Page 1 of 3
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#1
Update: Check out a completed fugue with analysis in post #68

Update #2: you can now view the above fugue in video form:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?=nbokws-DI3A

Alright, let's get this thing movin'!!!

http://soundcloud.com/xwanhosting/fugue-in-d-minor


So here's the exposition, in which the subject and all the voices are introduced one by one. I'm writing with 4 voices, but you should probably stick to 3. The basis for all of this starts with 3 voices. If you can handle 3 voices successfully, you can handle any number of voices with the same strategies.

Alto (green) introduces the 3 bar subject. Notice the rhythmic and intervallic motifs here. The things that stand out is the pickup to the 8th notes pattern starting with F Bb G C. When you make your subject, you need to identify what part of it makes it distinct, as this will help you get ideas for development later. It's also important to identify the harmonic implications of your subject. You should probably stick to a 1 bar or 2 bar subject that's harmonically simple (ie I V I, or something similar).

Then Soprano (blue) "answers" the Alto by coming in on the dominant. The Alto started on D, this starts on A. But notice that Alto is D -> A (up 5), and Sop starts A -> D (up 4). Why is this? Well, at this point, the tonal center is still D minor, so if we did A -> E, it wouldn't be a convincing modulation. So we're still enforcing D minor on the first 2 beats of m.4, but check out Alto, which is now trying to point to A with F# G# A. Now we can introduce B natural and other notes diatonic to A minor.

Notice by the time we have 2 voices, every 8th note beat in the bar is filled by at least one of the voices. This is a distinct feature of fugues known as motor rhythm, and it just keeps the music moving and ticking like a clock. So from here on, there's always at least one voice addressing an 8th note. Check out how I'm balancing the rhythmic activity between all the voices so that it doesn't get too cluttered. The more voices that are playing, the less they individually need to do. Keeping this balance also makes it MUCH easier to avoid counterpoint issues like parallel 5ths, octaves, unresolved tensions, etc because you can put off where the notes meet until it's good to do so. Check out m. 12-15, where this is crucial.

At m.7-8, we have a "bridge". Notice the Sop finishes answering by the end of m.6. But we're still in the key of A minor. We need to get back to D minor. So we develop another motif that compliments what we have so far. The Sop B E D C E A (and m.8 sequence) is kinda like the F Bb G C motif. In these 2 bars, we can drag the voices back to D.

In m.9, Bass (red) states the subject in the tonic. This is where things get easier and harder at the same time. Check out Sop here and compare that to Alto from m.4. It's basically using the same line with a little modification. It worked before, so it should work again, right? This creates what's called a countersubject, and you can see when we get to Tenor (orange), Bass takes over the countersubject. So this is kind of on cruise control. The hard part is managing the other voices. So as we stack voices, take full advantage of suspensions and long held notes. And don't feel like every voice has to be playing all the time. Check out Alto at m.12, it has a quarter rest because it resolved what it was doing, and for a brief moment it can just chill for a bit. It picks up again at m.13.

So hopefully this will get you started. I know I mentioned almost nothing about how you should handle intervals and all that, but I think we can just take a look one by one with what you have. Just start coming up with a simple subject and go for it!

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 28, 2013,
KeineZeit
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2008
60 IQ
#3
My attempt, just the exposition. I've never tried writing a fugue before. Also, I haven't played this to see how it sounds on an actual piano (family is watching tv/on the phone).

Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#4
Keinezeit:

You have a good, simple idea that has lots of room for counterpoint to grow. Sweet. I have these suggestions for you:

Repeated notes in the straight fashion that you have for the subject sounds a little dull. But if we tie the 2 B's, this can become a great suspension device later. Also, you resolved to E at the end, which kind of closes things off. Change the E to a D# and now you're inviting more things to happen.

You have a lot of just straight 8ths or quarter notes. There needs to be some rhythmic variety and gaps for various voices to switch in and out of. And try to be a little more adventurous with the melodic contour. They don't need to move in stepwise motion all the time.

Be careful of your intervals. We should always be trying to target 3rds and 6ths. Everything else can occur but they should be leading to a 3rd or 6th. So for example, m.3 when you have the E F# G# A# against the B C#, that's basically running 4ths and 5ths, which is gonna sound out of place.


