Wild fugue

The recent discussion about modernizing fugues inspired me to write something completely outside of my usual comfort zone: a borderline atonal piece that uses cluster chords as part of the fugue subject and disregards any vertical intervals between voices. (It's not actually atonal, though; there are definitely consistent tonal centers throughout and some pitches are definitely more frequent than others; this is not serialism. But there's no diatonic harmony in the traditional sense.)  I probably also wrote something unplayable in some parts.  Can this really be called a fugue?  Let the discussion, criticisms, and flames flow! ;-)

EAR RATING WARNING: this is not a diatonic piece and contains cluster chords (lots of 'em). Your ears may bleed as a result. Listen at your own risk! (Though if you're OK with Khatchaturian this piece is probably peanuts for you.)

Audio [.mp3]

Score [.pdf]

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  •  Very interesting and fun.

    • Thanks for listening, Saul!  Glad it didn't make your ears bleed. ;-)


  •  Crikey, you'd have to be a pretty zippy pianist to play that - Earl WIld's, Liszt's or Billy Mayerl's fingers!

    Interesting though but the speed of execution blurs its fugacity - both fuginess and fleeting as the word properly means! I like the build up to the ending - presumably substitutes for a stretto, Bars 55 al fine. 

    Oh, hold on. What's that red stuff dripping from my ears?


  • I'm with Saul and Dane here H.S.; very interesting indeed!  Just curious though as to the extreme tempo and dynamics; and it sounds like some reverb as well, what does it sound like without all that?

    It's too short to cause bleeding I think :)

  • OK OK, so the tempo was probably unrealistically fast.  Here's a version dialed back to 150bpm, without reverb for better clarity of notes:

    [Audio .mp3 (slowed down to 150bpm, no reverb)]

    Is this more playable? :-P

    (The ear rating may have worsened, though, since the dissonance now lasts longer per note, haha.)

    • It's a hit!


      • On second thoughts, 150bpm is too slow, it's lost a lot of the intended feeling of aggressive forward momentum. Here's a version at 160bpm, which is closer to what was intended but not so fast as to be impractical to play:

        [Audio .mp3 (160bpm)]

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