Sunday, January 30, 2022

Epiphany Fugue 4/8

Well, I'm halfway there. A fugue series which I imagined as a way to make myself do something to start the year has now resulted in four fugues which didn't exist a month ago. 

Although all of these fugues are to be based on hymn tunes, today's tune, O Waly, Waly, is probably best known as a folk song. It happened that we had two soloists singing an anthem based on this tune today, so that's how I ended up choosing it as a subject. It's a beautiful melody, although it's possible that by shortening its long notes, I've take a bit of the longing out of the effect. The original melody is a good example of music in a major mode that still can sound sad (as is more often associated with minor mode). Benjamin Britten certainly leaned into that aspect. 

As with all of these fugues, I haven't been overly scrupulous about traditional voice-leading rules. In this case, I realized soon that the countersubject I'd devised (I had in mind a sort of winding river idea) results in immediate parallel fifths (though the note in the countersubject is just a little lower neighbor). 

But after trying other things, I decided I liked this version best, so that's how I'm rolling. I'm on a deadline!

Fugue #4:

Updated Hymn Fugue Archive

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