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Continuing in this quarter's fugue fever, here's another attempt at fugue from l'il ole me.

My last fugue elicited a comment that if I was going to break conventions, it should be up front. While I'm not sure I'm successful in that respect in this present fugue, that comment did inspire its subject, which (to my ears) heavily implies a tritone. As such, I used a lot of tritone and diminished 7th leaps in the voice leading here. I'm pretty sure it breaks some kind of rule somewhere, but it seemed like the right thing to do.

I also (tried to) indicate that I'm not after reproducing a Bach fugue, which seems a bit pointless since I'd never be able to do it as well as Bach himself anyway, in spite of my middle initial being S and my last name being 4 letters.  So while this time it just so happens that I lapsed into the "traditional" I-V-I-V exposition, I'm pretty sure the rest of the fugue has a structure that departs from tradition in some way. It seems to be a borderline sonata form, but not quite. Is it a fugue-sonata? A sonata-fugue? A fugal sonata? A sonatal fugue (is that even a word)? Or a mule hybrid of both that fails to be either? You be the judge. :-P

In any case, I decided to mostly follow my own sense of harmonic progression, which definitely doesn't follow what Bach would do, especially in the middle section. I got myself into trouble by starting in C# minor, which landed me in B# minor in the middle section (briefly, anyway), but I had originally wanted to transpose the piece to D minor, but my brain absolutely refuses to think of the subject in D minor. So I have stuck with it, warts and all.  Anyway, I suspect my sense of harmony is closer to Beethoven in flavor than Bach, though I'm sure it doesn't really follow Beethoven fully either.  So I guess I'll just have to settle with being my own voice. :-D

Edit 2016-12-12: Updated mp3 and score with new version, revised based on the feedback and comments I've received. Thanks, all who commented!

Edit 2016-12-19: Updated mp3 and score with latest version. This is probably the final version, as I'm reasonably satisfied with this piece. Any flaws or issues will be left as lessons for the future. Thanks to everyone who commented (even those who disagreed ;-)), esp. to Gregorio for helpful, concrete suggestions.

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You forget to mention that your last name also ends with an 'h'... LOL
So... listening to it. Surprise me.
Nice opening. But surprising intervals, nice. YOu meantioned that 7th leaps. I like it, nice choice.
Well... I am not a fugue-specialist ( I don't consider myself a specialist anyway ) but I should say it's nicely done. If sounds fuguish to me. :-)
What suprises me and what I like, is the moments you got a single voice going. I hear the harmony is very nice, imho, and the dissonants are well placed.
If there is anything to critisize from my side, it would be the slow tempo... Why did you choose this tempo, and not a bit faster? NOt that I don't like it, it's more that I expected the tempo to be a lot quicker.
For the rest: I like it, nice work.

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edit:

I think HS would see this as a challenge... Next project: the never-ending- fugue...

I'm looking forward to it.

Nikola said:

Nice fugue. But my problem with fugues is that they sound like they could never end, so they simply go... and go... and go.... and go...

Is there a need to stop a fugue ever? I don't think so! I'm expecting a fugue one day that will never end!

HS, what, no trills... those subtle frills that might add some thrills and

 break up the notated equation. Just a thought, but that's all that I've gought. :>/

Thanks!

In fact, before I wrote the last section (starting from m.22), I was playing the first 21 bars in a loop. You could potentially just repeat that forever. :-D

Nikola said:

Nice fugue. But my problem with fugues is that they sound like they could never end, so they simply go... and go... and go.... and go...

Is there a need to stop a fugue ever? I don't think so! I'm expecting a fugue one day that will never end!

Erwin, it's too late, this fugue already has a never-ending section! :-D  You can just loop the first 21 bars forever. It works. :-P I had it on loop before I finished the last section, while I was walking, on the bus, etc..

