Never gonna give you up Never gonna let you down Never gonna run around And desert you - Stock Aitken Waterman, as performed by Rick Astley
My colleague, Dan, recently changed our conference call hold music to Rick Astley's 1987 hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up." Little did he know that I had been sitting on an almost-finished homage to Mr. Astley for the better part of two years. A new job and a new child later, I've finally put the finishing touches on "If Bach Wrote.... Never Gonna Give You Up." I take great pleasure in being able to do a completely original Rick Roll of the internet.
About this series
For those who aren't familiar, this piece is part of a series of fugues called If Bach Wrote. The premise is simple: extract a memorable tune (or tunes) from pop music with minimal alteration, and write a fugue with that tune as the subject.
This is a three-voice fugue in the key that Astley sang it: A-flat major (!?). I made one key modification: the time signature. Instead of the standard 4/4 time signature, I opted to go with 3/8. It just sounds more like a Baroque dance this way, and allowed me to take advantage of the "bouncy" nature of the rhythms.
I chose the melody of the chorus as a subject:
There is a tonal answer:
Passages of note
- mm78: the subject is stated in double augmentation, and several times thereafter
- mm133: the subject is stated in B-flat minor with a B-flat pedal tone in voice III
- mm1: A-flat major
- mm34: F minor
- mm43: A-flat major
- mm51: D-flat major
- mm78: E-flat major
- mm99: F minor
- mm121: A-flat major
- mm124: D-flat major
- mm133: B-flat minor
- mm160: A-flat major
Or view and listen to the full score here.
Keep the conversation going
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