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Topic: Double Fugue

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Canyon, Texas, USA
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    Double Fugue

    Wow! Congratulations on the Festival. I missed a few days and now have a lot to listen to. I decided to post an example of how I used the Garritan sounds once they were licensed to Finale.

    I had the good fortune of having a well equipped computer lab to teach various music theory classes. This double fugue was used for testing my 18th century counterpoint students' ability to analyze advanced fugal writing. After opening the Finale file they found the fugue on the top three staves and six blank staves below. The file sounded like this.

    https://www.box.com/s/490781cf077b202b4064

    Using Finale's Mass Mover/Selection tool they were instructed to drag and drop everything having to do with subject one into the appropriate brass instruments and everything having to do with subject two into the woodwind staves. They then used Finale's text tool to label the keys, cadences, exposition, episodes,subjects, answers, strettos, modifications to subjects (like inversions), etc. Now it would sound something like this. Not great orchestration but easy to hear the fugue subjects as they appear in different voices, keys and transformations.

    https://www.box.com/s/7104aaba6bc0a9d13e5e

    Many good students finished early so I had them orchestrate the fugue with different or additional instruments. They could add octave doublings, reinforce interesting melodic fragments, etc. all by simply dragging and dropping existing music into the given staves or staves they added to the score.

    Finally they would save their file to a class folder and print their work. At the next class we would listen to the most interesting scorings.

    This produced much better work from the students than the old way of just giving them a score to analyze and being able to work with realistic computer instruments had a lot to do with the success.

    Norman

  2. #2

    Re: Double Fugue

    Norman! This is a fantastic demonstration of counterpoint. I don't hear any forced passages or harmonies. It is just terrific. Just from listening to it, it sounds like you did not always use strict repetitions (intervals from one note to the next would be identical when you went to the new key.) In my mind, that is not an issue. I have written a few fugue's in my time and when I moved to the subdominant or dominant key to bring in a new voice, I would try to stay on a strict path, but I sometimes made minor adjustments for harmonic considerations. Anyway I going to download this gem for reference. Great post. Jay

  3. #3
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    Re: Double Fugue

    Thanks, Jay.

    I had the good fortune of having Kent Kennan as a counterpoint teacher. One of the things he always pointed out in the great music we studied was how the best composers of the 18th century did not let strictly following a rule hurt the aesthetic quality of a work. So yes, if need be, I will slightly alter a few pitches or rhythms. I think this should apply any style of music.

    Norman

  4. #4

    Re: Double Fugue

    This is fantastic, Norman! What a great post for seeing how Finale and Garritan instruments can be used in such a great way in an educational setting. I loved hearing the samples - I want to sign up for your class now!

    Randy

  5. #5
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: Double Fugue

    Norman;
    Very interesting! No doubt your program had great benefit for the students!
    Thanks for posting!

    sd cisco

  6. #6

    Re: Double Fugue

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    Just from listening to it, it sounds like you did not always use strict repetitions (intervals from one note to the next would be identical when you went to the new key.) In my mind, that is not an issue. I have written a few fugue's in my time and when I moved to the subdominant or dominant key to bring in a new voice, I would try to stay on a strict path, but I sometimes made minor adjustments for harmonic considerations.
    Isn't that what we do when bringing in the second statement of the fugue theme as a tonal answer? I see no reason why should we deny ourselves the same procedure when working out the rest of the fugue. And countersubjects, when one is present, are often derived from motives contained in the theme. If that is something that sounds 'right' and aesthetically pleasing, then I can easily see how it would also sound right to present the fugue theme in an altered form, but not only because that might be necessary due to harmonic or other considerations, but because doing so is, if not a requirement, at least one other way of developing the theme and finding things inherent in it. To stay within the style of the times when the fugue reached its highest state of development - or have we not yet reached that point? - it may be best to bring in an exact statement of the theme near the end of the fugue although I believe I have seen fugues by Bach where this does not occur. I know that there are numerous fugues by him where subsequent statements of the theme are incomplete. If we can state the theme in an incomplete fashion, surely we can state it in an altered one - the master has given us his permission!

  7. #7

    Re: Double Fugue

    Quote Originally Posted by jandjnelson View Post
    One of the things he always pointed out in the great music we studied was how the best composers of the 18th century did not let strictly following a rule hurt the aesthetic quality of a work.
    It seems to me that composers who were good enough to obtain the status of 'great' would have it ingrained into their very being that breaking a 'rule' is often the best way to improve the aesthetic quality of a work. But when you look at the printed score it's often hard to tell what they were thinking.

    In my weakly budding attempts at composing, I have already encountered situations where I have realized that taking a path that would best be called the 'strict' one would require me to alter the before and after parts of the section under consideration. Due to the constraints of time under which I operate, this would often not be possible (and I'm not talking days or weeks here, I'm talking months to complete even a 75 bar or so piece). So if my works are to have any pleasing qualities, especially ones related to the somewhat satisfactory feeling (in my case) of hearing one make it all he way through a beginning, and most importantly, an ending, then rule breaking is a strict requirement of mine.

    I would find it hard to believe that even the greats did not, on occasion, break rules due to their own time constraints, albeit constraints of, perhaps, mere hours, as they churned out masterpiece after piece. If so, then that is at least one small thing that I have in common with them!

  8. #8

    Re: Double Fugue

    Remarkably well built piece, Norman -- and an ingenious and effective teaching approach with this.

    Good thinking!

    Best,



    David
    -----
    David Sosnowski
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  9. #9
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    Re: Double Fugue

    Thanks to everyone for the kind and generous comments. We have had company lately and I have not had time to post.

    Norman

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Double Fugue

    Quote Originally Posted by jandjnelson View Post
    Wow! Congratulations on the Festival. I missed a few days and now have a lot to listen to. I decided to post an example of how I used the Garritan sounds once they were licensed to Finale.

    I had the good fortune of having a well equipped computer lab to teach various music theory classes. This double fugue was used for testing my 18th century counterpoint students' ability to analyze advanced fugal writing. After opening the Finale file they found the fugue on the top three staves and six blank staves below. The file sounded like this.

    https://www.box.com/s/490781cf077b202b4064

    Using Finale's Mass Mover/Selection tool they were instructed to drag and drop everything having to do with subject one into the appropriate brass instruments and everything having to do with subject two into the woodwind staves. They then used Finale's text tool to label the keys, cadences, exposition, episodes,subjects, answers, strettos, modifications to subjects (like inversions), etc. Now it would sound something like this. Not great orchestration but easy to hear the fugue subjects as they appear in different voices, keys and transformations.

    https://www.box.com/s/7104aaba6bc0a9d13e5e

    Many good students finished early so I had them orchestrate the fugue with different or additional instruments. They could add octave doublings, reinforce interesting melodic fragments, etc. all by simply dragging and dropping existing music into the given staves or staves they added to the score.

    Finally they would save their file to a class folder and print their work. At the next class we would listen to the most interesting scorings.

    This produced much better work from the students than the old way of just giving them a score to analyze and being able to work with realistic computer instruments had a lot to do with the success.

    Norman
    Norman,

    This flows so nicely that even the “alterations” seem natural. It’s as if they are undeniably correct. I recall that at the end of a graduate composition class our professor handed back the final exams and said, “There. I have done all I can do for you. It is now for you break all the rules and create music. Then you can teach your own classes how wrong I was.”

    Tom

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