David Mesquita


Improvised Counterpoint

Improvised counterpoint played a fundamental role in the music of the Renaissance. Today we base our approach to Renaissance music on the written compositions that have come down to us; but we have to be aware that these were the fruit of a musical creativity based on oral polyphony, which covered a wide spectrum – from popular music to the sophisticated improvisations of contrapuntists in cathedrals. The purpose of the course is the practice of different historical techniques of oral polyphony, such as the fauxbourdon, the folias, the canon, the contrapuntos de decenas and other concerted counterpoints. The course does not require any previous experience or special talent, since polyphonic improvisation was not based on the romantic idea of ​​an innate and original inventiveness, but on the imitation, repetition and assimilation of typical patterns proposed by the teacher. In this context, historical methodology tools such as solmisation and the Guidonian hand will also be applied. Finally, we will also explore how historical improvisation can contribute today to teaching and a musical practice that is closer to the creative process.

David Mesquita was born in Benifaió in 1977. He received solfège classes (absolute and relative), piano, violin and dolçaina (traditional shawn). He actively participated in Valencian musical life as a member of orchestras and choirs and as a dolçainer at traditional festivals. Private analysis classes with Juan Luís Martínez will mark you deeply. Between 2000 and 2005 he studied choral conducting and music theory in Freiburg, focusing especially on music of the 19th and 20th centuries. A workshop with Markus Jans in 2004 marked a turning point, awakening his interest in improvised Renaissance counterpoint. As a result of this, he studied early music theory from 2007 to 2009 at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Since 1998 he has conducted numerous choirs and orchestras, especially the Tallis Ensemble Freiburg (2005-2015) and the Kammerchor Emmendingen (since 2006). His work in higher education began at the music colleges of Freiburg (2005-2010) and Trossingen (2006-2010). From 2009 to 2011 he was Lecturer in Music Theory at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen. Since 2011 he has been teaching at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where he is Professor of Auditory Training and Improvised Counterpoint, a subject that he has developed and established as part of the curriculum. In 2021 he defended his doctoral thesis on “Improvised Counterpoint in Spain around 1700” at the University of Würzburg. In 2023 the book on ear training (“Gehörbildung“) that he has co-written with Florian Vogt will appear.