Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fugue State: Day 8

As we arrive at the eighth of these ten summer fugues, I just realized a few things:
  1. Eight of the set are in triple time (seven in 3/4 and one in 3/2).
  2. Seven of the triple time fugues begin with a pickup note (or two).
  3. There are actually eleven fugues, not ten, so there are three in duple time, and it looks like this series will extend one day further.
Since we emphasize singability and familiarity in our summer hymnody, and that often trends a bit more to folksier hymns, that may explain part of why we're in three so often, although I may also have simply underestimated how many hymns are in triple time.

Speaking of folksy, Land of Rest is another tune with some shape-note roots, so today's fugue definitely has echoes of the Resignation and New Britain fugues; all three feature pentatonic subjects (meaning basically that they omit the fourth and seventh scale degrees) which certainly contributes to the folksiness. This is the third four-voice fugue* of the set, and the first to use the more traditional pattern of alternating entries between tonic and something else, though in this case that else is the Subdominant, not the Dominant. (Basically, the second and fourth entries begin in the key area a fourth above the first and third. The most common approach would be to alternate Tonic-Dominant-Tonic-Dominant.)

* The other four-voice fugues are on America and Suttgart.

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