The play that I wrote music for, actually variations on a theme in the public domain, opens this weekend. It’s part of a night of two one acts by women, Sex & God by Linda McClean and Lamentations of the Pelvis by Sibyl O’Malley. The production is by the award-winning and always interesting Son of Semele Ensemble in Los Angeles. Get tickets here.
In working on the music which were all variations on the Coulters Candy theme, also known as Ally Bally Bee, the director Barbara Kallir was describing to me a need for some thicker more complex textures and perhaps an interweaving of melodies.
“Do you mean like a fugue?” I asked.
Definition of Fugue from onMusic dictionary.
A form of composition popular in, but not restricted to, the Baroque era, in which a theme or subject is introduced by one voice, and is imitated by other voices in succession. Usually only the first few notes of the subject are imitated exactly, then each voice deviates slightly until the next time it enters again with the subject. Generally the voices overlap and weave in and out of each other forming a continuous, tapestry-like texture.
Whoa, I’ve never written a fugue I thought to myself. Isn’t Bach only allowed to write that intricate stuff?
“Sure, a fugue. I’ll get right on it Barbara.” I said half-jokingly.
Since the melody was already written and was a very simple jingle, perhaps I could do something like this. It’s funny because I spent a few years composing jingles and music for advertising and now I was creating a musical score based on a jingle! The original song was to sell candy, but because it was so hummable and infectious, the melody has lasted for generations to the point that all Scottish elders know the tune.
So, I thought about it a little bit, doodled on the piano and guitar and then went to sleep. I find that my best work comes from connecting to the source, the muse, the great GoogaMooga in the sky, a.k.a. God while I’m sleeping.
At 5 am on a Saturday I awoke, went to the computer and started writing out this fugue in Sibelius. Now I don’t claim to come close to being Bach, but I thought it came out pretty good for a first fugue.
Download PDF Ally Bally Bee fugue sheet music
Here’s the final result. I didn’t have time to record acoustically so these are actually generated right out of Sibelius 7.5 – a pretty nice upgrade from my previous version of 6.0.