Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Using the same expedient again...

I simply chose another of my earlier rhythmic canons and selected my pitches with care.

Another matinee of Showboat...
It's good to have these working methods when free time is so scarce.

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Saturday April, 25 2009

Very busy days...

Today I have two shows (2 & 8 pm) of Showboat (I'm playing banjo and guitar in the pit orchestra) -- so time is tight.

What I did for today's canon:

Continuing with the Liadov cantus firmus, I selected a rhythmic canon that I wrote back in March and used that for the basis of this one. I simply chose pitches that would work. It's pretty easy to proceed this way -- I'll likely do something similar tomorrow.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Canon Below the Liadov Cantus Firmus

This one imitates at the sixth above -- with both canonic voices below the cantus.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Canon "Above & Below" the Liadov Cantus

Just as the title says -- this one imitates at a ninth below -- one voice above the C.F. and one below.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A very busy week -- nearing the end of the semester, teaching during the day and playing in a pit orchestra every evening -- I'll take an easy route and write more canons based on the Liadov cantus firmus.

This one is a canon in two voices above the C.F. The interval of imitation is the fourth above.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

when short in time, expand on earlier work...

An elaboration on yesterday's canon using simple passing tones and suspensions.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Modal Shift

By changing the Liadov cantus firmus from major to phrygian, I was able to make a first-species type canon at the 7th below.

Simple -- but begging for elaboration...

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Canon on the Liadov Cantus Firmus

Actually, it is an elaboration of yesterday's canon.

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Saturday April 18, 2009

Since this is a long weekend for me (Patriots Day), I've decided to take it easy. I'm still writing the canons but they'll all be pretty straightforward.

Here's one on a cantus firmus by Russian composer, Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914). He wrote 12 canons on it. I'll use it for a few, as well.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another elaboration on the canon from Wednesday.

The effort here was to "sound different" than either Wednesday's or yesterday's canons.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elaborating Yesterday's canon at the 7th

Simple elaboration by passing tones and figuration.

Compare it to yesterday's to see how I did it. There's no mystery to this process...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A "Simple Form" Canon for Tax Day

The pitches of this canon are derived from the word "tax" and my two favorite parts of the process: deductions and refunds.

Here is how ir works:

tAx DEDuCtion tAx rEFunD

Giving a theme of:


Today, I'm keeping it simple -- in the form of 1st species counterpoint. It imitates at the 7th below.

Tomorrow, I'll elaborate it.

(click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Double Canon on a Hungarian Folksong

This folk tune was used by Brahms in his Opus 21 #2, Variationen ├╝ber ein ungarisches Lied. He set it in alternating measures of 3/4 and 4/4. I considered that but really believe that the tune is in 7. Well, that and the fact that changing meters every measure is a pain in Finale...

Anyway, the tune is in the 1st and 3rd parts and works with only a tiny inflectional difference from Brahms' setting as a canon against itself. My added parts are in voices 2 and 4.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Canon at one eighth note

Similar in style and intent to yesterday's, this one is based on a minor key diatonic circle of fifths.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lessons from Mozart

I was reading through some Mozart again and found a canon in part of his K. 576 Piano Sonata.

Here is the excerpt:

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I've decided to do likewise, basing my canon, as Mozart did, on scalewise passages and arpeggios.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Another Omnibus Canon

This one is a three-voice elaboration of the progression that I used yesterday.

I resolved the last chord of the omnibus differently at the cadence.

The descending bassline from yesterday's canon is incorporated into the other parts -- so this one works without the non-canonical bass.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

100th canon and post

This canon is a straightforward version of a voice leading paradigm that theorist Victor Fell Yellin has called the omnibus.

It's an elaborate voice exchange that takes advantage of enharmonic reinterpretation.

(click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, April, 9 2009

Octatonic Inversion

The octatonic scale, being a series of alternating half and whole steps, is perfectly suited to inversion canons.

This one is a canon at the fifth in inversion.

The one challenge I had with this one was that, since I had decided not to cross voices, I left myself with a fairly restricted range. If I were to do this again, I'd make it a canon at the 12th instead.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm working with the octatonic scale for a few days. This is a scale with many possibilities.

Today -- a simple canon at the octave.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Elaborating yesterday's canon

OK -- so I didn't elaborate it very much. I wanted to simply take yesterday's very simple voice leading paradigm and make it a bit more musical.

It's a busy week -- so I'm inclined toward keeping things simple.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Previously, I've worked with the whole tone scale in ways that avoided the overly-augmented-chord sound. Working "against the grain" so to speak.

In today's canon, I attempt the same with the octatonic (diminished) scale. As I have already demonstrated, this scale can very easily generate diminished seventh chords. This canon is written to cycle through the four major and four minor triads that exist in this scale.

The lower two voices are in an exact canon at one beat temporal distance and a minor third above.

The upper voice can either be though of as a doubling of the comes (starting a fourth above) or as an additional canonic voice that is inexact in intervals because of its position above the dux.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009


Yesterday I mentioned that the diminished seventh chord divides the octave into four equal parts. This means that symmetrical passages involving the chromatic scale can outline the chord as well.

In the same spirit as yesterday's offering, today's canon is a demonstration of that fact.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The diminished chord and the octatonic (or diminished) scale are both symmetrical structures.

The diminished seventh chord divides the octave into four equal parts:

E (m3) G (m3) Bb (m3) Db (m3) E
The diminished scale is made up of two diminished seventh chords.
In this case:

E G Bb Db and B D F Ab

It (the scale) divides each minor third of the chord into a half step and whole step.

Todays canon is in the spirit of J.S. Bach's Trias Harmonica -- not really an artistic canon but a demonstration of the facts outlined above.

(click on image to enlarge)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday, April 4, 2009

Canon on a Chord from Bartok.

The chord in question is this:

B E F# G A D

It lays out symmetrically :

P4, M2, m2, M2, P4

I've used it as a scale for this canon in inversion because of that symmetry.

(click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

3:1 Mensuration Canon

Another mensuration canon. In this one, the upper part moves at three times the rate of the lower.

Again the scale is the ancient Greek enharmonic pentatonic.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Canon in Inversion on the enharmonic pentatonic

For this canon, I used the enharmonic pentatonic

and its inversion
E G# A B D# E

to create a canon in inversion in 7/8 time.

(click on image to enlarge)