#1
I've grown quite interested in fugues, and have been analyzing pieces (Mostly from Bach), and studying any information I can find. I understand the elements of counterpoint and inversion needed, along with the basic structure for a fugue, the Exposition, Development, and Recapulation.

I've searched for and watched youtube videos of how to write a fugue, but they were more like parodies of what I wanted, rather than actually being helpful.

Theres one, where the guy takes the theme from "Oops, I did it again" and turns it into a fugue, although in the explanation of what he did, he multitracks himself talking about the 3 different sections of it simultaneously, and what could've been helpful just transforms into an incoherent mess.

The other, "So you want to write a fugue" by Glenn Gould was helpful for outlying repitition of themes and structure, but did little to explain the process of doing so.

I plan on taking composition and other music courses when I go off to college in two months, and I feel that some "Self" education in such things prior to attending could help immensely. I would rather not have to purchase a book unless it becomes absolutely needed, as I'd probably have to buy a few more for the courses anyway.

So, here goes what my actual problem is.

Suppose that I've created a good theme, on that is good for repitition, inversion, and variation. I've decided to make it my subject, so it should be introduced in the start of the piece. It is six bars long.

Now, to make an answer to that original theme, I create a canon by transposing it into a similar key (Adding a flat or sharp), and allow it to play with the original theme.

When I do this, should I have to alter the key of the original theme to fit the answer?

Is 6 bars too short for a fugue's theme? What should be a good length?

I've been messing with Fugue ideas lately, now that I have a slightly better understanding of them, and here is a brief Idea that I thought was pretty cool sounding, although its more of a canon at the moment.

Modulating the answer a fourth or fifth yields... Nasty, results.

Although thats most likely from the chromatics that are included in the theme.

So it pertains to the first question, although this theme is a bit strange.

For simplicity's sake I'll start any future ideas in the key of C without accidentals until the answer.
#2
I am no expert of fugal writing, what I would do is post a link to this thread on Xiaoxi's profile. He is an avid devotee of contrapuntal music and fugues in general
#3
Six bars is way too long a subject for your 1st fugue. Long subjects also make it more difficult to repeat them as your fugue develops. Try a 1 or 2-measure subject. Also, keep the subject contained within a single octave, or it can cause you some real difficulties further in the composition. Also, to help the composition flow, end your subject on a strong beat, and don't end it with any kind of cadential figure.

The answer is in the dominant tonal area (a 5th above or a 4th below). It can be a real answer (identical intervallic replication) or tonal answer (intervallically adjusted to stay in the tonic tonal area). When your 2nd voice enters, use your 1st voice as accompaniment. And remember, it's not a canon!

How many voices are you using for your fugue?
#4
So, 2 bars for the subject, which originally plays and then is transposed/modulated with an accidental, which creates the answer (Either real or tonal).

During the answer, the first voicing accompanies it, and may need t be altered with an accidental of the answer's key to prevent clashes between the voices.

Attempt to keep subject within an octave, end on a strong beat. What do you mean by not ending on a cadential figure? A resolve?

I plan on practicing these with 2 voices for the moment, in the key of C and G/F, although it may take off from there if I feel I understand it. Wikipedia has a chart on Fugue structure in it's fugue article, although it didn't make much sense to me until recently.

I was hoping Xiaoxi would pop in here to help, but hes probably off somewhere doing something important.
#5
Hey, just saw this. If you can hold off a week or two, I'll be more than happy to talk about fugues, aka the most badass type of music ever conceived. But right now I have way too many deadlines to meet.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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But our Band is Listana
#6
Quote by Xiaoxi
Hey, just saw this. If you can hold off a week or two, I'll be more than happy to talk about fugues, aka the most badass type of music ever conceived. But right now I have way too many deadlines to meet.






Like I said, more important things. Like saving the world with music.
#7
During the answer, the first voicing accompanies it, and may need t be altered with an accidental of the answer's key to prevent clashes between the voices.


Nothing needs to be altered. Simply write something in the 1st voice that goes with the subject in the 2nd voice.

Attempt to keep subject within an octave, end on a strong beat. What do you mean by not ending on a cadential figure? A resolve?


I mean if your subject is in D, don't end the subject on a D.

