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caters

Did I write a good fugue exposition here?

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This is the first time that I improvised a fugue subject and multiple countersubjects and didn't immediately come across contrapuntal errors with my Check Harmony Rules plugin in Musescore. I haven't bothered to look more in depth though(like every note kind of depth). So there might be some errors that I missed. I want to resolve these before I move further with the fugue. As you can probably tell by the PDF file, I wrote this fugue exposition with the text of a Requiem in mind, specifically, the Introit, which is the first section of a Requiem mass. Augmented intervals, those most likely have to do with the leading tone combined with the minor key and thus, shouldn't be bothered with, right, so as to not stray away from the key too fast? Or are they unacceptable, even in minor keys? Here is the fugue exposition in image form, so as to highlight the Subject and 3 countersubjects:

Requiem_in_F_minor-1.thumb.png.624a826b77a376520558742f360a8093.png

There, that is the fugue exposition. I figured that this Requiem fugue would be one of the best fugues for which the subject appearance order would be BTAS, or in other words ascending, to represent the ascent to heaven(I'm personally not religious, but I know some things about religion). Did I obey the counterpoint rules and write a good fugue exposition with 3 countersubjects? Or are there some errors that I missed? I mainly focused on not having parallel and direct octaves, fifths, and fourths, and not having too many parallel thirds or sixths, so I might have missed errors of unresolved dissonances and weak suspensions that did not get picked up on a first pass.

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Parallel uneven octaves at the end of every measure besides m. 1. Actual parallel octaves in m. 4.

Mode mixture? Sounds pretty cool actually, but definitely not "correct" in strict counterpoint.

Depending on what style you're writing, parallel fourths in two voices (m. 2) isn't good.

m. 4 parallel 7ths TB beat 2

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Parallel uneven octaves, let me guess, that means that not only are there parallel octaves, but that 2 voices reach those octaves by different trajectories(or to put it another way, in one of the voices, there are 1 or more notes between the octave notes).

Out of all the contrapuntal errors, parallel octaves are the hardest for me to avoid. They have come up time and time again, whenever I write a fugue, they show up. I try to resolve them, but they sometimes creep in quite sneakily, like in the neighbor note figuration in the subject. In the first countersubject, I have a bit of sequencing going on with the word Domine. Each time the word is sung before any of the rest of the text follows, the corresponding motive is melodically sequenced up a step. Later in the fugue, you see me applying that same melodic sequence by step to the entire first countersubject to modulate to another key.

Since I was trying to emphasise the dominant relationship of the answer with my first countersubject, I guess I am going to have to adjust that, which might affect my other countersubjects as well.

As for the mode mixture, where it looks as though I have went into F Dorian for the last measure, I honestly have no idea why I did it other than to have the bass voice descend instead of ascend like it did in the previous measures. But as I look closely at the interval relationships to that D natural, I see this:

  • Bass - Tenor: Second, the closest possible dissonance(or it could be viewed as a seventh as well)
  • Bass - Alto: Tritone, the crunchiest and most directional of the dissonances, Bach would most certainly only use the tritone in two circumstances, those being sequences and an immediate resolution to a third
  • Bass - Soprano: Second again(This also could be viewed as a seventh instead since the second inverts to the seventh)

As for the parallel sevenths, I don't really understand what you are talking about. Only seventh I see is between the Eb and the F. Oh, wait a minute, are you saying that by descending a third, I have went from the note a seventh below to the note a seventh above, while sustaining the Eb in the tenor? I thought parallel sevenths meant that both voices move in the same direction and are a seventh apart. I didn't realize that sustaining a note in 1 voice and having the other voice go from the note a seventh above to the note a seventh below or vice versa via motion by thirds also counts as parallel sevenths.

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In m. 4, Bass moves from G to F and the tenor moves F to E-flat.

Also, I'm not sure you quite get what I mean by mode mixture. In m. 4, for example, in beat 4, you have both the B natural and the B-flat. This is common in English madrigals, but not this sort of style. Again, I like that sound, but it's not "normal".

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It suggests that you might be out of your depth with fugue writing. This takes an incredible amount of experience and skill to pull off properly. I myself have never written a fugue, as I do not consider myself ready for it. 

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22 hours ago, Markus Boyd said:

It suggests that you might be out of your depth with fugue writing. This takes an incredible amount of experience and skill to pull off properly. I myself have never written a fugue, as I do not consider myself ready for it. 

 

Well, I have always considered myself to be ready for writing fugues because of my experience both in canons and sonatas. I have been told by several people that canons are harder than fugues, but I have found the opposite to be true. I can more easily write canons than fugues. The fugue is like a cross between the canon and the sonata. It has the repetition of the canon and it has the contrast and development of the sonata. I also study Bach fugues a lot and study counterpoint from videos that go into detail on it. All this has made me consider myself ready for writing fugues.

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9 minutes ago, caters said:

Well, I have always considered myself to be ready for writing fugues because of my experience both in canons and sonatas. I have been told by several people that canons are harder than fugues, but I have found the opposite to be true. I can more easily write canons than fugues. The fugue is like a cross between the canon and the sonata. It has the repetition of the canon and it has the contrast and development of the sonata. I also study Bach fugues a lot and study counterpoint from videos that go into detail on it. All this has made me consider myself ready for writing fugues.

 

I see. Then you obviously do not require our feedback here. Good luck 

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In measure 2, tenor (qui - Db) and bass (eis - Ab) - fourth is forbidden in two-part counterpoint, unless it's a suspension - you can change Db to D natural. Measure 4 is harmonically quite unclear for me - in general there is many situations where one voice has for example b natural and the other has b flat at the same time - the green countersubject combined with red subject are responsible for that (also green and purple). Parallel sevenths/seconds aren't always bad - it depends on the context.

I think you should fix those errors and errors mentioned by others before you go further.

Good luck!

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