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Timothy A. Smith

D. M. A. Professor, Music Theory, NAU



How to Use the Counterpoint Companion to Create an Animated Fugue Timeline


The Counterpoint Companion is a Hypercard stack (Mac only) which allows you to create animated timelines of fugues, chorale preludes, and inventions. While completed timelines will run on Hypercard Player, the full programmer's version of Hypercard is required to create new timelines. The Companion creates timelines by prompting the user to enter information, such as how many parts, how many measures, etc. Animated timelines are calibrated to the CD of your choice and begin playing in the measure you click. The timeline animates the repositioning of voices that are contrapuntally, or melodically, inverted. You can download the Companion from my homepage. Before creating a timeline you will need to have analyzed your fugue or chorale prelude. If you have not done this, study the following page: analyzing a fugue.

CHECKLIST: Basically you will be looking for the following structures which the computer will ask you to identify in the following order. Remember that not every piece of music contains every one of these; if yours doesn't just click none when given the option:

1. How many voices are there?

2. How many measures are there in each section?

3. How would you describe each section: exposition? development? or concluding passage (coda or codetta)? Remember that a coda ends the entire work; if you choose to call a section a coda the computer will terminate the creation of new sections after it.

4. How many entries of the subject and comprising what measures? In inventions, how many entries of the motive? In chorale preludes, in what measure and voices does the cantus firmus appear?

5. In fugues, how many entries of the countersubject (if any), and in what measures?

6. In what measures does primary material appear in contrary motion (melodic inversion)?

7. In what measures do sequences appear? Sequences are of two kinds: ascending (symbolized by ///) or descending (\\\)

8. What measures participate in canon?

9. What measures contain primary material in augmentation?

10. What measures contain primary material in diminution?

11. What measures contain pedal point?

12. What measures are empty?

13. What measures contain contrapuntal inversion? This is tricky! You may not want to try this.

14. The computer will allow you at this point to nudge measures forward or backward slightly. I would advise that you skip this feature as it sometimes makes the measure collapse, never to be seen again!

Be advised that most of the steps within each section of the instructions (A, B, C, etc.) are executable only one time. If you make a mistake in the creation of your timeline (section A), for example, it is not possible to continue the process. You will have to start over from a fresh copy of the CD-companion. Section B is the most forgiving; it allows flubbed calibrations to be re-done. It also allows for the calibration of timelines to three different performances.

After you have created your timeline, save a copy. When you are ready to calibrate your timeline to a compact disk recording (section II), be sure to work from that copy and not the original. This way, if you encounter a system crash while calibrating, you can return to the timeline and start over.

It is your responsibility to execute the following instructions properly. In view of the fact that there are 40 students in the class, your instructor will not have time to debug or custom-make your program.


To Create the Time-Line:

1. Open the Counterpoint Companion by double clicking on it.

2. Pull down the Edit menu to New Card

3. Pull down the Design menu to Create time line

4. The computer will walk you through from there. You must have analyzed the fugue in order to respond to the computer's questions.


To Calibrate the Timeline to a Compact Disk:

1. Pull down the Design menu to Calibrate to compact disk. Before you do this, study the CD jacket to estimate (in minutes and seconds) the elapsed time from the beginning of the disk to the beginning of your fugue. Enter that elapsed time as a whole number representing the minutes separated from another whole number (representing seconds) separated by a comma: e.g. 26,15 means you would estimate the fugue to begin 26 minutes and 15 seconds into the disk.

2. The computer will step you through the calibration process. At the conclusion of the calibration the computer will ask if you want to insert the beginning and ending timings for a related movement. If you are analyzing a fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier, for example, it would be nice to hear the accompanying prelude. As in step 1, study the CD jacket to estimate (in minutes and seconds) the elapsed time from the beginning of the disk to the beginning of the prelude. Follow the computer's instructions from there.


To Add an Annotation: (optional step for Mus 303 project):

1. Pull down the Study menu to Show annotation. The first time you show this field it will be unlocked so that you can type in your annotation. Thereafter the field will be locked. To edit a locked field, click in it with the shift key depressed.


To Add a Graphic of the Fugue's Exposition: (optional)

1. Create a Prose or Finale rendition of the fugue's exposition

2. Take a picture of the exposition by depressing apple/shift/3

3. Open superpaint. If your computer has the simple text application it should be possible to double click on the Picture icon (desktop) and skip steps 3-4.

4. Use the open menu in Superpaint and navigate to the last Picture on the desktOp.

5. Copy the picture

6. If you wish to add labels or other items, paste the picture into Superpaint then edit it.

7. Copy the picture one more time then quit Superpaint

8. Open ResEdit and navigate to your Counterpoint Companion. (Make sure, at this point, that you are working from a copy of your Companion. A mistake at this point could spell disaster!

9. Double click on the Counterpoint Companion icon and paste in the picture.

10. Double click on the picture and give it a name. Remember the name...the computer will ask for it shortly!

11. Quit ResEdit and open your Counterpoint Companion.

12. Pull down the Study menu to Show score. Follow the directions from there.



Published on Kunst der Fuge with the kind permission by the Author 1996, Timothy A. Smith, D. M. A. Professor, Music Theory, NAU.

The Treatise on canons and fugues

Anatomy of a Canon
Why Bach writes canons?
Anatomy of a Fugue
How to analyze a Fugue?
Fugue Timeline
The Art of the Fugue

The above texts or parts of them may not be published without prior permission of the Author.


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