"So you want to write a canon?" An historically-informed new approach for the modern theory class

Collins, Denis (2008) "So you want to write a canon?" An historically-informed new approach for the modern theory class. College Music Symposium, 48 108-123. doi:10.2307/25664812

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Author Collins, Denis
Title "So you want to write a canon?" An historically-informed new approach for the modern theory class
Journal name College Music Symposium
ISSN 0069-5696
Publication date 2008
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2307/25664812
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 48
Start page 108
End page 123
Total pages 15
Editor Glenn Stanley
Place of publication Missoula, MT, United States
Publisher College Music Society
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Formatted abstract
Canonic writing has been part of the education of music students for centuries. Considered a routine means of elaborating primary musical material in the Renaissance, it maintained an important place in the didactic writings of later periods. Yet perusals of historical treatises as well as modern counterpoint texts usually reveal very little information about how to compose a canon apart from a step-by-step approach involving writing a short amount of material in one part, copying it into a second part after a predetermined time distance, finding suitable material to continue the first part, and repeating this process until the end of the piece...

The method I will present here focuses on two-part canonic imitation in regular motion, which is typically a student's first encounter with the topic and for which a systematic set of guidelines would be useful. I will not consider in detail every canonic possibility from unison to octave above or below, but instead focus on certain cases which can serve as models for writing other types of canon. The final part of my discussion will consider two-part canonic writing in the presence of a cantus firmus, examples of which abound in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theoretical and practical sources for canon.
Keyword Modern music theory
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Non-Traditional Research Outputs (individual items)
School of Music Publications
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Created: Fri, 13 Nov 2009, 12:18:32 EST by Mrs Gaylene Wagner on behalf of School of Music