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Rules for Writing a Cantus Firmus 1.

The cantus must be between eight and sixteen notes in length, all of the same rhythmic value, and should generally be in the shape of an arch. 2. The cantus must begin and end on the tonic, and the final tone must be approached by step from above. 3. The cantus must be entirely diatonic (i. e. it must not use any accidentals), and must not move by augmented intervals, 7ths, or intervals larger than an octave (Ex. 1). Diminished melodic intervals may be used if the melody changes direction by step immediately afterward (Ex. 2). 4. All counterpoints must contain a climax (high point), and this climax should not be repeated. 5. The counterpoint should mainly move by step, but should have a few leaps (Exx. 3 and 4). Leaps larger than a 4th should change the direction of the line, and should be followed by a change of direction (Ex. 5). 6. Avoid excessive motion in one direction, especially with leaps (Ex. 6). More than two consecutive leaps are not allowed. Two consecutive leaps in the same direction must outline a triad. 7. Avoid redundancy resulting from repeated notes, from the repetition of a distinctive group of tones, or from sequences. 8. A tenth between the lowest and highest tones of a cantus is the maximum possible range. Most good ones have a range of about a fifth or sixth.