After the subject has been stated in all voices, it's pretty much anything goes. You can repeat the subject in its entirety, just fragments, upsidedown, backwards, or whatever. You can use augmentation, diminution, stretto, etc.
#8
Have you been to http://www2.nau.edu/tas3/wtc.html It plays all the fugues from the WTC with the sheet music and has animations that show you where the subject and countersubjects are as the fugue progresses. You said you been looking around the interwebs already so you might have already found it, but if you haven't I'd go to Fugue No. 21 in Bb Book 1. It shows the layout of the succussive entries of the subject and, in this case, countersubjects really nicely. (Plus it's my favorite) I've recently become obsessed with trying to write a fugue as well, with mixed results. Good luck with your fugue and college.
#9
Quote by Harmosis
Nothing needs to be altered. Simply write something in the 1st voice that goes with the subject in the 2nd voice.

I mean if your subject is in D, don't end the subject on a D.

After the subject has been stated in all voices, it's pretty much anything goes. You can repeat the subject in its entirety, just fragments, upsidedown, backwards, or whatever. You can use augmentation, diminution, stretto, etc.


Nothing needs to be altered, although I've seen Bach do so in Fugue #1 in C Major, where the first voice uses F# to accompany the 2nd and fourth voices which are in G. But that aside, it does not NEED to be altered.

Would ending on a note that needs to be resolved in the answer be appropriate?

When I first saw augmentation I originally thought it had something to do with raising the pitch or the chords uses, but its actually about tempo/phrasing, if I remember correctly. Isn't it essentially double speed on the subject?

And thank you for the fugue site, it should help immensely.
#10
Nothing needs to be altered, although I've seen Bach do so in Fugue #1 in C Major, where the first voice uses F# to accompany the 2nd and fourth voices which are in G. But that aside, it does not NEED to be altered.

That's not an alteration; that's the part. The F# is there because the subject is in the dominant tonal area.

Would ending on a note that needs to be resolved in the answer be appropriate?

Yes!

When I first saw augmentation I originally thought it had something to do with raising the pitch or the chords uses, but its actually about tempo/phrasing, if I remember correctly. Isn't it essentially double speed on the subject?

Augmentation is basically spreadng the subject over a longer period of time - so, slower. Diminution is the opposite.
#11
Augmentation is basically spreadng the subject over a longer period of time - so, slower. Diminution is the opposite.


Ah, I had them confused.

That's not an alteration; that's the part. The F# is there because the subject is in the dominant tonal area.


Because the answer contains an F#?

Yes!


Yes!
#12
The answer is in the dominant tonal area, which is G major, which has an F#. Normally, the subject is stated in the tonic, answer in the dominant. So if you had 4 voices, the exposition would go

1. Subject (Tonic)
2. Answer (Dominant)
3. Subject (Tonic)
4. Answer (Dominant)
#14
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Ah, I see that now, like Bach's Fugue #1 in C Major.

Now, the Development is when you utilize all the "Fancy" things you can do in a fugue, like inversion, stretto, ect... Correct?


Yes!
#15
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Ah, I see that now, like Bach's Fugue #1 in C Major.

Now, the Development is when you utilize all the "Fancy" things you can do in a fugue, like inversion, stretto, ect... Correct?


"But never be clever
for the sake of being clever,
for the sake of showing off.

For a canon in inversion is a dangerous diversion,
And a bit of augmentation is a serious temptation,
While a stretto diminution is an obvious allusion."
#18
Quote by nmitchell076
"But never be clever
for the sake of being clever,
for the sake of showing off.

For a canon in inversion is a dangerous diversion,
And a bit of augmentation is a serious temptation,
While a stretto diminution is an obvious allusion."


GG was a genius.
#19
For a canon in inversion is a dangerous diversion,
And a bit of augmentation is a serious temptation,
While a stretto diminution is an obvious allusion."


Ironically, as those lines are being sung, those are actually being applied to the song.

Being smart and being clever are different things


Eh, it depends but yes. An inversion may be clever, but it might not be done "smartly" and as such it would negatively impact the song.

And about just plunging in and writing a fugue, I tried to do just that and it didn't become a fugue. Glenn Gould LIED TO ME.