Friday, December 25, 2015

Fugal Science, Volume 1, Number 2: Three-Voice Fugue v1.0

As I continue to rush through these pieces, I'm finding some minor errors, which is typical for me. But there is a goal in my barging into these two collections, as I'm anxious to form a more perfect big-picture of the series, by getting all of the initial versions finished. At that point, I'll be able to more properly edit the constituent pieces to their perfect versions, and then the collections will be completed.

Today's piece has an earlier date range in the copyright notice, as you can see. The first unsuccessful version of this one was clear back in January of 2012, basically four years ago. I had no idea then, but I was very close to the correct solution, which was to have three-voices continuously. The form and content were so close, all I had to do was rewrite the two-part sections in three voices, rearrange which instruments got what in the thematic entrances, and I was done. Every measure still has the same content, just rearranged.

Here is the audio: Three-Part Fugue in G Minor

AIFF file, so you'll need to have QuickTime activated in your browser, and opening in another tab will allow you to listen and follow the score.

This one is in G minor instead of A minor, as the rest of them have been so far, as I had made that decision by 2013, which is the last time I worked on it. Also, it is numbered four, instead of two, because I had a more elaborate scheme in mind back then. As is almost always the case, simpler is better.

The exposition is untouched from the 2012 version, as I knew even back then that I had that much right. The answer is tonal here, as you can see, and the counter-answer is a new element after the two-part solo guitar version. Then, the countersubject in the lead at eleven is the same as the guitar version, only with a diminished-scale lick added. With the faster dotted rhythms in measure six, the exposition flagged with only quarter notes in twelve.

At sixteen is the first episode/interlude - it serves both functions - and this is where I went down to two voices previously. Now it is exactly like the corresponding episode in the upcoming string quartet.

The first version of the episode/interlude is non-modulatory, and at twenty-two the first middle entries start with a four-measure delay/one measure of overlap stretto that is also a perfect dovetail between the subject and countersubject one. Countersubject two just fills in the harmonies, and only a minor adjustment was necessary to make it work with the stretto.

The second episode then starts at thirty-one.

This episode is only five measures, versus the previous six, and this time we modulate to the dominant. The middle entries on this level are a stretto of three measures of delay/two measures of overlap. This is just like the organizational plan of the guitar version, so far. Likewise, the combination of episode and subject at forty-four is from the guitar version, but here with three parts it reveals how closely related the subject and episode are. It still modulates to the relative major at the end.

The major middle entries are the expected closer stretto of two measures of delay/three measures of overlap, but now filled in with a third voice. Note that the outer voices are getting all of the thematic materials, with the viola only performing accompaniment. Not sure if this will stand the test of time, but we'll see.

The episodes have been six measures, five measures, and five measures so far, but the episode at fifty-six is only four measures, and it modulates to the subdominant, where we get a three-part version of the dovetail stretto that remodulates back to the tonic.

After the remodulation we get the final version of the episode at sixty-nine, now with a full tonic subject statement in the bass, and extended by a resistance arrival into a nine measure interlude to set up the final three-voice canonic stretto, which begins at seventy-eight. The combination of episode and subject does not appear in the upcoming string quartet version, by the way, as I didn't discover that possibility until I composed the earlier versions of this piece.

After the canonic stretto concludes, we get the coda at eighty-seven, and it's the expected hyper-stretto that has the subject and augmented subject starting simultaneously, but with the third voice, the effect of the minor ninth in eighty-eight is much less jarring. Something gained and something lost, in my estimation. The canonic stretto and hyper-stretto are also unchanged from 2012.

Now I'm free to do a revision of the string quartet arrangement, which I've been anxious to get to for a while now.

Merry Christmas!

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