Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Invention in A Minor v3.7

What I thought was going to be a two voice fugue in D minor just ten days ago has morphed into a two-part invention in A minor now. I'm kind of bummed on one hand, as the last thing the universe needs is another guitar piece in A minor. OTOH though, years ago I had the idea to write a series of two-part inventions for guitar, but my development wasn't far enough along, and my compositional technique was therefore not up to the task. Today it's a different story, so no telling where this will lead: I've come up with no less than ten timeless subjects over the years, and I realize now that any one of them would work in two voices on the guitar with imitation at the octave.

That's the difference between a fugue and an an invention, right there: Imitation is at the fifth - or more rarely the fourth - in a fugue, while inventions answer at the octave.

I'm still just using single line lineal links between statements - no episodic material as of yet - but I now have all three of the traditional stretto possibilities in it, as well as the two-part hyper-stretto as a conclusion. There are also not nearly as many possibilities as I initially thought, as the melodic inversions (or mirrors) of the stretti yield some minor ninths and major sevenths on strong beats. I'm not squeamish about those at all in five voices - in fact I seek them out in that context - but in less than four voices they can sound, well, icky. Two voices especially. Yes, I tried strict intervallic inversion, but that yields a Mixolydian minor-sixth mode, which sounded positively bizarre in this context.

With the contrapuntal possibilities cut by exactly 50%, the task of reaching a final configuration for the piece will be much easier, and the smaller implied dimensions of an invention over a fugue are actually more appropriate.

I can again provide AAC conversions, as I realized I hadn't updated iTunes on my old 1.67GHz G4 PowerBook, so you can open another window or tab to follow along.

Invention in A Minor

The work-around is pretty ponderous though: I have to export the Encore file from my PowerMac G5 to the shared HD plugged into my Airport Extreme, then download it to the G4 PowerBook, import it to the old version of iTunes there, create the AAC conversion, and then do the whole thing in reverse with the M4A file. PITA.

Honestly, I really do hate OS X 10.5.8. For me, OS X 10.4.11 is much better, so I'm thinking of wiping the HD on my G5 and downgrading the OS... lot of work though.

But I digress...

No linking measure needed in the expo anymore, and that makes the desirable odd three-measure length of the subject more apparent.

First modulation is to the subdominant, and you can see the two longer stretto possibilities there: 2.5 measures of delay at measure 10.5, and 1.5 measures of delay at measure 12. Since you have two entries at .5 distances, they mesh back up to be at the beginning of the measure for the third entrance.

Next modulation is to the relative major, and only the subject-above-countersubject orientation works properly here: The inversion produces an attacked major second - which was an augmented second= minor third in the minor - and I decided I didn't really like that either. After that statement I plan an episode over the dominant pedal on the low E string, and I have a very cool harmonized version of the subject in mind for that.

Then at 20 we're back to the tonic minor for the closest stretto of .5 measure of delay, and then the hyper-stretto between the subject and its rhythmically augmented form. The pedal episode harmonized version will also be an augmented form to set this up better.

I really like where this is going, and like i said, this could lead to another series of solo guitar pieces. I love composing series... I just hope they are not all in A minor and C. lol


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