Monday, November 18, 2013

Diabelli Project 019 - Fugue in E-flat lydian mode

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

OK, this one represents a mashup of styles. The modes represented the various ways one could organize a scale. If you think of just using the white keys on a piano, Dorian mode would be the white keys from D to D; Phrygian from E to E; Lydian from F to F, and so on. There were eight possible modes one could use, each with a slightly different (and to our ears) and exotic sound.

One of the biggest changes around 1600, the transition from the renaissance to the baroque, was the dropping of all but two of those old modes; which became major and minor. It was during the baroque period that fugal writing really took off. And so, writing a fugue (a Baroque form), in E-flat lydian (a renaissance form), is a little odd. But that's how the thing turned out.

 What would you do with this sketch? Keep it in the mode it starts in? Since modal keys don't have the same strong relationships that major and minor have, modulation would be perhaps more difficult. Or would it? As always, if you decide to take on the challenge, let me know how your version of this sketch turns out!

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