Music Composers Unite!
Greetings all, just a short triple fugue - 3 expositions - first is the subject in its original form, second is an inversion, 3rd is a retrograde. The subject is almost unrecognizable in retrograde - and was a real challenge to write counterpoint for!
Its the top-most piece here:
There was a recent thread about fugues where someone asked "why write a fugue?" My answer is because I want to, and I continue to want to write better fugues. Like Gregorio X said, they are addictive!
As for the audience for fugues: that is not really my concern. There are many people who enjoy fugues, perhaps many who don't know that they enjoy fugues, and the majority of people who don't even know what a fugue is. 90% of people that I tell I'm 'writing a fugue' will ask "What is a fugue?"
They do still have their place in modern composition, as much as some people would like them to die out, people still use them. There was a volume of organ fugues written and recorded in my country not too long ago, and Ferneyhough supposedly used a strict canon in one of his pieces (although that's not exactly a fugue...)
While Bach may have predominantly composed in the tonic subject + dominant answer model, earlier fugues (cf. Pachelbel) featured answers in all kinds of keys outside of the dominant. Tonic + tonic is a common one, there's tonic + subdominant, tonic + relative minor, even dominant + tonic (reverse of the common scheme). I think it's a false premise that fugues must always begin in the tonic and have an answer in the dominant. Perhaps that was the common thing to do, but it's by no means exclusive.
I myself wrote a fugue featuring an answer at a minor 3rd above the subject.
I think the essence of the opening entries is contrast and complement, rather than what has come to be regarded as a fixed, prescribed formula of I + V. In another thread, Mike pointed out a book that stated that many of the "exceptions" in Bach's fugues w.r.t. tonal answers are in fact completely consistent with an earlier model of the answer being in the plagal register (rather than the dominant key). I see the two models in Bach's time as examples of contrast (real answer in dominant key) and complement (tonal answer that starts in the tonic / plagal register in the same key). Viewed this way, the concept is extendible far beyond the confines of the traditional tonality with prescribed tonic + dominant subject-answer structure.
Greg-o . si si senor, I hadn't heard of Chopin's fugue, I will check it out.
One of the things I noticed after first listening to the Nocturnes of John Field
was an obvious connection to his efforts, by Chopin, but the idea that Chopin
took the idea or concept and totally 'ran with it', giving the form
a new perspective and life. Not that Field was flat, but Chopin certainly breathed
a bit more life into his. RS
gregorio X said:
Chopin did write one fugue.. His etudes are not just mere studies of technique development, which they methodically are, but also passionate music. Fugues can be quite flat as well, unless the composer can breathe music into them.