The 30 Days Project: Day 25

The Art of Fugue, Man!

Okay, so I finally took the dare. McDoc has been asking for a fugue pretty much since the project started. I liked the idea, but a fugue in one day? That’s a tall order. It’s kind of like doing an acrostic multiplied by a crossword puzzle, divided by a sestina. In Latin.

What convinced me was a suggestion McDoc had for a theme to co-opt. But I won’t give it away yet — you have to listen first. 😉

Brief rundown on what a fugue is, anyway. It’s a form of imitation (like a round — think: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”) that follows particular, strict rules. It starts with a short melody, called a subject, that is played in different voices (or instruments) at two different transpositions, a fifth apart — in other words, if it starts on C the first time, it’ll start on G the second time. There can be anywhere from 3 to 6 voices; 4 is typical. I’ve used 3 here to make things simpler. After all the voices have played the subject, other interesting things start to happen, like episodes, where the subject is cut up into even smaller bits and the music cycles through different keys, and stretti, where repetitions of the subject get piled on top of each other fast and furiously. I did one of each of those. Then there’s usually a big coda at the end.

I did a couple of things that you aren’t really supposed to do in a fugue, like have 2 instruments play part of the subject at the same time. I think it works with the style of the music — see what you think!

The MIDI instruments I used are soprano sax, tenor sax and baritone sax. Those choices relate to the source of my subject as well.

Does this melody sound at all familiar?

Click play to listen:

Here’s your mystery melody answer — history and sound file. 🙂

Thanks for listening!


3 Responses

  1. Each night a little present to open. It’s like Hanukkah, times 4!

    This was a lot of fun to listen to and very image-evocative:

    Go virgomusic!

  2. Remembering your partiality to Looney Toons, expecially Bugs Bunny and Road Runner, I’m hearing a familiar-sounding theme… but this is a much more sophisticated version!

    Love it!


  3. Hey! I was right!


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