Music Composers Unite!
I'm several months late, but this piece was intended to have been an entry to the past "Emotions" contest by Gav. It's subtitled "Exuberance" for its boundless optimism. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
There are probably many things that need to be improved. So comment away!
P. S., I hope Gregorio will enjoy the little secrets (or not-so-secrets) I put in here. ;-)
Edit 2017-08-03: prettied up the score a little, fixed a few voicing issues.
Edit 2017-09-06: fixed up several passages based on Gregorio's feedback -- thanks!! Dialed back tempo a bit for clearer melody lines. Re-rendered .mp3 with a Kawai soundfont, just to add a little character.
of course, i know changing a note could be disrupting an intended melodic line, but i think in the places mentioned, the theme needn't be 'threatened' ..
To be frank, I couldn't tell you if those 2 beats in m.11 qualifies as a "codetta". My feeling is that they are probably not, because they don't really serve the function of rounding out the exposition. When I wrote m.11, my feeling was that the exposition has already ended by the end of beat 2, and we're on to new territory in beat 3, esp. since it's in a new key, A major. The subject is actually 14 beats long, which is not divisible by 4, so throughout the fugue the boundaries of different sections are somewhat fluid w.r.t. the bar lines. I wasn't worried about this at all, because Bach did the same.
As for the retrogrades and inverses, I confess I also don't immediately pick them up, and in fact in the earliest drafts of this fugue I didn't even consider using them. It was only while writing episode 1 (and struggling quite a lot as to where it should go -- I threw away quite many sketches of it) that I decided to take a break to study the permutations of the subject to see if I can produce potentially useful material for development. And it was actually while trying to write episode 2 that I decided to explore permutations of the countersubject too. If I hadn't specifically studied these permutations, I probably wouldn't have recognized them either. :-)
But studying them revealed some interesting features of the subject that I hadn't realized earlier, such as the fact that the retrograde inverse of the subject shares the same first 3 notes as the subject, which made for a nice effect in m.27 where it sounded as if the subject was entering again, but it "diverts" into something else... but which eventually turns out to be the subject after all, just in a different shape from what's expected. :-P
Thanks so much for taking the time to play through this piece yourself! That is very encouraging for me to continue composing. :-) And thanks even more for putting some serious thought into various issues that you discovered.
As for m.8, I can't believe I missed the implicit parallel 5th. :-( I'm not against actually using parallel 5ths intentionally, but it was not intentional here, and that's bad. Still trying to think what's the best way to fix it, though. I was hoping the "openness" of the RH chords here would be alleviated by the low 3rds in the bass line, but I can see how that's still somewhat unstable, since we'd have the E chord in 1st inversion for the 1st 2 beats.
Re: m.13: haha, your ears are pretty sharp to catch this one. :-P Truth is, I'm not sure how to avoid this while still keeping the imitation between the voices and going in the direction I want it to go. Maybe I could use your help sometime when you're on live chat and we could try sorting this out. This bar actually gave me a lot of trouble, and I was originally intending beat 1 to be a D major chord throughout, but couldn't find a good solution that still allowed the imitation of the bass line by the top 2 voices.
m.47: good catch! I'll try to see if I can sneak a G# into the alto voice on beat 2 somehow. I think this is one of the places where I need to review the counterpoint carefully to see if it needs tweaking. Did that for the most part but some passages I still haven't revisited yet, and this is one of them.
Another place I was thinking of revising was the bass line in m.52, which seems like it wants to go a bit higher in order to avoid sounding too hollow due to the gap with the top 2 voices which are going up into high register. And also the 8th note chords in mm.57-64, which I wrote rather quickly because of the drive to reach the end, but needs more careful review. I've already fixed a few things in there but probably there are still things to be fixed.
Yes, HS what about - in m 13, tenor : change to E on the & of 1. And D on beat 2.
In the alto: change to F# on beat 2. This will keep the lines' directions going the same way- (mostly). Also, i think it works quite niece harmonically.
I'll be back after checking m 52, and 57- 64.
But i was going to mention m 52, - the & of 1 going to 2 sounds awkward - but haven't yet sought how to fix…
I'll be back. :)
here is a modification to 51, 52, into 53..
( i brought up the bass -- as you mentioned, and added some connecting tissue - and dropped the last beat in m 52 down an octave, and gave it to the alto, and had the alto played in the soprano..(w/ little trill added for fun:)
see what you think.. there is a bit more passage work - w/ slight harmonic change at 1st beat of measure 52.
Thanks for taking the time to work with this. I tried your version of m.13 but the bass line didn't seem to fit very well with the surrounding context. (Could just be bias from hearing the original version too many times, :-P but we'll see.) I did discover, in the process of experimenting with variations of your proposed m.13, that there was a parallel 5th in the original version that was probably another cause of your unease in addition to the doubled tritone. Anyway, eventually I conceded to revise the last note in m.12 in the alto to g# instead of g natural, followed by a-b-a-a-f# in the 1st 2 beats of m.13. I left the bass line untouched because I'm a bit (too?) attached to its current incarnation. But we'll see if that remains. :-P
I'm out of time, I'll take a look at your version of mm.51-53 tomorrow, and post a revised score.
@Gregorio: sorry for taking so long to get back on this. I liked what you did with mm.51-53, but it unfortunately dropped 3 notes from the end of the CS retrograde inversion in the soprano. This is the part where you mentioned before that it was hitting D# a little too much. In retrospect I agree; I should have tried entering in a different mode so that it wouldn't keep hitting that 3rd degree so much. At the very least I could have entered in a lower octave so that it didn't go so high up at the end. However, I see no way to pull this off without basically rewriting everything from mm.48 to the end, so sadly I'll have to chalk this up to the "lessons for the future" category. Really appreciate you putting your efforts into trying to fix up mm.51-53, though!
In any case, I did give mm.48-52 another once-over, tweaked a few notes (sadly nothing big, the passage still sounds more-or-less the same, just improved the voice leading and chord voicing a bit), also added some articulations to indicate the rhythmic tension I had intended here that may not have been obvious to a performer in the previous version of the score. Basically, in m.49 the "downbeat" is supposed to be delayed to beat 2, then in mm.50-52 the LH/RH have disparate "downbeats", giving a staggered rhythm until the downbeat of m.53.
Updated score + .mp3 (with the Kawai patch) uploaded to the top of this discussion. Included are changes to mm.48-52 described above, as well as m.8, m.13, mm.46-48, and m.52. Also, dialed back the tempo a little to 110 bpm instead of 115 bpm. Retains most of the exuberance but the lines are slightly clearer, I think. Let me know what you think. :-)
HI HS. Yes, i do think it works better w/ your revisions. Changing the arc of the bass in m51 1st 2 beats, in stead of parallel mov't… and lifting the bass up in m52… It all goes by so fast… I could still hear it a few ticks slower.. (even more :0