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This class is an introduction to Baroque-style counterpoint filled with harmonic resources to aid in the ability to compose and improvise within this style. Focusing on contrary motion and the authentic cadence employing secondary dominants, cycles and modulations, the written exercises are designed to help get strong compositional elements in the ears and hands of the player.

Once the finger mechanics and harmonic concepts have been practiced, two-line improvisation in this style can occur more easily.

We’ll be dealing with quick harmonic rhythms, chords lasting one or two beats and played in cycles resulting in music with forward motion that contain interesting modulations.

Highlights of the class include:

  • Single note Baroque-style etudes,
  • 2-part exercises in contrary motion,
  • melodic embellishments,
  • conversational bass techniques,
  • cycle 4 and cycle 6 target chords using secondary dominants. IV V I
  • cadences in various keys,
  • chromatic counterpoint in contrary motion,
  • an original arrangement of All cadences in various keys
  • chromatic counterpoint in contrary motion,
  • an original arrangement of All The Things You Are written as a Baroque/Jazz hybrid for 6 string guitar with additional pages included for 7 string guitarists.
  • The class comes with 21 pages of written material in standard notation.
  • Any player wishing to get deeper into composing and improvising in the Baroque style will not want to miss this class!
  • 65 Minutes

Class Content

Going for Baroque
Going for Baroque 01:05:00

Course Reviews


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  1. Profile photo of Torkill Bruland


    This lesson tied a lot together for me, very generous and well constructed lesson! Probably the best lesson so far, on Mikes Master Classes.

    ~ Torkill Bruland (December 16, 2010)

  2. Profile photo of James S.


    I concur with Nico. I have bought a lot of classes here, and I’ve bought most of Steve’s, and this one is very different from the others, yet related in a way that it takes you to the same result of hearing and playing simultaneous moving lines (ala Ted Greene, Jimmy Wyble, etc.)without merely repeating previous classes. I don’t know how Steve knows this much stuff!

    ~ james seaberry (November 23, 2010)

  3. Profile photo of Nico Sabatini


    There are other excellent classes on the subject by other masters (notably Sid Jacobs class on counterpoint).

    This one however (as always with Steve Herberman) has to be the most pragmatic and exhaustive. The staggering amount of examples (both the exercises and the arrangement of ‘All the things you are’) is a goldmine of ideas which take you progressively through levels of complexity.

    Far from being an isolated subject, this baroque-style counterpoint approach ties in incredibly well with Steve’s other materials (Inner Lines, Contrpuntal improv, Chord motion etc) and are useful way beyond Jazz Improvisation.

    Over the last couple of years these classes have had a profound impact on my playing, writing and arranging and for this reason I’ll be forever grateful to Steve!

    ~ Nico Sabatini (November 22, 2010)

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