Author Topic: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra  (Read 716 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« on: February 02, 2017, 11:50:38 AM »
Note:  Score updated 2/6 with some refinements.

I reread Fux's "Gradus Ad Parnassum" last summer and this is what happened  :).    I wrote "Fugal Fantasy"  as a bit of a counterpoint exercise (and for fun as always).  Harmonically, it is pretty simple - it' just  major and minor triads.  Although a few diminished chords pop up at the end. The harmonies are threadbare in many places, as I was concentrating on creating contrapuntal lines.  If there is any modern sound in this piece, it is due to aggressive modulation and perky rhythms.

As usual, my orchestration probably needs help.

Enjoy!

Jay

Sound (created by Noteperformer):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/li7clq0piz25wmp/Fugal%20Fantasy%20v8.mp3?dl=0

PDF:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t0qaxa75j5he88r/Fugal%20Fantasy%20%20v8.pdf?dl=0
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 09:27:27 PM by whitebark »

mjf1947

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,744
  • Karma: 111
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 01:36:11 PM »
Whimsical to say the least!

Lots of fun here .... really enjoyed the permutations .... with their quirky stylistic idiomatic nuances.

Very enjoyable .... I still hear the neoclassical flavor in your work.

Mark
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 01:55:31 PM by mjf1947 »

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2017, 06:16:01 PM »
Mark, thanks for the kind comment :)   Yes, I usually describe my style as neo-classical.  I've always admired neo-classical composers like Poulence - perhaps it shows!

Maybe I need to branch out and do some 12 tone stuff....well maybe not right away!

-jay

sandalwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 712
  • Karma: 62
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2017, 02:26:24 PM »
Thanks for posting. I enjoyed listening to this interesting piece.

I would be willing to read anything you want to tell about the piece's plan, devices at play, etc. with perhaps some enlightening remark on the distance/(dis)similarities between a bare bones fugue a la Fux and this nice orchestral "Fantasy".

Reha

ps. I did not know about Noteperformer which sounds quite good (except the trills, perhaps)
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 05:55:21 PM by sandalwood »

gogreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 861
  • Karma: 48
    • Art on Facebook
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2017, 03:10:32 PM »
Very nice, Jay! Love the harmony. I wish there were a Noteperformer for Finale.

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2017, 09:22:45 PM »
Thanks for the encouraging comment, Arthur!   You mention the harmony -As I mentioned, the harmony is basically simple major and minor chords, along with passing tones and other added stuff. Maybe this piece should be considered neo-renaissance. 

Yes, Noteperformer is a great tool for student composers as it sounds pretty good and requires little tweaking to get good results.  The string sounds sometimes are gritty and have odd sonic artifacts, but that seems to be true of all synthesizer software.  NotePerfomer responds very well to many kinds of articulation marks, and rewards the effort to create a detailed  and well-articulated score. Again, good for student composers.  Musescore's synthesizer sounds like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard in comparison (although greatly improved when they went with the Fluid R3 sound fonts)

 Noteperformer seems to be only available for Sibelius, as you noted.  It can be run on a free trial basis on top of a free trial version of Sibelius if you want to try it out.  I'm running a paid for version of NotePerformer (it is not expensive) on a trial version of Sibelius, which won't save anything. But I create my scores using Musescore and just use Sibelius for creating the sound and last minute tweaks, so this arrangement works out. I just record the analog sound output (using Audacity) to make my MP3 files. 

Jay
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 09:28:35 AM by whitebark »

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2017, 10:06:41 PM »

I would be willing to read anything you want to tell about the piece's plan, devices at play, etc. with perhaps some enlightening remark on the distance/(dis)similarities between a bare bones fugue a la Fux and this nice orchestral "Fantasy".


Reha, I used to call this piece simply a Fugue in C Minor , but it seemed too long, untraditional, and wide-ranging in character for that, so I concocted the name "Fugal Fantasy". I'm certain open to suggestions for other naming ideas.  The piece has a five part structure: 1) the exposition of the fugue in the strings; 2) a more elaborately orchestrated variation of the fugue; 3) a major key variation with a lighter orchestration; 4) The return of the minor key fugue in a more intense variation and 5) a coda restating the main theme with conviction and leading to a nice loud ending with a picardy third, of course.

Within the piece, I tried to use my main theme melody, or fragments of it, everywhere I could. Sometimes it is inverted or augmented. The theme appears in short canons, also.  Typical of a fugue, there is a main countermelody that I reuse in places. An additional little motive with 4 notes jumping in octaves is prominent in the work, too.

The counterpoint is structured (perhaps a bit haphazardly) using some of the usual  rules - consonances on the strong beats (unless there is a suspension), no voices in parallel 5ths or octaves(except as an orchestration device), contrary motion preferred...etc.

Thanks for commenting :)

Jay

« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 09:42:29 AM by whitebark »

RJB54

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 868
  • Karma: 36
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2017, 08:44:21 AM »
Interesting piece. I particularly like the subject. I also liked the contrasts of the different sections.

A few points.

The entrance of the bassoon in m.35 is quite high and should be in tenor (or perhaps treble) clef not bass.

You don't indicate whether string parts are divisi or multistops. In many spots the lines are in octaves which is generally OK with multistops but there are places where using multistops would be problematic and divisi should probably be used and you do not have divisi markings.

I thought that starting the section at m.54 with the woodwinds again (as at m.35) was a bit repetitive sonically. Perhaps move some of the parts from the woodwinds to the brass for variety?

