Music Composers Unite!
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.
HS, I always love a good challenge, but life is too short.
The idea of writing a fugue appeals to me about as
much as learning to juggle or tap dance. All seem a bit 'passe' to me.
As an exercise in honing ones musical skills, it may have constructive merit,
especially if you are young and talented.... I am neither :>}
Plod on, all you pugilistic fugue-ists, I'll be content to sit back with my ole
buddy Phil Harmonic and weigh the results from my Lazyboy. RS
HS said "@Gregorio: I played around with mm.22-27 today, based on your comment that the new m.23 seemed a bit redundant, and came up with a somewhat hackish solution: have the tenor enter 2 beats earlier, and basically shift everything up to m.27 two beats to the left. To connect it to the current m.28, I extended the 16th note descending run and tweaked the other voices somewhat to accomodate this change. What do you think of this new version?"
Yes, dropping former m23, and flipping the second entry to the tenor (instead of the soprano) does work (in a servicable way), … it doesn't sound like a hack.. my only momentary pause was the adding a 16th to the end rhythm of the subject - . I'm curious why you didn't have it end with the c# on beat 3 m23 - with the beginning of the tenor's entry. (could it be that you didn't want to cross voices?) …Though on second listening, i didn't feel a 'bump' there.
ps… if you were to have the c# on beat 3 m23 .. then proceed to the 2 eighths - D# and C# for b.4, to the downbeat m24 f double #.. which would also 'retrograde' the shape, staggered by one beat of the tenor's entry.. i think that would sound good :)
in essence, dropping G# and E in alto b.3 m23- and substituting a q.note c#.
Yes.. Thank you!
I like this very much. Thank you for your suggestion!
And, there is a somewhat hidden parallel 4th here: C# in b3 held against G# in the 2nd half of beat 3, to D# in beat 4 over A#. But as I said, it's hidden enough (by the crossing voices and staggered starts of the notes) that I can't hear the effect. So I'm just going to ignore this technicality. :-P
Anyway, I've also tweaked m.27 somewhat to make the LHS less boring. Here's the updated version that includes both changes.
HS. I mean totally constructively... The idea of somber doesn't work.
It comes across as someone learning to play the notes slowly.
Know what I mean? Addedly the 'modulations' don't equte to a
somber mood IMO. This piece seems richer at an accelerated pace,
like Mike suggested. This is simply what I hear. RS
Roger, I suspect you're judging it purely by the midi rendering, which is completely mechanical and dry (and boring!). The "somber" indication is supposed to indicate to the pianist how the piece should be performed, not what the notes themselves already describe (else the direction is completely redundant).
For a purely mechanical performance, I suppose Mike's 90 bpm could be made to work -- it would at least alleviate the dryness of the mechanical midi by tickling your ears with more notes per second. That, however, is not what I intended this piece to be. If performance with feeling is no longer viable in this day and age of McDonald's and one-click entertainment, then we've already lost and I might as well pack up and go home.
Hey HS, not trying to give you a hard time, just honest feedback.
person to person there will always be differences of interpretation
I agree 100% that much of a work does not always 'translate' via software.
I find it very frustrating at times.
I do try to incorporate the idea that midi and such are imperfect, and I do
try to listen for and hear potential. As in, when finally polished and performed,
what would this sound like. Sometimes just changing key can change the mood.
Sometimes the time of day/night can change the way we hear a piece.
I personally don't listen to nocturnes with my first cup of coffee in the morning.
I guess I'm just not getting the somber vibe from this. Still, I like the potential. RS
HS. Im glad it works!
I noticed the changes in m27 - eighth notes in the bass clef, from q.notes iirc.. It does change the feel. Before it sounded a bit austere there, now it seems more drive, 'keeping step'.. I like both ways.
Roger, I understand. It could be just a sign that my fugue-fu (or kung-fugue :-P) isn't good enough to pull off the effect I envisioned. But I'm reasonably happy with the piece in its present form, so that will just have to be a lesson for the future.
Gregorio: thanks, glad you like it!