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#1307172 - 11/17/09 11:59 AM How close is this to fugue form?
xytor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 10
Hi, I'm a beginner and want to dabble in fugues a bit. I wrote something to start, but I'm not really sure if what I wrote is even remotely a fugue:
http://www.box.net/shared/nj7jyuuc95

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#1307231 - 11/17/09 01:33 PM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: xytor]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Well, it certainly starts off like one, but where's the rest? smile

I think in a strict, baroque fugue I would have expected to hear three complete entries of the subject before any episodes. I think (but I'm not certain) that your subject in the bass voice breaks off half-way through. I don't think this was something Bach or Handel would have done, although partial statements of the subject would be common enough after the initial statements.

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#1307237 - 11/17/09 01:47 PM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: kevinb]
xytor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 10
You're right, it's nowhere near finished but I wanted to know if I was starting off correctly. Thank you!

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#1307718 - 11/18/09 11:12 AM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: xytor]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: xytor
You're right, it's nowhere near finished but I wanted to know if I was starting off correctly. Thank you!


I'm not an expert, but as I understand it the key to writing fugue is to compose a good subject. The subject needs not only to be a distinctive melody, but it needs to be capable of being combined with either itself in different keys, or in inversion, or canon, or with a counter-subject derived from itself, or perhaps all of these. In many fugues, parts of the subject will be stated in different keys during the piece, after being stated (usually) in full in all the voices at the beginning. Typically the subject will then be stated one or more times at the conclusion.

So in practice more than half the time taken to write a short fugue will be in experimenting with the subject.

Good luck smile

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#1308303 - 11/19/09 07:41 AM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: kevinb]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
It'd be a lot easier to tell with the score. Any chance you could upload it?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1308494 - 11/19/09 12:44 PM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: Kreisler]
xytor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 10
Well, thanks to Kevin's advice, I have heavily modified it. Here is the updated beginning:
http://www.box.net/shared/nj7jyuuc95

Here is the score:
http://www.box.net/shared/arfjj6tt5p

Please tell me how closely this updated score is to fugue form.
Thanks!

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#1308748 - 11/19/09 07:30 PM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: xytor]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I can only think of two changes:

1) The title. Your fugue is in G Major, not e minor.

2) The 2nd entry of the subject (called the answer) should be in the dominant (D Major), not the tonic.

Change those two things and I think you're off to a great start!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1308841 - 11/19/09 10:04 PM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: Kreisler]
xytor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 10
Oops, you're right it is G major.
About the second entry of the subject, do you mean bar 4? Because it's the same as the subject in bar 1...

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#1309369 - 11/20/09 05:30 PM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: xytor]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I know - it shouldn't be the same. It should be transposed to D Major.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1309575 - 11/21/09 01:01 AM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: Kreisler]
xytor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 10
Oh, I understand now. After transposing bars 4,5 and 6 to D major, what happens to bar 7? Should it stay in D major or revert back to G major? For some reason, the transition sounds weird if bar 7 is G major.

Edit: I thought my question would mean more if I posted what I did with your suggestion:
http://www.box.net/shared/nj7jyuuc95
The score:
http://www.box.net/shared/arfjj6tt5p


Edited by xytor (11/21/09 01:12 AM)

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#1310270 - 11/22/09 09:11 AM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: xytor]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think the transition sounds odd because you're using very short phrases and don't have time to prepare the change of key. Typically you'd prepare the return to G Major by suggesting the dominant harmony. That's difficult to do with a three-measure subject in 2/4 time.

But for a typical fugue, your voices are now entering in the correct keys.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1310294 - 11/22/09 10:08 AM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: Kreisler]
xytor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 10
I see, thank you very much, you've been a big help!

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#1311427 - 11/24/09 09:40 AM Re: How close is this to fugue form? [Re: xytor]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2790
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Sounds like a nice exposition. The rhythm's a bit choppy, but that could be OK if you evolve it to not choppy. I think you might be better served by extending your subject one more bar. This theme could be easily inverted, so there's plenty you can do with it. Have fun with it and good luck.

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