All in all a good effort.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
Frank Zappa

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,375
  • Karma: 217
  • B.FA (composition) M.Mus (composition)
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2017, 01:21:58 PM »
it's interesting that you chose to write your expositions "à la tièrce" (in 3rds).
have you tried taking a slightly stricter approach and writing your expositions in 4ths/5ths? (ie: tonic/dominant)

one reason I bring this up is that writing expositions in 3rds (or 6ths) makes the harmonic movement of the exposition cover a very wide swath of tonality.

generally speaking, the point of a fugue is to establish the tonality during the expositions, and expand on the tonality during the episodes. so you get an exposition that strongly supports your main key. then with an episode you move to new harmonic territory. once there, you have a new exposition in this new tonal area. again, this is followed by a new episode, and then a new exposition in the new tonal area.

fugue = "to chase"... in essence, you are chasing the tonality as it runs around during the episodes.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2017, 01:25:13 PM »
RJB - Thanks for taking a look at the score. Tenor clef for the bassoon is a good idea - I see it commonly used in scores. The div. vs.  double stop issue in the strings needs be sorted out.   I take a look at the m35 orchestration, as you suggested.

I don't plan on any major changes to this score - perhaps I should move it to the "completed" section after making the corrections.

-Jay
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 01:27:18 PM by whitebark »

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,375
  • Karma: 217
  • B.FA (composition) M.Mus (composition)
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2017, 02:57:04 PM »
by the way, that bassoon part is a TAD high. it's not "impossible", but it's damned hard.
(<--ex-bassoonist)
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2017, 03:29:04 PM »
by the way, that bassoon part is a TAD high. it's not "impossible", but it's damned hard.
(<--ex-bassoonist)

Hi Michel,
Yes, the part does seem a bit high for a bassoon. I don't want my bassoon part sounding like the famous pinched and tense-sounding solo in the introduction to "Rite of Spring"  NotePerformer is reproducing that effect in the high notes of my MP3..that should be a bit of a warning.  It seems that the part better suits a clarinet.   A bit low for the oboe.  Perhaps I'll revise.
-jay

sandalwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 712
  • Karma: 62
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2017, 03:45:43 PM »

I would be willing to read anything you want to tell about the piece's plan, devices at play, etc. with perhaps some enlightening remark on the distance/(dis)similarities between a bare bones fugue a la Fux and this nice orchestral "Fantasy".


Reha, I used to call this piece simply a Fugue in C Minor , but it seemed too long, untraditional, and wide-ranging in character for that, so I concocted the name "Fugal Fantasy". I'm certain open to suggestions for other naming ideas.  The piece has a five part structure: 1) the exposition of the fugue in the strings; 2) a more elaborately orchestrated variation of the fugue; 3) a major key variation with a lighter orchestration; 4) The return of the minor key fugue in a more intense variation and 5) a coda restating the main theme with conviction and leading to a nice loud ending with a picardy third, of course.

Within the piece, I tried to use my main theme melody, or fragments of it, everywhere I could. Sometimes it is inverted or augmented. The theme appears in short canons, also.  Typical of a fugue, there is a main countermelody that I reuse in places. An additional little motive with 4 notes jumping in octaves is prominent in the work, too.

The counterpoint is structured (perhaps a bit haphazardly) using some of the usual  rules - consonances on the strong beats (unless there is a suspension), no voices in parallel 5ths or octaves(except as an orchestration device), contrary motion preferred...etc.

Thanks for commenting :)

Jay

Thanks a lot for the info and explanation. They helped to make better sense, as much as I could, of your choices, use of devices, etc. Particularly impressed by the crafty use of thematic fragments in the "free counterpoint" parts.

I think this  combination of fugal writing and orchestral variations with elaborate development have ended up in a really enjoyable piece. In this respect it reminds of the no 41 Jupiter Finale.

As far as I know (as a non-expert) there is no unified discipline in naming fugal pieces and I believe "fantasia" is not out of place here.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 03:48:01 PM by sandalwood »

whitebark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 9
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2017, 03:55:17 PM »
it's interesting that you chose to write your expositions "à la tièrce" (in 3rds)

Thanks for the comment, Michel.  On the first page of the score, the theme starts on C.  Violas then enter on G  -normal enough. But then the violins enter on E - ???.   That must be the "a la tièrce" that you were noticing. I did most of the work on this last summer, and it's hard to remember at this point how that happened.   Oh well, too late now to change that.  Note that the fugal development section of my Sinfonietta does follow the usual pattern of themes entering on the tonic and dominant.
-jay

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,375
  • Karma: 217
  • B.FA (composition) M.Mus (composition)
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Fugal Fantasy for Classical Orchestra
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2017, 05:28:59 PM »
normally you're entire first exposition would be I-V-I-V (depending how many voices there are).

then modulating episode, then new exposition, though not necessarily with the same number of voices, in the "new key", repeating I-V-I-V again, depending on the number of entrances).

The fugue is basically a series of expositions followed by episodes.
The episodes shouldn't use the same material as the exposition. It can be drawn from the countersubject, or from some transitional material. But it is best to avoid using the subject itself during episodes, as that takes away the freshness when it does return during an exposition.

The point of the fugue's form is to make the listener be surprised and satisfied when the subject returns at each exposition.

the episodes can be as simple as harmonic marches, or more complex modulatory processes. always in keeping with the textural sense of a fugue, this remains contrapuntal in nature.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"