Here is what I suggest you start with:
http://soundcloud.com/xwanhosting/keinezeit-fugue

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Last edited by Xiaoxi at Feb 1, 2012,
blake1221
‭‭
Join date: Oct 2007
711 IQ
#5
I have nothing and no way of contribution, but I'm just going to lurk the shit out of this thread.

Your fixes to Keinezeit's effort are a good start, I hope he comes back with more.
KeineZeit
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2008
60 IQ
#6
Thanks Xaoxi. Your revision is definitely more interesting to listen to. I'll try to build on it tomorrow.

I haven't really studied fugues at all though so I'll have to take a look at some first. Just last week I was about to buy an urtext version of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier (this would have been a bit difficult for me to play) but I got his Inventions and Sinfonias instead, now I wish I had gotten it anyway.
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#7
Quote by KeineZeit

I haven't really studied fugues at all though so I'll have to take a look at some first. Just last week I was about to buy an urtext version of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier (this would have been a bit difficult for me to play) but I got his Inventions and Sinfonias instead, now I wish I had gotten it anyway.

Well, I've given you the basic start. What's harder to explain is the language of the lines. There's a billion textbooks out there that analyzes all this with numbers. But if you just treat each line as a character and pay close attention to how each behaves under various circumstances, I think it opens a lot of doors.

With the inventions, check out #2 C minor. Everything you need to know about what the lines like to do is in there. Suspensions, daring resolutions, modulation by pointing, rhythmic exchanges, etc.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
griffRG7321
Theory buff
Join date: Sep 2007
999 IQ
#8
I've done my regular canon, doing a second section now with an inverted canon. After I've done that I'll get a start on this fugue exposition. I'll make up some new material (Canon theme has too much decoration in it and I don't want to make things harder than they already are).
DiminishedFifth
Absolute Imperfection
Join date: Nov 2008
3,247 IQ
#9
I have a quick question... in your example, is the Alto line constantly evolving? Where the soprano follows it but it leads it in a different key until the bass comes in when it goes back to D Minor?
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#10
Quote by DiminishedFifth
I have a quick question... in your example, is the Alto line constantly evolving? Where the soprano follows it but it leads it in a different key until the bass comes in when it goes back to D Minor?

For the first question, yes all the lines are constantly evolving. The art of it, however, is keeping that evolution organic and consistent with the main ideas. We don't want the lines to just doodle around randomly, because then that loses the integrity of the idea. So either they're developing/carrying the momentum of what's been established or they're complimenting a line that is doing so, in a logical and consistent way.

Not understanding your second question...

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
DiminishedFifth
Absolute Imperfection
Join date: Nov 2008
3,247 IQ
#11
Quote by Xiaoxi
For the first question, yes all the lines are constantly evolving. The art of it, however, is keeping that evolution organic and consistent with the main ideas. We don't want the lines to just doodle around randomly, because then that loses the integrity of the idea. So either they're developing/carrying the momentum of what's been established or they're complimenting a line that is doing so, in a logical and consistent way.

Not understanding your second question...

I'm just confused at how the lines evolve together. I noticed the soprano follows the alto for 3 bars, but then it does its own thing, but the bass does the alto part exactly. How did you decide to have the bass follow the motif, but have the soprano change it up a bit?
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#12
Quote by DiminishedFifth
I'm just confused at how the lines evolve together. I noticed the soprano follows the alto for 3 bars, but then it does its own thing, but the bass does the alto part exactly. How did you decide to have the bass follow the motif, but have the soprano change it up a bit?

Ah! I understand now.

In a textbook standard exposition like this one (I'm writing it for my academic requirement), there needs to be a subject and a countersubject. The concept is that as each voice comes in, they state the subject, and sequentially take on the role of countersubject. So think about the logical order here:

Alto: subject
Soprano: subject | Alto: countersubject
Bass: subject | Soprano: countersubject | Alto: free
Tenor: subject | Bass: countersubject | Alto: free | Soprano: free

But as things move on, as we'll see later, they're not arbitrarily relying on each other verbatim. It's all about switching back and forth in a logical way.

