Mazzola's model of Fuxian counterpoint

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


This paper critiques Guerino Mazzola's derivation of traditional counterpoint rules, arguing that those principles are not well-modeled by pitchclass intervals; that Mazzola's differential treatment of fifths and octaves is not supported musically or by traditional counterpoint texts; that Mazzola's specific calculations are not reproducible; that there are a number of intuitive considerations weighing against Mazzola's explanation; that the fit between theory and evidence is not good; and that Mazzola's statistical arguments are flawed. This leads to some general methodological reflections on different approaches to mathematical music theory, as well as to an alternative model of first-species counterpoint featuring the orbifold double-struck T 2/S2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMathematics and Computation in Music - Third International Conference, MCM 2011, Proceedings
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2011
Event3rd International Conference on Mathematics and Computation in Music, MCM 2011 - Paris, France
Duration: Jun 15 2011Jun 17 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6726 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference3rd International Conference on Mathematics and Computation in Music, MCM 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


  • Antiparallel Fifths
  • Counterpoint
  • Fux
  • Guerino Mazzola
  • Methodology of Mathematical Music Theory
  • Orbifolds
  • Palestrina
  • Parallel Fifths


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