Imitation: Naming the Parts

Imitation is a style or form of Counterpoint. With any composition come the technical terms of parts or sections within the form. This post will be all about the dictionary definitions of each part that Quarenghi labels in the composition titled “Imitation” — a style of counterpoint.

Counterpoint in the style of Imitation
First Page of Imitation

The excerpt above shows (in Italian) that Quarenghi labeled the entries for antecedent/consequent and also the interval at which the consequent entered.

The first statement shows the antecedent playing for one measure, or 4 Beats, before the consequent enters at an Octave lower.

There are four times he uses this exact note and rhythmic combination. Twice, however, he brings the consequent in only two beats into the antecedent’s statement. Another time, the consequent enters at the unison with the antecedent.

At my very basic understanding of counterpoint, it appears that much of the music is presented as free counterpoint. That is, he utilizes many different styles and techniques to compose a piece.

I think it is interesting that a 19th Century cellist would spend so much effort on a large scale method and include an entire section just on counterpoint. And since I have always been somewhat befuddled by the “antiquated” (I mean that they are old and often considered to be outdated) style of polyphonic music, especially of counterpoint, it seemed useful to me to spend a little time exploring it.

And why not? He wrote these examples with a cellist in mind! There is no need to transpose any of it. When it is composed and organized around one’s major instrument it makes the study that much more compelling.

Be sure to listen to Episode 52 of the podcast Forgotten Cello Music.


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