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Contestants were asked to create a piece around the theme of Fireworks. 11 members signed up and the contest begins NOW! Deadline to vote is July 31st at 5 pm EST. Thanks to all who signed up and good luck! Members may vote here:

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Very true.  Do you have a better suggestion how we can capture the "essence" of a fugue while allowing more modern interpretations of the rules?

Basically, the idea behind this contest is to challenge ourselves to write something that's pretty difficult to write, to "flex our compositional muscles" so to speak, even if we don't normally write in such a style.  It's not supposed to be limiting in the sense of entries being disqualified on some technicality of what a fugue is/isn't. Rather, it's supposed to give us a challenge to see what's the most difficult (in the sense of difficulty of writing, not difficulty to perform) piece we can write.  The idea of a fugue came up only because it has a well-known reputation of being very difficult to write, due to its stringent requirements.  If there is another form / style that's equally (or more) difficult to write, yet allows a wider range of styles than a fugue, I'm open to consider it.

Thank you very much, Mariza! Glad you enjoyed it!

Mariza Costa-Cabral said:


I listened to your Fruehling piece and enjoyed it very much. I am glad to meet you as a composer.

I don't know the answer to your question as to whether that piece would have qualified to enter a polyphony contest of the type Theo had in mind.

Theo, what do you think?

I would rather not help decide this too much, simply because my music knowledge is too limited.


A useful working definition of a fugue is:

fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and recurs frequently in the course of the composition.

Whereas, as several people have noted, there are strict rules governing what constitutes a strict fugue, I think for the suggested contest the above definition is sufficiently loose to allow us all a bit of freedom without getting bogged down in the detail....does anyone object to this or, dare I say it, is there a sufficient number of composers who agree with it for us actually to get the contest off the ground?

Personally, I got so upbeat about the idea when it was first mooted that I got down to work immediately and have managed to produce (what I'm told by those I've played it to) a very musical and dramatic offering that includes the above elements and a good bit of 'mirror canon' also. Great fun to do although a bit of a brain bender.

It's been suggested that Gav might want to include this as the category for the forthcoming Winter Contest - I will mail him directly to see what he thinks. As ever, any other comments will be most welcome.

I second Stephen's definition. Let's get this off the ground.

Let's try it that way, Stephen!

As promised I have communicated with Gav and he has responded thus:

Right now, I am focusing on a music project and want to use what little time I have for that. It’s a collaboration with another member of the forum, and I am sure we will post it when complete. Perhaps after that there will be time for another contest. I did see the fugue comments and like the idea.

So, unless somebody else is willing to take on the mantle of competitions secretary (one which Gav has handled magnificently to date and which, I gather, he'd happily relinquish), we are in his hands with regard to the date of the next contest.

Any thoughts, anyone?

If Gav will be ready to run the next contest sometime by Winter, I don't see a problem waiting. Unless people here are simply dying to get started on fugue (or fugue-like) writing?


As Stephen noted, I am busy right now with another project. if anyone wants tips from me about running a contest, I would be happy to share. I have learned over years of running these contests some things which I think have helped the contests to be more successful with each incarnation (the last two contests got the most votes of any contests I have run, which is my measure of success). Nothing I do in the contests is technically difficult, anyone could do it. The voting software I use is free and easy to use. I will even offer an initial thought to a prospective contest-runner on the current fugue idea: "fugue-like" is more likely to draw entrants than "fugue." Many composers on this site I suspect are not aware of how to write an actual fugue (example: me, and I think Mariza made a similar comment earlier on this thread). But the idea of writing a piece with multiple melody lines that interact with each other I think would appeal to any composer. If anyone is interested to run the "fugue/or fugue-like" contest, PM me please, some "magician's secrets" should not be revealed to the public -

Best to you all -


In preparation of the Fugue's Contest I tried to write one:
Thanks for listening!
Comments are much appreciated.


Well done, I like this a lot...maybe you could extend it to become a 'long' fugue instead. The staccato style suits the mood very well indeed. I'd appreciate a sight of the score if you can manage it.

As soon as I heard of the fugue-like idea as a competition piece I was 'inspired' to compose the following for choir and organ...even if I say so myself I quite like the end result - what say you?
Rudi [Rudolf Schmitt] said:

In preparation of the Fugue's Contest I tried to write one:
Thanks for listening!
Comments are much appreciated.

Stephen, I really would like to have a listen! But where's the link?

The score has still to be reworked (especially the accidentals). 

Rudi, It seems the files were too big to send at the same's the score in PDF. I'll send the MP3 in the next post.

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