Music Composers Unite!
Another finished fugue - I think I'm starting to improve after two years of writing them
The 3 part form seems to be the norm for me - triple fugue (as in 3 subjects all exposed individually) in the slow - fast - slow format. I like the space that it gives and its nice to have cadences really hang in the air.
Hey Tom, took a couple of listens to your new fugue today. I liked the overall structure of a slow and solemn opening leading to a lively 2nd section. I did find some parts in the first section a bit unconvincing, like the awkward rhythm at the end of the subject. I felt like it would have helped with the overall flow if you had avoided such "skipping" rhythms at the end of the subject. Generally I'd save the odd rhythms nearer the beginning of the subject, where it helps to catch attention and give the subject a unique character, but at the end of the subject I'd want something easier to blend into the background counterpoint.
The lively second subject, though, was beautiful. But the second section is kinda short... I wish you'd develop your subjects a little more, make it more satisfying to listen to. I listened to a whole bunch of your fugues yesterday on soundcloud, kinda as background music while working on an urgent issue at work, and noticed that for the most part, you seem to write fugue subjects that are pretty good, but then there's little subsequent development. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but the general trend with your fugues seem to be quite short, and many of them felt like they deserved more treatment than you gave them. If this isn't your goal, I understand, but it does leave me wishing to hear more out of the fugue subjects you've chosen.
Cheers HST, I agree I have a lot of work to do on developing my subjects, I never really run them through exhaustive manipulations and combinations and usually peter out after a minute or so. I'm trying to work on this and hopefully each fugue I get better at extending the material. I think part of my problem is I just love cadences and letting them hang in the air and rit into the I or V chord (depending on perfect or plagal). After a cadence I usually have the inclination to start with a fresh subject - and this seems to be the MO for most of my fugues, almost unconsciously...
I started another fugue for organ a few days ago so I'll try to do better this time!
Here's an idea for you: during one of your cadences, sneak a subject entry into the mix. I forget the exact terminology, I think it's called a "hidden entry" or something like that. Of course, this only works with certain kinds of subjects -- the starting notes have to fit into the cadence. And preferably you'd have multiple notes fitting between the cadence chords so that the subject is recognizable. The effect is pretty neat; you have the sense of closure for the cadence, but the subject that's only just started playing will "want" to continue, so it lets you segue into something new quite naturally.