Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fugue State: Day 9

I mentioned yesterday that most of these summer fugues are in triple time, but today we get a nice four-square tune sung at both the royal weddings of William and Harry and the funerals of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana. The Welsh Cwm Rhondda is most closely associated with the words "Guide me, O thou great Redeemer" or "Guide me, O thou great Jehovah," and it has a dignified but fervent character, although the opening phrase I'm using emphasizes the former.

The main feature here is that, after writing so many fugues that modulate quickly and often to far-flung keys, I decided to restrict myself to the seven pitches of the original key, so this fugue has no accidentals. That doesn't mean it doesn't move into different tonal areas, but by disallowing accidentals, none of the diversions can be in a major key, so the subject takes on different modal characters as it wanders about. You can hear this right away when the second entry sidesteps the leading tone C-sharp for a C-natural. In fact, as I recall, it was after I made the decision to treat this "answer" that way that I decided I'd keep forgoing accidentals and see what happened.

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