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What is a Counterpoint?

Updated: Nov 8, 2023


Counterpoint meaning

"A complementing or contrasting item or used of contrast or interplay of elements in a work of art"

The term counterpoint originates from the Latin punctus contra punctum meaning “point against point”.

Essentially it’s something that is different or even opposite to another item, but which can work with it in a positive and pleasing way. And by joining the two together, you are left with something greater than the sum of its parts. For example, it could be the perfect sauce to go with your steak, or a tough-tackling footballer who enables your star player to shine.

But you’re most likely to come across the term in a musical sense.

What is a counterpoint in music?

"The technique of setting, writing, or playing a melody or melodies in conjunction with another, according to fixed rules"

A counterpoint is the relationship between two or more musical lines (or voices) which are harmonically interdependent yet independent in rhythm and melodic contour (Laitz, Steven G., 2008).

This style of musical writing can be traced back to the Renaissance era, before flourishing in the Baroque period. Listen to a Bach piano piece and see how the left hand and right hand are seemingly playing different tunes that somehow harmonically lock in together and resolve at the same time. Bach was one of the greatest proponents of counterpoint so it’s unsurprising that its popularity waned after his death. However, the likes of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven studied counterpoint in great detail and it gradually became more integral to their work as they developed their talents. And counterpoint has continued to be used through to modern times, being regularly employed by bands like The Beatles and Suede, and can also be found in 21st-century pop music.

Why Counterpoint for Macs?

When the company began as Music Technology Specialists it was helping musicians in professional and education settings unleash the potential of technology as a tool in creating and performing music. The apparent contrast between the art of music and the technical world of computers and electronics made the creative play on the word Counterpoint a great name for the company.

When we started out in 1989, modern music technology was in its infancy. Our background was in the use of IT for composing, scoring and the recording of music and education was beginning to promote the use of IT throughout the curriculum. Bearing in mind the specific needs and challenges in using technology in the creative subjects our focus was always to bridge what might appear to be the apparent contradiction of art and technology by designing and delivering solutions which do not get in the way of people’s creativity but rather support and enhance it.

But when we saw how computer technology could work in tandem with traditional equipment and instruments, we knew that it would become an important part of the future. We began with music, but as we evolved along with the technology we realised that the same principles could be applied to other creatives too - photographers, designers, media producers. As Apple Macs emerged as the industry standard for creative professionals, we became experts too, even creating our own solution, EnhancedAD, to allow Macs to work smoothly on Windows networks.

Today we work with organisations of all shapes and sizes from small schools, through larger colleges and universities, to SMEs and local and national charities. Whether you need a recording studio, digital audio network, or mobile device management we can design the perfect solution for you and the creatives in your organisation.

And our services have expanded, where we can now look after all elements of your Apple Mac fleet and network. Everything we do is based around making your IT work seamlessly with your staff, students and equipment. The ideal modern complement to your more traditional functionality. The perfect Counterpoint.


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