fifth species

variants: or fifth-species counterpoint

Definition of fifth species

: species counterpoint in which the added voice may employ all the resources of the first four species (see species entry 1 sense 1f) … the fifth species integrates the possibilities of the preceding species.— David Damschroder and David Russell Williams, Music Theory from Zarlino to Schenker, 1990

called also florid counterpoint

— see species counterpoint — compare first species, second species, third species, fourth species

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First Known Use of fifth species

1834, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of fifth species was in 1834

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Cite this Entry

“Fifth species.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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