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Textures & Counterpoint Submission

Commentary: A New Fugue for String Quartet

My starting point for A New Fugue was my exposition in C Major. I chose a


simple arpeggio to simplify my initial tasks during Exposition and allow for a real
answer. When it was time to transpose my subject to the Dominant I added the scalic
finish (see bar 16) ending in the Leading Note of the Dominant; in this case G. I
used this finish throughout most of A New Fugue to help solidify modulations. My
approach to harmony in the accompaniment of the Exposition section (bar 12-24) is
from the Subject-outwards, (as opposed to bottom-upwards) beginning with the
inversions of C major (bar 13 onwards). I found some of the Tonic / Median based
chords heavy, so I generally voiced the Tonic/ Median higher, mostly in Violin 1. The
overall effect is that it sounds lighter, and most of the time doesnt lose its clarity of
tonality. Where there was aural doubt, I decided to make a feature of it, and the tonal
ambiguity became a motif I developed towards the later sections (bars 47-55).
I next moved to develop my subject, now in the relative minor of the Dominant, E
minor. I gave this section a fiery agitation and energy befitting the key of hell. I
used contrasting and irregular rhythms to agitate the sense of pulse, while at the
same time voicing the harmony from bottom-up to give grim clarity. I next began a
sequence of a full (beginning and ending in E minor) Circle of Fifths (bars 31-38). I
highlighted and made use of the opportunities for dissonance with suspensions (Bars
31 & 33) and made generally an important role of the leading note throughout to
further cement the tonality.
I ended the Circle of Fifths, initially, with a Violin 1-led ascending chromatic scale,
though I later changed voicing to highlight the dissonance (bar 40) and wrote
another suspension. I ended the Scale with a stratospheric Dominant B in Violin 1
and brought the voices to a hush with descending passages, leading onto a strettoed presentation of my subject in E minor which ends on a paused Diminished 5 th
chord leading onto the short tonal ambiguity Cadenza (bar 47-56) which after a
fashion, arrives on the leading note of the Tonic.
We arrive back in back in the Tonic C major for the final section, where an
augmented version of the subject is stated in each voice, with some flourishing
accompaniment. I finished the section with a Dominant pedal in the Bass, with my
subject again stretto-ed in each voice. A surprise Diminished 7 th chord, and final
Tonic C major finish.
I reviewed my work and decided to add the introduction section (Bars 1-12) later, to
give the piece more shape as a whole, and also for taste reasons. To balance out my
later development section in E minor, I wrote the Adagio in the Tonic minor, and
made it a series of suspensions mostly, influenced by Lotties Crucifixus (hence the
resolving quaver figures bar 2, 3, 4, & 6)
Looking back, I would have liked to have more variation in texture generally; initially
I didnt feel confident enough to tackle larger forces than a quartet. I would also have
liked to explore the playing techniques of the string instruments more. I also notice

upon listening that a few of my modulations- especially between sections- though


they work harmonically, the feel rushed/ clumsy; I think that its because of a lack of
attention to pulse on my part. I would work on them and extend them slightly, to
smooth the cracks. And perhaps my surprise Dim 7th is a bit of a clich.