So, last year I started this project where I would be writing a large set of canons. Then I kind of forgot about it as I started composing other pieces and then writing a book. But now, I’m getting back to it. There are many reasons I’m doing this project, here they are:
- I love listening to canons, be they my own or those by another composer. I especially love those written by Bach, who is the inspiration behind this project of mine
- I like composing canons, to the point that lots of my pieces incorporate canon into the piece, even if it’s not called a canon. Like my symphony that I’m taking a break from has a canon in its introduction and the C minor theme is a stretto of a thematic idea that first occurs in the Cellos and Contrabasses
- Besides free counterpoint, as in like a chorale or something like that, the Canon is the next easiest contrapuntal form of music for me, certainly easier for me than the fugue
- I like writing sets of pieces just as much as I like writing standalone pieces
These are the canons for which I both know that I will include them and where they will appear in the set:
Canons I - VIII → 2 voice canons at every interval (Canon I being a Canon at the Unison all the way up to Canon VIII being a Canon at the Octave)
Canons IX - XVI → 3 voice canons at every interval
Canons XVII - XXIV → 4 voice canons at every interval
Canon XXV → Canon of Inversion aka Mirror Canon
Canon XXVI → Canon of Retrograde aka Crab Canon
Canon XXVII → Canon of Retrograde Inversion aka Table Canon
The one canon that I know I will include, but for which I don’t know where it will appear in the set is the Canon of Augmentation. The ones for which I don’t know if I will include, but am definitely considering are these:
Canon of Diminution → I’m just worried that it would be kind of redundant since I already have a Canon of Augmentation, but maybe I’m wrong and it wouldn’t be redundant?
Combinations of previous contrapuntal devices + intervals → So like Canon of Retrograde at the Fifth or Canon of Inversion and Augmentation, things along those lines.
Spiral Canon aka Circular Canon aka Modulating Canon → It would be interesting. I’ve written modulations in canons before, but not a true Modulating Canon, as none of my canons that have modulations have entries of the canon repeating in a cycle of keys.
Double or Triple Canon → The most difficult, as I basically have to treat it constantly like how I would treat subject and countersubject in a fugue, constant invertible counterpoint, and thus I’m pretty sure that only 4 intervals would work for this type of canon, those being Unison, Third, Fifth, and Octave. Out of these, the Octave would probably be my easiest bet. If I include them, they will probably be the final canons of the set.
I’m not going to force myself a deadline on this, there’s just too much for me to be able to force a deadline, plus, I don’t like forcing deadlines when I don’t have to, as I often don’t finish by the deadline anyway, or it’s so close to the deadline that I start really feeling that pressure. A couple of pieces Bach wrote that inspired me to write my set of canons are the 14 Canons over the Theme from the Goldberg Variations and A Musical Offering.