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Hi All, 

I found this the other day and thought I'd post it for those who haven't seen it.

It's an archive of theory books that can be downloaded for free.

Here's the site...

There is an excellent filter and search engine in the music category. I found a few of my favourite text books easily enough including this for all you fugue geeks.....

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You've put a smile on my face, knowing that you are enjoying Mr Oldroyd - I'm pleased to have put you in touch with him. I will definitely have to re-read it now to keep up to speed with you. It was a classic case of learn it and forget it with me...

You are right in that an answer could be moulded from the limited set a subject is derived from. An answer in this context would probably distort the theme due to the limitation of the set (note choices) and subject and answer would have to be carefully worked out to test viability - although I suspect the best way to go about that would be to write a subject, find an answer whose shape corresponds approximately but has the most notes in common with the subject (if one is going for a "tonal" procedure - or should we call it a Set answer?) and then add any notes outside of the subjects pitch set (or rather just the notes it uses) one needs to mould the answers shape close enough to be satisfactory. Then combine all notes used by subject and answer into a set and from there work out your c/s using those notes....well at least it makes sense in my head.....:-0

It makes sense to me too. But then I have never successfully completed an atonal piece. :-D  (Even though I do have some pretty wild ideas in sketch, including sketches of a theme that's completely made of glissandos - the whole piece is made of glissandos, in fact, with nary a steady tone. A "true atonal"! :-D (Yes I know that's not what "atonal" means, but it's an irresistable label.) And now that I think of it... perhaps fugal treatment might just be the ticket? :-D)

Another way to generalize the tonal answer might be to completely dispense with manipulating individual pitches altogether, and think of it from a "mood" perspective, with some chosen definition of "mood" specific to the piece.  Perhaps the subject can be some kind of general melodic contour, and  "tonal answer" (mood answer?) might be the same contour suitably distorted to represent a different mood?

Recently I was playing around with writing a quartertone piece, and now I'm wondering if quartertone distortion of a fugue subject might be yet another way of generalising the idea of a tonal answer.

This is the kind of analysis / exploration I enjoy -- strip away the externalities and superficial guises of fixed formulas like I-V subject/answer schemes, or specific rules about altering this pitch or that, and look at the essence of things from a motivational / underlying principle POV.  I find that often, once you look past the letter of fussy rules and prescribed procedures you're left with general principles that can be applied in brand new ways you wouldn't have thought of before.  It's a kind of like seeing the forest rather than individual trees, to use a tired analogy.

Oh, an as a kind of tangent, has anybody else noticed that in Schoenberg's strict serialism, one can see a generalized form of fugue in action?  Your tone row is your "fugue subject", and its various transformations are your "fugue devices", and each time you use a tone row that's an "entry".  Well, OK, perhaps strict serialism is more like a canon (no "counterpoint" outside of the "subject"), whereas freer forms of serialism could be considered as fugue-like (tone row "entries" interspersed with "free counterpoint" and "episodes").

I hope you are keeping your fugue fever away from the newborn...
I sort of see your point with serialism, but it offers so much more than linear thought, although admittedly one of its strengths is in line.
I can only imagine quarter tone manipulation of a subject in a predominantly atonal/ contemporary field, otherwise it would sound, well, out of tune, are you dabbling in new territory? How would you organise the quarter tones, on specific notes, or perhaps as a separate preordained sequence that runs its course irrespective of the notes- like another level of counterpoint. Or, create a new scale that incorporates them. There are many ways to organise with serial techniques. Perhaps though, you could simply employ a different tuning to equal temperament.
It's interesting to realise that although one can strip away rules in a tonal context and still be intelligable, I feel that atonal music does need a more rigorous orthodoxy if only for the composers' sanity. Others may well disagree with this, but for me, I need to be tied to a solid platform to spring off when jumping into an unbounded aural space.
There endeth the ramble.....

Of course, serialism is much more than just a generalized version of fugue. I just thought it was interesting to see how it subsumes fugal ideas, among other things.

I was dabbling in a quartertone composition that is sortof like a distorted extension of traditional harmony, i.e., where the "out-of-tune" sound is deliberate. Unrelated to serial techniques, though.  I haven't really delved deep enough to be able to come up with some underpinning system of organization just yet -- just "playing it by ear" right now.

I haven't experimented with atonal music at all, so I don't have much to say there.

Oh No...not more books!

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