numerals I ii Cad. V I

Cadenza Doppia

Stage 1 2 3 4 5
Meter S W S W S
Melody fa
[latex]\hat4[/latex]
mi
[latex]\hat3[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
re
[latex]\hat2[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
sol
[latex]\hat5[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures 5 6/4 4 3 5
Roman numerals V V V V I

Quiescenza

Stage 1 2 3 4
Meter W S W S
Melody te
[latex]\downarrow\hat7[/latex]
la
[latex]\hat6[/latex]
ti
[latex]\hat7[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Bass do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
do
[latex]\hat1[/latex]
Figures ♭7 6/4 7/4/2 5
Roman numerals V/IV V V I

The Quiescenza is a post-cadential schema.

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OPEN MUSIC THEORY by Mark Gotham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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