Does that help?


Edit: check out this table It's extremely rigid and academic, but it helps you visualize the concept of ordering.

The table registers not 1 but 2 countersubjects (since 3 voices), which I think is way too boring and doesn't really happen in Bach, who always changes things up a bit. If you're gonna use the same materials every single time the subject comes back it's gonna sound stale and blocky. The best fugues are ones that blur the delineation between a subject entry and developmental sections.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 24, 2011,
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#14
What are some good things to do in the free parts like after the exposition? I just try to modulate around for a bit and use some themes from the subjects but when I do it the piece loses all motion... I've heard fugues that build up alot of tension in the free parts and then resolve it in the middle entry but in my attempts it sounds like the voices stopped chasing eachother completely. :/
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#15
^Post a screencap or scan of what you have so far.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#17
Hey Keth, good start! You're definitely getting the right idea with the rhythmic balance. Now let's refine the sound:

m.1: it'd be more interesting with a E D# E. The D# makes it more colorful.

m.3: these 8th notes aren't resolving to a 3rd/6th. You leave off the Sop. E with a B in alto, which is a 4th, so we're looking for an E or B in the alto next to resolve that tension with Sop's G. Start thinking strategically like this from here on.

m.4: Careful with the F. We're in E minor now, so that should be an F#. Again, same sorts of interval issues: You started with a G octave to 7th on the first beat, which doesn't get resolved by the 2nd beat (A - G), so it's pretty weak harmonically. Also, you haven't really been supporting the tonality of E minor, and you should do that by introducing a dominant gesture before you get to the very last bar. That D# should be way earlier.

m.5: You've skipped using a bridge, which Bach often does. But the problem is that you were supposedly in E minor, and now the convention is that you should be back in A minor by the time the 3rd voice comes along (but hhere you're still in E minor). When Bach skips the bridge, he's able to do so because he quickly establishes the dominant key and then back to tonic during the 2nd voice's answer. That's why you need a bridge here to modulate back.

Also be careful of the gap between your lines. In m.6, the lines start becoming too far apart for 2 hands to play. So you should consider that factor when writing and shaping the direction of the lines.


Here's my suggestions:
http://soundcloud.com/xwanhosting/keth-fugue

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Last edited by Xiaoxi at Feb 1, 2012,
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#19
Quote by :-D
I'll put something up in a few days when I remember how to write a fugue/am not in a plane over the ocean.

Considering that "fugue" means "flight", the best place to write one would be exactly in a plane over the ocean.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#21
I'm probably the worst composer ever but I really want to learn this stuff...

I know my last post sounded like I know how to write good expositions but after looking at my old attempts again I found out that they suck bigtime.
So don't mind my old question, I need to fix alot this stuff first.

This is really the best one I did, but it has some terrible counterpoint going on and I decided to stay in the dominant key for the entering of the third voice just because I thought it sounded better that way.




This is probably a great example of what not to do
Keth
Contrapunctalist
Join date: Sep 2008
488 IQ
#22
Was it intentional that your first answer is only 3 bars? And your countersubject 1 seems quite rhythmically stale. Like Xiaoxi said earlier, try to divide the rhythmic activity over your voices.

That said, I'm new to this to, so..
Got any audio of it?
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#23
yeah the theme is really only 3 bars long the 4th bar is just like a transition.

And yeah I'm not that good with rhythm but I tried to make the first countersubject pretty much strict 8th notes and the second one more free to give them a different character.


And I've only got a midi file, I'll upload it to mediafire in a sec

Edit: http://www.mediafire.com/?349ajayfaawlue0

I have no idea why my counterpoint sounds so horrible in places >_>
It's frustrating
Last edited by 505088K at Dec 25, 2011,
National_Anthem
Quite the toff
Join date: Jun 2007
554 IQ
#24
Quote by Keth
Was it intentional that your first answer is only 3 bars?


This is no problem. Plenty of fugues do similar things.

