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Protoman2050

Difference between canon and fugue?

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In the common usage of the terms, one can say that the fugue is a form whereas the canon is merely a contrapunctual technique.

In a canon, the voices are much more dependant on each other, generally imitatating each other exactly throughout the entire piece, whereas a fugue is somewhat more free in its counterpoint. In a fugue, the first entrance of the second voice (or comes) isn't identical with the first entrance (or dux), but transposed to the dominant (well, it isn't always the dominant harmonically, but let's say it so right now for simplicity's sake), which may even mean that the intervals aren't always exactly the same ones. In a canon (even if it's a canon where the voices don't set in on the same note but a certain interval apart), the original contour of the voice is usually not changed, regardless of where it sets in (well, in some cases it may change slightly).

As I mentioned, a fugue usually also has a certain form, but this is more a set of conventions that came up with time (especially in Bach's works) than strict rules.

But the easiest way to distinguish them is still the imitation/counterpoint:

If all voices play the same things with an offset, it's a canon.

If one voice sets in, then another imitates in the dominant, then they move around more freely while the other voices again set in similarly, it's probably a fugue.

But those are very simplified descriptions and there are always exceptions and other variants. I'd just look up Fugue and Canon on Wikipedia or something to get an overview of what they may encompass.

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In the common usage of the terms, one can say that the fugue is a form whereas the canon is merely a contrapunctual technique.

In a canon, the voices are much more dependant on each other, generally imitatating each other exactly throughout the entire piece, whereas a fugue is somewhat more free in its counterpoint. In a fugue, the first entrance of the second voice (or comes) isn't identical with the first entrance (or dux), but transposed to the dominant (well, it isn't always the dominant harmonically, but let's say it so right now for simplicity's sake), which may even mean that the intervals aren't always exactly the same ones. In a canon (even if it's a canon where the voices don't set in on the same note but a certain interval apart), the original contour of the voice is usually not changed, regardless of where it sets in (well, in some cases it may change slightly).

As I mentioned, a fugue usually also has a certain form, but this is more a set of conventions that came up with time (especially in Bach's works) than strict rules.

But the easiest way to distinguish them is still the imitation/counterpoint:

If all voices play the same things with an offset, it's a canon.

If one voice sets in, then another imitates in the dominant, then they move around more freely while the other voices again set in similarly, it's probably a fugue.

But those are very simplified descriptions and there are always exceptions and other variants. I'd just look up Fugue and Canon on Wikipedia or something to get an overview of what they may encompass.

Then I believe I wrote a canon for my homework assignments. Also, there's three different ones in 4/4 time that I'm trying to choose among. Can you help me figure out which one I should use?

Canon On the Quaver in D minor.pdf

Canon on the Crochet in E minor.pdf

Prometheus Homophony.pdf

Canon on the Sesquisemibreve in E minor.pdf

PDF

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Well, I don't think one would call these things canon, actually, for several reasons:

- The imitating patterns only follow the same series of pitches, but jump around in totally different registers, i.e. the contours of the two voices are totally different.

- The contours are furthermore obscured by the fact that the voices don't always imitate each other in the same rhythms.

- The imitating parts are only very short, there are sometimes certain notes skipped in one voice etc.

- The entrances are so fast after each other that no actual motives/themes are recognizable before the other voice sets in.

- The whole pieces are just extremely short passages that don't give enough time to reckognize those patterns as a "canon".

Any of these things alone would be fine, since there certainly are several freedoms one can take with canons, but in combination there are simply too many elements that distract from the canon concept.

I'd just call them passages that play with imitative patterns. If you want a real, clearly recognizable canon, I'd start with a simple case where one voice really does the exact same thing as the other, a bit later.

(Also notice that in the "Canon on the crotchet" the second voice actually only is a crotchet behind the first one on the very first note. Since you then skip the following B in the second voice, it is afterwards just a quaver behind, like in the first canon.)

What exactly was your assignment?

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Well, I don't think one would call these things canon, actually, for several reasons:

- The imitating patterns only follow the same series of pitches, but jump around in totally different registers, i.e. the contours of the two voices are totally different.

- The contours are furthermore obscured by the fact that the voices don't always imitate each other in the same rhythms.

- The imitating parts are only very short, there are sometimes certain notes skipped in one voice etc.

- The entrances are so fast after each other that no actual motives/themes are recognizable before the other voice sets in.

- The whole pieces are just extremely short passages that don't give enough time to reckognize those patterns as a "canon".

Any of these things alone would be fine, since there certainly are several freedoms one can take with canons, but in combination there are simply too many elements that distract from the canon concept.

I'd just call them passages that play with imitative patterns. If you want a real, clearly recognizable canon, I'd start with a simple case where one voice really does the exact same thing as the other, a bit later.

(Also notice that in the "Canon on the crotchet" the second voice actually only is a crotchet behind the first one on the very first note. Since you then skip the following B in the second voice, it is afterwards just a quaver behind, like in the first canon.)

What exactly was your assignment?

"Write a 4 measure composition in 4/4 time, and another in 3/4 time." I like my 3/4 one, but I'm trying to decide which of the 4/4 ones I should submit.

These would probably be better if I had more measures to use.

Btw, I know these are pretty bad, but which one was the best-sounding to you out of all of them.

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Hmm, I don't think it matters much. If I had to say something right now, maybe the Prometheus Homophony, since it's the most different one from the 3/4 you already picked. But the others would be just as fine.

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Hmm, I don't think it matters much. If I had to say something right now, maybe the Prometheus Homophony, since it's the most different one from the 3/4 you already picked. But the others would be just as fine.

I like that one too. Anthony Zerillo said my music sounds like someone having an arrhythmia. What do you say my music sounds like?

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Heh, arrhythmia… Hard to say from these short snippets that were probably composed relatively quickly.

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Is this a canon?

Canon.pdf

PDF

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I like that one too. Anthony Zerillo said my music sounds like someone having an arrhythmia. What do you say my music sounds like?

I didn't mean it in a horrible way, I simply implied the use of rhythm was erratic and didn't follow a smooth progression, and it was jumping between long note values to short note values in way which wasn't 'linear'.

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Is this a canon?

Yes, but usually (in fact 99%) the tune stays the same pitch wise but say an octave higher or staying at the same level.

Example.

A3 B3 C3 D3 E3 should be repeated A3 B3 C3 D3 E3 or A2 B2 C2 D2 E2 or A4 B4 C4 D4 E4 but not A3 B4 C2 D3 E2.

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I didn't mean it in a horrible way, I simply implied the use of rhythm was erratic and didn't follow a smooth progression, and it was jumping between long note values to short note values in way which wasn't 'linear'.

Did it sound good to you, though?

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