On Imitation

All the kinds of imitation mentioned in the two preceding sections may be treated in three, four, and even a larger number of parts. Azzopardi, a Maltese composer, made use of two given subjects, upon which it is good practice to write all sorts of imitations, either in an interval above, or in an interval below. This method may first be pursued; it can be nothing other than extremely advantageous in the study of imitations, and will help the pupil in his labor.

These are the two subjects from Azzopardi:

First subject

Second subject

Examples of imitations (from Azzopardi) in three and four parts, on these subjects (viz. Imitations in two parts, on this given subject):

In three parts

In four parts

In Example 152d, there is one part which merely appertains to the whole, and has no analogy with imitation; wherefore it has been called ad libitum. This will be requisite, when four parts are taken, and when no more is written upon the given subject than a single imitation between the two other parts. If three parts in imitation upon the given subject are written, there would then be two consequents, which both would imitate the theme proposed by the antecedent, at the same interval, or at a differing one. After having practiced treating imitation upon a given subject in two parts only, with or without a fourth part, ad libitum, from imitation at the unison, up to imitation at the octave, inclusively, the exercise above stated, must be undertaken: to introduce the two consequents, by means of which a double imitation will be attained.

Before proceeding, it should be remarked, that this given subject may be written (if needed) in semibreves 1) instead of breves 2), thus:

When once the pupil shall have sufficiently worked on imitations between two and three parts upon the two given subjects, he should practice treating imitation in three, and then in four parts, upon a given subject of his own. It will be necessary that he should consult Marpurg's work, on this point, in order to see all the combinations of the intervals, by means of which imitations may be made. It is for the sake of having a great number of examples beneath the view, that the pupil is advised to consult Marpurg's work. Here are two examples of imitations, one in three parts, and the other in four, which will suffice as a sketch of this kind of exercise:

Example in three parts – Canonic imitation

Example in four parts – Regular canonic imitation

The pupil should also practice treating imitation in five, in six, in seven, and in eight voices, either upon given basses, or by inverting imitations without and of these basses; that is to say, by himself composing the whole. Parts ad libitum, or parts of accompaniment, might be mingled, if the student cannot succeed in making regular imitations, in all the parts.

Before closing this section, mention will be made of another kind of imitation, which may be introduced in eight parts, by means of two choirs. This imitation comes under the denomination of inverse contrary imitation.

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  • Last modified: 2018/08/10 20:56
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