Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grand Fugue 0.0 Beta

Unexpectedly, I'm suddenly composing a monster fugue.

This is the same subject I came up with in '93 that ended up in the 1994 four-voice fugue that is now the Andante in Fuga Electronica. It's five measures long, and I noticed way back then that it could make a five-part canon at the octave, but I completely forgot about that. The problem with the four-part canon, as I wrote it back then, is that I used la in the sixth measure of the canon after sol at the end of the first subject statement, which would not work contra le in the fifth subject entry. By simply going from sol to do instead of la, this clash is easily avoided, and the five-voice version of the canon can then be worked out. I have no idea why this slipped my mind for twenty-one years!

Here's the four-part canon.

You can see where, at the end of the subject, the canon continues in all voices by sol proceeding to la, and how - while that is very beautiful - it precludes the possibility of five parts. The five-voice version cannot continue canonically in all voices, but it ends more directly, so both canons are eleven measures in length. I have sketched out the exposition already, and it is twenty-two measures long (Only the initial subject is stated alone, while the following answers and subjects overlap in stretto at four measures of delay), so having the canon - which is the recapitulation - half the length of the exposition, is a fantastic element of balance. I'm also betting I'm the first composer to make a five-measure subject/answer combination fit into twenty-two measures, instead of the normal twenty-five.

Here's the five-part canon.

Now we have all the octaves of the orchestra involved, just as in the Ricercare that is the Adagio of Fuga Electronica. Those two pieces, both with five measure subjects, will be the finales of another set - perhaps my final summations - which will be called Fugal Science. Bach's idea was to create lots of four-voice fugues on the same subject for Art of Fugue, while my idea is to create the best possible fugues in two, three, four, and five voices on the same subjects. More on this later, obviously!

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