As for the tempo, I deliberately chose it to be slow, for the mood. In fact, I'm tempted to make it slower. :-P The first 3 notes of the subject is supposed to be quite emphasized, but at a fast tempo that could be easily lost, especially with a human performer because it's quite tricky to hit the notes in some parts.  I'm glad you like the parts where the texture thins out. Those are actually my favorite passages in this fugue too.  Well, besides the crazy overlapping strettos in the middle. :-P (But I like those only because of the sheer amount of work it took to make it all work... musically speaking I think the passages marked "delicate" are the best in this fugue.)

Roger, I enjoy the thrill of a trill too, it's a nice frill when you need to fill the piece with filling that's thrilling, even if it may cost a good fill of shillings, thereby instilling fear into the audience who'd be billing you for so much trilling (while making a killing!) -- if you are willing.

But I think a trill would utterly ruin the mood in this fugue, so I'll have to pass. :-D  I did actually write a trill in my previous fugue, though. Does that count? :-P

HS, yuck yuck,   you're a good sport.

Maybe that's what I found chilling... the mood of the piece.

Roger, you have me beat there. ;-)

The mood was intended to be sombre. Does that make it good? Or is that moot?

HS - very interesting.  I've listened twice. First w/o score, then with.  Lots of modulation gives it (to me) a sense of adventure, in almost a searching way.. Interesting that your 'repose'  section  is the climbing sequence, and as part of the counterpoint,  the first 3 notes of the subject embedded…  

The transition of the repeated (solo) A's in the tenor, i found an unexpected and ominous segue. But then that leads - on the same note (and register) to the alto taking it, and the exact  repeat of the first 5 bars.. (which did hit me on first listening).  I was expecting some kind of dramatic and novel build, as it seemed so perfectly set up. It felt like a bit of a let down.  Maybe changing the order of entrance or register?  Also, (i may be wrong, but on first look) i felt that the stretti were mostly 2 voices.. i was wondering if more could apply by earlier entrances - for a finish..

I liked it. I have to listen more to get to know it better.

btw, i thought it looked really good on paper as we'll, and also ergonomic. 

Thanks for posting!  

ps… actually now i see in bars 16 and 17 you have 3 or more entrances going in stretti. apologies :)

it is also interesting that you employed the first 3 notes of the subject, and inversion  - as kind of 'voice faking a stretto' (or pretending to take part in) -  like in bars 4 - 6.  I like that.. 

also i notice that bar 25 is the same as 4..  and b26 much the same as 5.  i find this strange.. ?

Hi Gregorio, thanks for taking the time to listen and comment.

I never realized that connection of the 'repose' section and the first 3 notes of the subject. :-) Coincidence? Or maybe just subconscious connection?

About the transition in m.21, you might find it interesting to know that originally I didn't write the 4 repeated notes, but just held the A major chord over fermata. Later on, though, I felt that the transition was too coarse that way, so I wrote those 4 notes instead (they had already occurred to me earlier but I initially dismissed them as being too cliche - being copied from my prelude in F for orchestra, which in turn was copied from somewhere else, Beethoven, IIRC).

As for the repeat of the first 5 bars... I admit I got lazy and simply copied the notes over and then later on altered some of them for the transition to the relative major in the 'repose' section.  Perhaps I should look into rewriting these 5 bars with a different order of entrance with some new counterpoint for added interest.

Yes. I would say those 5 bars, that that particular spot offer a great opportunity - for something dramatic growing out of those pensive A's.  I think that's a prime spot 'to show your stuff'.. (I didn't find those repeated A's cliche at all.  in the context i felt it very effective - and unexpected).  

Well, I did intend for those A's to turn into the return of the subject. It's a deliberate sudden transition that emphasizes the tritonic quality of the D#.  But probably it shouldn't just be a verbatim repeat of the exposition; there should at least be some added level of interest there somewhere.

As for the stretti, I really only looked at the 2-voice case, in 1/2 beat increments backwards from 3 1/2 beats. The middle section is basically a sequence of strettos in decreasing displacements (increasing horizontal density), and it so happened that when I got to down to the 2 beats and 1 1/2 beat displacements the entries from the longer displacements were still going on, so I ended up with some 3-voice stretti. Fortunately there were enough possibilities to choose from that I could find a combination where no clashes occur between the 3 voices.

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