Saturday, February 25, 2006

Axial Fugue in E

I live in a desert. Therefore, there are only a few guaranteed rain events every year: Gallery Night in November, and The Cowboy Poetry Gathering in February. Yup, it rained tonight. Not particularly conducive to outdoor gigs vis-a-vis attendance, but it wasn't a complete wash: $87.00 in tips. Buuut, anyway... not exactly a night to go out and paint the town red, so it's posting while watching SciFi Friday tonight.

I didn't bother with the Reynolds-Godin eleven-string (Catchy name?), because just keeping the Multiac in tune oudoors in the winter is enough of a bummer: Just six-stringin' it tonight. Played pretty well, despite missing my nap today.


I have gone back to the opening arpeggio in measure nineteen, and have devised a scheme for appearances of them under similar circumstances throughout the two exposition areas. This one is an augmented triad, which makes a minor major-seventh chord over the A. Other than that, nothing has ever really changed on this page.

In measure forty seven is the second opening triad, and it too is an augmented triad that creates a minor major-seventh over the bass note C. For the C minor statement, I have gone back to the answer form of the theme, which allows for the standard type transitional episode beginning at measure fifty-five. This allows for a return to A minor and a repeat of the exact phrase from the fugal exposition at the beginning. This serves three purposes: 1) It sets up a future appearance of this version of the statement with the countersubject doubled in thirds - A is the only level that works out at, 2) This appearance sets up for the open low A string to be used as the zero axis, and 3) The scheme of the keys as E-, A-; A-, C, C-, A-, A- is better balanced within the overall architecture of the piece (As it stands now).

I am planning to introduce a different kind of episode at forty-eight that will be a harmonized version of countersubject one. I'll get to that episode by changing the bass in measure forty six: The G will progress to G-sharp and then A to effect the change. Obviously, this will lead to another wholescale revision of the piece.

At seventy-three there is another opening arpeggiated triad, only this time it is a diminished triad. It is not functioning as a dominant, however, but is rather a neighboring diminished triad.

On the top of page three is the inverted variation of the subject with the open A-string functioning as the zero axis. This leads to a new episode that eliminates the previous arpeggiated version that linked the first exposition and the varied repeat. By setting things up this way, the entire first expo is all of the materials in two voices.

The varied repeat of the exposition now starts at measure ninety-five, and here we get the first three-voice texture. I have changed this back to the minor mode for two reasons: 1) Contrast with the upcoming major mode statements in A, and 2) the four voice statements only work in the major mode on A, and those need to be saved for the recapitualtion. The opening triad in 106 is now a minor triad, making a major seventh chord over a, and effecting a change of mode to A major.

One of the reasons there are no three-voice statements when countersubject one is in the lead of the A-level statements is because the E zero axis is not an open string, so it would really complicate matters, if I may be allowed a bit of understatement. The change of mode is enough for this statement, and the change of mode and pitch level for the C-sharp minor statement is sufficient as well. There is another opening triad figure in measure 134, and now it's another minor triad making a major seventh over the A.

In the next version the preceeding G in the bass will progress to G-sharp to introduce a new prelude-like episode, just as at the same point previously.


Creepy opening for Battlestar Gallactica.


In 135 countersubject one is doubled in thirds for the statement in C, and that texture is maintained throughout the following transitional episode, which adds quite a bit of interest: That's the main reason I went back to the answer form of the theme; to get this episode.

At 149 the bass has countersubject one, and it is again doubled in thirds, which is why I added the corresponding two-voice statement in the original exposition. In 160 there is another opening arpeggio, only now it is an augmented triad functioning as a neighboring chord, just as the neighboring diminished triad did in the same location previously. This leads to the tripple inverted statement in A major (Octave, melody, and mode) with CS 2 again doubled in thirds. Because of this compound inversion and the fact that the A zero axis is functioning as the root, the effect is totally unique. That goes for the following episode as well, which leads into the development area.

Both of the exposition areas now have identical archetecture: This may or may not be a positive, and it may or may not last until v3, but I wanted it this way for this version.

The development area begins at 175, and the entire development has remained intact from v1 as I was really trying to get the exposition and recapitulation architectures worked out.

Since nothing has changed in the development, it really requires little comment. Do note, however that the expositions and the development all begin in minor modes now: In the battle between minor and major the minor has the upper hand for most of the piece.

Page seven has the most exuberant and triumphant major mode climactic statements, and it's pretty much all down hill for the minor mode from here on out.

I did change the durations of the B-flats in the E-flat major statement to more accurately reflect what is being played on the guitar: That note has to be played on the G-string - which has the zero axis at this point - so those notes cannot be sustained. This actually adds to the passage.

With the expositions now sharing identical architecture and the two sections of the development area sharing identical architecture as well (And the coda sections too), the linking episode at 268 is now the only totally unique feature in the piece. It also has the high note of the entire piece at 272. This is the 76% point of the piece, which is within the acceptable bounds but way outside of my personal ideal of the 67% point. I'll have to start thinking about that for the next revision.

The recap now begins at 274 and is in the major mode. This is the first time in the piece that the subject/answer combination appears in this mode, and it signals that the major mode will win the day. At 281 the ultimate thematic statement is now presented: Subjec, CS 1 doubled in thirds, and CS 2. This is the only key and the only mode this will work in on the guitar. As with all idiomatic guitar music, the guitar made a lot of the decisions for me.

I consider 292 to be the beginning of the coda, as the main thematic statements and the following concluding episode are all there is of actual recapitulation: All of the following material is new.

The only changes here are minor. There is now a decending chromatic line for the "false conclusion" starting in 310 where it was diatonic before, and there are three repeats of the four bar figure: It sounds like it will end in the minor mode, but we'll be having none of that.

The concluding major mode statements are otherwise identical to the minor mode statements, and the concluding four measure figure is now diatonic and in the major mode with an additional final repeat to conclude the fugue.

Though it is a bit on the mechanically constructed side, the piece is nonetheless quite satisfying, and I could just leave it here and call it finished. That was not the case with v1. Ten years ago I would have quit here, but it requires an "x factor" that I haven't stumbled upon yet but I'm getting close. Stay tuned.

Sometimes you just have to try different settings to find out what you like best.


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