Three Canonic Duos

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For two violins, two violas or two cellos

From Telemann’s Opus 5.

The Sonatas Opus 5 by Telemann composed in 1738 remain one of the minor masterpieces of Baroque music. Few composers of that period managed to create such intricate and delightful music from so little.

The canon was an ever-present device in music of the Baroque and there are few compositions that don’t include imitative counterpoint.

Making a whole composition out of a strict canon is still a challenge for the composer, and one that it has been fascinating to take up.

I first heard the Telemann canons played by two friends for the sheer joy of playing together. My three canonic duos are written for the same friends to enjoy in a similar spirit.

Unlike Telemann I have written a proper performing score showing both parts and, all but the first duo, massaged the endings so that both parts come together at the end.

Telemann wrote his duos as three-movement  sonatas. My three duos can be regarded as a single work sharing thematic material. The first two duos share exactly the same pitch sets, with the third being based on an inverted set of the first.

The melodic and rhythmic material comes from generating graphs of modulated sine-waves using a development version of the Opusmodus software.


Violin score [pdf]
Viola score [pdf]
Cello score [pdf]Simulation for two violins [mp3]

Opusmodus code [zip]