Explanations relying on the composer's age (he was a generation older than most of the other composers of madrigals active at the same time) or on his Flemish concern for traditional, imitative counterpoint
have never been really satisfactory.
The Stabat mater and the Improperia both make extensive use of slow, consonant block chords in root position, and while the Missa Papae Marcelli has its share of imitative counterpoint
, it is famously more homophonic than most previous Masses; its clarity and intelligibility were reputed to have saved church music from being banned during the Council of Trent.
Morley groups together all non-canonic forms of imitative counterpoint
under the general heading `fuge'.(4) Morley is one of the first music theorists to recognize the term `canon' as referring to a musical genre whose principal characteristic is the repetition of given melodic and rhythmic material by two or more parts.
Beginning with the rudiments of sixteenth-century music (pitches, rhythm, solmization, the hexachord system, mutation), the treatise proceeds progressively from treatment of dissonance and harmonization of melodies to chapters on imitative counterpoint
in two-, three- and four-parts, which conclude with two illustrative pieces titled "fantasia a concierto?' There is an important discussion of fabordones over psalm tones in the soprano, alto, or tenor parts, with fully worked out music examples in each of the eight modes, which resemble Cabezon's fabordones.
Ingegneri has always been painted as a conservative, interested only in structure and imitative counterpoint
(though Monteverdi did include him among practitioners of the seconda prattica).