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Prelude and Fugue, (Prelude) Clay Allen
When many people think of twelve-tone music, they cringe, recalling incredibly dissonant music that can sound disorganized and lacking in direction. In writing the “Prelude and Fugue”, I made it my goal to manipulate the twelve-tone medium in a way that could be more accessible to the listener. For the prelude, I devised a row (a non-repetitive order of twelve pitches) composed of several triads that move from one to another, creating a sense of forward motion. Nearly the entire movement is built around this allusion to harmonic chord progression. In contrast, the fugue employs a row constructed to serve the melodic needs of the fugue subject. Consonant intervals of fifths, thirds, and sixths between the three voices are constantly exploited in order to avoid the harsh, dissonant sounds that are commonly associated with twelve-tone music.