Tip #145 – The Seesaw of Acoustic Balance in Counterpoint

If you know what a seesaw is – it is an outdoor playground ride where the changes of force on either side cause the ends to go up in down. When both sides are even, the seesaw is balanced.

You might experience a seesaw feeling when you are writing counterpoint:

  • On one hand, the two melodic lines must be heard; but one cannot completely overpower or be completely in balance in volume.
  • On one hand, the two melodic lines cannot be too similar in timbre where they blend in a mess; but they cannot be too distinctive where they don’t blend.
  • On one hand, the two different melodic lines music be unique; but they still must work together as one whole.

My advice to you the reader is:

  • Make one melodic line slightly louder than the other
  • Choose instruments carefully, as to which best pair for the greater effect of the music
  • And keep in mind intervals, rhythm, and motivic usage when crafting contrapuntal lines.

This could help create a balance.

Of course, this is just my advice – you are the composer, so do whatever you feel is right!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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