I think you have a great theme which creates a lot of possibilities. Also, the subtraction of the 4th bar in the answer (or the addition of a 4th bar for the opening, depending on how you look at it) is quite a sophisticated idea which I think could work very well here. Staying in the dominant is also cool, there's nothing wrong with that and plenty of fugues do that.

Now onto what I don't like.

Third bar, the Db should be a C#, likewise in bar 7 the Ab should be G#.

There are various flaws from a point of view of counterpoint, some of these you may want to ignore because they don't apply to the style you are trying to write in.

One thing that I'm sure you'll want to change, however, relates to independence of voices. Unisons, some parallel intervals and too many octave doublings in chords reduce the contrapuntal effect of the fugue.

Bar 7 is a little strange. The G/Ab (G#!) dissonance resolves onto a unison A natural (!) which then carries on in parallel unison (!!) to the B natural. Unisons are banned, even in passing, in species counterpoint except for endings and beginnings because they create a moment when there is only one voice. By moving in parallel unisons, you are creating two sonorities in a row where the two voices are essentially the same. This is a really counterproductive thing to do in the opening of a fugue!

You may want to study some species counterpoint, especially regarding the treatment of dissonance.
Last edited by National_Anthem at Dec 25, 2011,
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#25
Quote by National_Anthem
This is no problem. Plenty of fugues do similar things.

I think you have a great theme which creates a lot of possibilities. Also, the subtraction of the 4th bar in the answer (or the addition of a 4th bar for the opening, depending on how you look at it) is quite a sophisticated idea which I think could work very well here. Staying in the dominant is also cool, there's nothing wrong with that and plenty of fugues do that.


Cool thank you^^

Third bar, the Db should be a C#, likewise in bar 7 the Ab should be G#.


Yeah I know that.
I wrote this in guitar pro and the flat/sharp system seems to be pretty messed up there.


There are various flaws from a point of view of counterpoint, some of these you may want to ignore because they don't apply to the style you are trying to write in.


Yep... This is my main problem, I often have to break my lines in order to make my counterpoint work. This is something you see in the first countersubject very much,
I often had to do small awkward jumps which really kill the effect of fluid 8th note runs that was intended.


One thing that I'm sure you'll want to change, however, relates to independence of voices. Unisons, some parallel intervals and too many octave doublings in chords reduce the contrapuntal effect of the fugue.


Yeah Unisons where a big issue for me.
I didn't know they where banned though, but It makes sense when I think about it


You may want to study some species counterpoint, especially regarding the treatment of dissonance.


I only watched a series of youtube videos on that stuff
I definitely have to get myself a book...
DiminishedFifth
Absolute Imperfection
Join date: Nov 2008
3,247 IQ
#28
I have attempted one!

The sounds:
http://soundcloud.com/nicholas-nicoletti/fugue-in-eb-major

(there's a lot of silence at the end because I forgot to get rid of the extra measures... oh well )

The sheet:
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#29
hey guys sorry about the inactivity...

I gots an iPad 2 (for free, I ain't rich!!) and I've been messing with it for 2 days...

I'll get to all of this soon.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#31
Hang tight, nigs! I'MMA COMMIN

Also, I started a new fugue because the subject I'm using has a lot of technical issues for things later on.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 30, 2011,
KeineZeit
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2008
60 IQ
#32
I haven't done anything with the one I started because I've been away for the last week. I'll try to get to it sometime this week though.
jazz_rock_feel
UG Resident
Join date: Jun 2006
2,342 IQ
#34
Alright bitches, I've arrived. This thread can begin.



http://soundcloud.com/zach-bales1/fuga

My first EVER tonal composition. I don't have any any idea whether this is any good or not. I know there's a fair few harmonic cockups, but I'm a baus, so whatever. I also abandoned the countersubject halfway through stating it, but again: baus.
Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#35
505088K:

Good try with your exposition. What I'd really like for you (and everyone) to think about is control and consistency, which is what fugues are all about both philosophically and technically. It's a discipline that could have a huge impact on how you write and how refined it can be.

You said you want to stay in the dominant key for the bass, which is fine in real practice, but I think what people needs to learn first is how to control harmony. That is to say, even though you may like it to stay in the dominant, you should have the ability to convincingly modulate back to tonic if required to do so. So with that in mind, I really urge that you try to modulate back for the bass.

