This Is a Canon?



Performance time: 1:40; Forces: 3-part equal voices, piano; Meter: 3/4; Tempo: Liltingly, q = 90; Language: English

This is a canon, actually, a so-called simple one in three parts, with the melody imitated at the unison/octave every eight measures. The text considers (with an arched eyebrow) the homophone and homograph possibilities of the term canon, and attempts a lawyerly definition applied to music. The wide melody, mighty leaps, deliciously prepared (if I do say so myself) dissonances, ascending diminished chords, and climactic Neapolitan-six-three harmony combine for an inexplicably romantic ode to a minor compositional form — too much fun. It was written to round out a little concert-set of canons that began with Dona Nobis Pacem and proceeded to a somewhat ribald Mozart number; it came with the express intent of taking the music out of the deedle-deedle/tonic-dominant ghetto most canons live in.