The Counterpoint of J.S. Bach

Topics (At a Glance)

Return to: MUSC 726C

Below you will find a listing of the main topics covered in this course along with links to articles in Britannica Academic {BA}, the Harvard Dictionary of Music {HD}, and Grove Music Online {Grove}.

In addition to the assigned course readings (available in Blackboard), I have designed this brief summer course around the following three contemporary tonal counterpoint textbooks (available on reserve in the Music Library):

1. Benjamin, The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint (Benjamin 2003) -*
2. Gauldin, A Practical Approach to Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint (Gauldin 2013)
3. Kennan, Counterpoint, 4th ed. (Kennan 1999)

* - Primary reference text

Britannica Academic is available to all South Carolinians via Discus. The USC Music Library provides students with free electronic access to the Harvard Dictionary of Music and Grove Music Online. The USC Music Library provides e-access to Benjamin 2003 via EBSCOhost {EH} and ProQuest Ebook Central. As such, we will use Benjamin 2003 as our primary reference. Direct links to relevant chapters in Benjamin 2003 are provided via the EH links below.

  1. Counterpoint & Harmony
  2. Canon {BA; HD; Grove}
  3. Invention {HD; Grove}
  4. Fugue {BA; HD; Grove}

Technical note

The Chrome browser is recommended for accessing USC electronic resources. Please note that in addition to a USC network ID and password, VPN is required to access some resources from off-campus.


Britannica Academic –

Bruhn, J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier: In-depth Analysis and Interpretation (1993) –

Dahn, The Four-Part Chorales of J.S. Bach (2021) –

Lawrence, Bach and Friends (2010) –

Smith, The Fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier (1996), at the Digital Bach archive {YouTube Channel}

Rotem, Early Music Sources (EMS) –


Benjamin, Thomas. 2003. The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge {GB; Full text: Ebook Central; EBSCOhost}

Gauldin, Robert. 2004. "An Introduction to Species Counterpoint," in Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music, 2nd ed. New York: Norton, pp. A14-25. {GBd}

Gauldin, Robert. A Practical Approach to 18th Century Counterpoint. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2013/1995). {GB1; Table of Contents; GB2}

Kennan, Kent. 1999. Counterpoint, 4th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. {GBd; 3rd ed.:}

Updated: November 22, 2023

Reginald Bain | University of South Carolina | School of Music