Your answer (top voice) deviates in m.8 from the established subject, which weakens the integrity of your idea. It's also not a tonal answer, which is what this requires (the E in m.5 should be a D). Again, consistency is the focus here, so we should try to stay true to the subject as much as possible.

Counterpoint wise, there are a lot of issues. Remember, the approach to counterpoint is that every is based in 3rds and 6ths. Any other intervals can occur but they must be approached AND resolved by 3rds/6ths. You should all internalize this very important concept in order to move on. If you look at my examples, or any examples from Bach, you'll see that this is almost always true. Just spend a few minutes to analyze the logical patterns that occur intervallically between the voices.

I'll give you some explicit examples in errors:
-m.5 3rd beat: you have a D against an E, a 7th, but it wasn't approached by a 3rd/6th. You'd have to have an F or C as the last 8th note in the middle voice against the A to approach the 7th.
-m.6: you start off with a 6th, which is good, but then the middle and top both hit an A, and doesn't get resolved--you have an F and B. The F should be a G for triadic resolution.
-m.8: Like m.3, the Ab is meant to be a G#. With that in mind, you have a G natural in middle against G# in the top, which is very conflicting. Even if that was meant to be an Ab, you have an A natural in the middle. You also have parallel octaves: A -> B.

So think about those errors and how to solve them. But don't just try to randomly target 6ths and 3rds. The overall picture should make sense melodically and harmonically.

Here are my suggestions (which are pretty weak too, but I'm hazy right now). The tail of your subject allows for immediate modulation during the answer back to tonic:

http://soundcloud.com/xwanhosting/5050-fugue


...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
Last edited by Xiaoxi at Feb 1, 2012,
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#36
wow thank you I actually really like what you made out of that!

And yeah I've also been working on my counterpoint and understand the concept of double counterpoint alot better now. I fixed most of the problems I found but I didn't bother to post the updated version.

It worked alot better in terms of harmony but I often have trouble making the second line interesting in terms of melody if I can only use 3rds and 6ths :/

And I thought it was ok to vary the subject in fugues just not in canons? But yeah you're right it certainly isn't a good idea to do especially in the beginning.


Gonna go do some analyzing now...
National_Anthem
Quite the toff
Join date: Jun 2007
554 IQ
#37
Quote by 505088K
And I thought it was ok to vary the subject in fugues just not in canons? But yeah you're right it certainly isn't a good idea to do especially in the beginning.


Gonna go do some analyzing now...


It is, providing it's done in the right way. There's two types of answer: real and tonal. Real answers are a direct transposition of the subject, where all of the intervals are kept the same. Tonal answers will have some of the intervals altered to strengthen the Tonic/Dominant relationship between subject and answer. For instance, rising fifths in subjects will often be changed to a rising fourth, and vice versa, as Xiaoxi did in his revision of you fugue.
505088K
Drekkenbrein
Join date: Nov 2008
127 IQ
#38
Did the first episode and middle entry now:

midi



Not sure if I like it yet... I hate the midi piano.
Didn't change the exposition at all.

When the bass enters in the middle entry, I had the middle voice play some free-ish counterpoint exept for the last measure instead of the second countersubject.
Is that allowed?

And yeah I started using finale now, no idea what's up with the font though.
theknuckster
me
Join date: Mar 2009
483 IQ
#39
This is my first attempt. I haven't really done much, but I wanted to see if I was just doing totally the wrong thing before I went any further. I've never done a fugue before, and any classical composition I've done has been shocking, so any feedback or insults are appreciated!
MIDI
Click for full size:
Last edited by theknuckster at Jan 8, 2012,
Woffelz
Mmmm...donuts...
Join date: Apr 2009
3,346 IQ
#40
I noticed how Xiaoxi's first couple of bars sound very similar to the real answer of Little Fugue in Gm.

Yes, this was my moment to show some intelligence.
Woffelz

Twitter
Youtube
Tumblr

Ibanez RG2550Z/SRX430
Alesis Core 1
BIAS FX


I'm a student. I've got no time or space for an amp!