Monday, July 23, 2012

Canon in 5

Canon in 5

So I've been experimenting today with an idea I had on how to write a canon without needing to know a lot of music theory. I want to explain the method I used in a later post, but here's the result of a test drive with a short theme repeated 5 times.

To conceive this 5 part fugue using the method I invented (or more likely: rediscovered :-) ) was a matter of a few minutes. The creation of the score and the rendering to audio and video took a bit longer.

You can hear the synthesizer version here:

You can download the score by clicking this link. And here's a preview of the score:



  1. I tried analyzing this score a bit after reading your other post on your process. Can you verify if I've been on the right track:

    1. You began with a two bar melody.
    2. Wrote four parts underneath.
    3. Serialized (to get the first 10 bars).
    4. Used various combinations of the phrases from the first 10 bars to create the next 10 bars.
    5. Staggered the entries for each voice to enter after every two bars.

    Am I even close? :)

    I like the piece by the way. Thanks for posting.

  2. My previous reply was incorrect :) Actually the article you read is the explanation of how this piece is written. It is still correct that the more advanced articles are collected in one list here:

    Anyway... it's been quite long ago since I made that. I started from a simple chord progression which I don't remember (ouch!)... looking at the score and "mentally reversing the method" it probably must have been something like

    Dm7, G7/D, CMaj7, Am/C (2 chords per bar)

    (With G7/D i mean the inversion of G7 that starts on a note d; similarly with Am/C I mean the inversion
    of Am that starts on note c). Once I had my initial chord progression, I "spiced it up" to add rhytmic and harmonic interest, then serialized it, switched some notes between voices to make the melodies sound better, and let the method do its work. (These are really just the basic techniques from the first article).

    There was no need to use combinations of phrases from the first bars to create the next bars (that's a trick I used in the 6-part invention, detailed in a later article). Once I had the serialized choral, I just had to stack 3 more copies of the same material on top of each other (with a suitable delay).

    1. Another mistake (my oh my!) I wrote out the chords using 5 notes. This resulted in 5 different voices that can play together. So instead of stacking "3" more copies of the material, I should have written I stacked "4" more copies of the material.

  3. Ok, I understand what you did. Thank you for explaining further.