Friday, January 16, 2009

augmentation / diminution

Feeling a bit guilty for trying to make more of a political than musical statement, I get myself back on track today.

There are potential problems when writing canons in diminution or augmentation:

1) Fast passages in the "long-note voice" of the canon can sound neurotic or at least awkward in the "short-note voice."
2) The short-note voice finishes in half the time (assuming that the ratio is 2:1).
3) If the solution to #2 is to simply repeat the short-note voice again, the canon could sound too repetitious.

I tackled these problems in the manner described below.

For #1, I simply kept the note values within a limited range. If I wanted to be more adventurous (and had the time to work it out), I could have been more bold. There's plenty of time for that (350 canons to go...).

For #2 & #3:

Well, this is a bit more complicated. First, you'll note that I do the long-note part twice. -- once in the lower part and then, starting in measure 13, in the upper part.
By making this part forty six beats long (11 measures of 4/4 and one of 2/4), I insured that the short-note part (23 beats) would start its repeat in a different metrical position (on a different part of the measure). This gave a certain balance between repetition and contrast.

Starting in measure 13, the parts switch. Simple ways of keeping interest despite the repetition...

Oh, the reason I used "augmentation/diminution" in the title instead of choosing one or the other is that with both parts starting simultaneously, neither description seems more appropriate than the other.

But you probably knew that.

(click on image to enlarge)

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