The Article of Fugue1
It is well documented that Johann Sebastian Bach really really liked music. He could often be spotted, wandering around his garden in Leipzig, pruning his roses, and going 'tum - tiddly - tum - tiddly - um - pom pom'. Local villagers, walking past, would tip their hats
to him, and ask, in perfect German, ' So, how are we today Mr B?'. On hearing this, Bach was known to look up from his greenfly, touch his nose, wink and reply 'I am very musical, thank you very much.'. Then the villagers would all smile and look at each other
and say 'Gee, that Bach, he really likes his music'. So, it must be true.
Normally, during this period of Thuringian 2 history, going to church was a really boring thing to do. Villagers would sit in serried ranks watching some maniac in a sack going '... blah blah blah... God... blah blah blah ' But this was not how things went in Leipzig. There, the villagers just loved going to church. Sometimes they went as
much as twice a month.
Why? - you might ask, though there wouldn't be much point, because I can't hear you. The answer, of course, is this: Half way through the service, a small sausage dog would appear, floating above the alter, attached to a balloon. This stout little dog would proudly hold up a
card, on which was written, in perfect German:
'And now, a musical interlude'
Then a spotlight came on, and Bach appeared, magnificent, in a pink and white spangled suit. The audience would gasp in anticipation as Bach introduced the band: Sonny Blue-Eyes on Bass, Mick the Shingle on drums and Herr Leopold Von Brukenthall on jazz guitar. Bach would take his place at the organ, say 'Hit it boys' and launch into a two-handed over-easy version of 'Sheep May Safely Graze' The applause could be heard almost as far as Luneburg
Now, it should be noted that some of the villagers had some nasty things to say about Bach. Some claimed that he was a robot or that he put rabbits in the tumble drier. Some said that he liked all kinds of music, including Rod Stewart and people hitting rocks with sticks. But
none of this was true. Bach only liked a very special kind of mathematical music, made using triangles and complicated sums.
In fact, when it comes down to it, most of the great composers only like a specific type of music. Mozart, for example, liked music made from special cakes and paper doilies, all covered in icing and stuffed full of marzipan. Beethoven liked music made from the thunderstorms
that he kept in his kitchen, hidden in the cupboard under the sink. Wagner liked music made from eagles and Gustav Mahler liked music made from the tears of frightened woodland creatures. So there is nothing weird about Bach liking mathematical music. It was perfectly normal.
What Bach would do if he was alive today.
Well, the first thing he would do, obviously, is go:
'Bloody heck, look at all those lights and where did all the horses go and what's this square thing, and what are those things those people with wheels on their feet are eating, and what the heck is this???? and how come nothing is made of wood, and help, help me, get me out of here, ahhhhhhhhh'
But then, after a bit, I think that we can be almost scientifically certain that he would settle down, buy a computer and write articles for the h2g2 Post. And, of course, he wouldn't just write any old rubbish, like I do, he would write special mathematical articles made from corners. So, now, as a special treat, I shall attempt to re-create the sort of thing he would write today: The Article of Fugue.
At last, we get to the point
Now, I should point out, that a really great fugue features three voices, which means that I can't simply make one up all by myself. I require the help of two assistants. So, to this end, I have recruited my cat ('hello) and my guinea pig ('hello) to write voices two and three respectively. Please, then, give it up for...
my guinea pig!...
[INSERTS BIG SPACE HERE FOR READER TO APPLAUD]
Ok, here we go...
Voice one [Funderlik] (Subject):
'Oooohhhhhh, welcome to my fugue, my beautiful fugue, like a horse, or a donkey, all shiney, after a rainstorm...'
Voice one [Funderlik] (counter-subject):
'or a not-horse or a not-donkey and it didn't rain at all... hhhhhhoooO'
Voice two [Cat] (Subject):
' This is b******ks, Funderlik. Stop it now.'
Voice two [Cat] (counter subject - modified):
' F*** off with your 'counter subject - modified'. This doesn't work and its stupid. Where's my fish fingers?'
Voice one [Funderlik] (Free development):
' You just had to go and ruin it, didn't you, like an agent provocateur, lost, in a thunderstorm.. '
Voice two [Cat] (Free development):
'Yep, damn right, and one day, you're going to thank me. '
Voice one plus Voice two [Funderlik and Cat] (Cadenza):
'Right then, see you in the car park, 3am, no weapons, no spitting'
Voice three [Guinea Pig]:
'Squeak ....... squeaaaaaaaaaak .... sqeaaaak squeaaaakk,...'
Oh, for Gods sake...