You can't un-see that image.
"Oops!...I did it again I played with your heart, got lost in the game Oh baby, baby Oops!...You think I'm in love That I'm sent from above I'm not that innocent" - Britney Spears
In my teen years I was too busy listening to Limp Bizkit to notice the hidden gem in Britney's 2000 hit, "Oops!... I Did It Again." Now, no one will ever repeat that fateful mistake again. You're welcome, America.
I apologize for my long hiatus on new posts - lots of new and exciting things are happening in my personal life right now and I've had to put writing on the back burner for a bit. But enough about me. If Bach Wrote... (IBW) is a personal project of mine where I regularly pick an iconic tune from pop culture, extract melodic material from it, and compose a fugue with that melody as the subject.
So far I've tackled Journey and Lil Jon, and I've been pretty surprised with the large audience both pieces have acquired (relative to what I'm used to). If you've listened to those two pieces, thank you! Who knew that polyphony could still be popular in the 21st century?
Bubblegum pop is often given the cold shoulder by musicologists, but the refrain of "Oops!... I Did It Again" makes for a fascinating fugue subject. Listen here - you can skip to 0:50 to hear the refrain, but you'd be missing out on some slick bass playing by Thomas Lindberg.
This piece is a rare five-voice fugue, meaning there are up to five independent melodies happening in parallel. Most composers hesitate to write five-voice fugues (Bach only has a handful to his name): they tend to border on a "chorale" like sound, which can sound overly "vertical" and suffer from a lack of true polyphony. On top of that, most fugue subject are either too busy or have to wide of a tonal range to accommodate for five voices. "Oops!... I Did It Again" is slow enough (I slowed it down to 60bpm) and compact enough (within a sixth) that I decided to throw caution to the wind and give five voices a shot. Here's what the subject looks like on paper:
Subject, in C# minor: i V i VII III i E: V I
Answer, in E major: I V I vi c#: iidim V
The exposition makes use of two countersubjects, but only countersubject 2 is reused in the development section:
The tonal outline of the piece is:
- (mm1) C# minor
- (~mm18) E major
- (~mm21) A major
- (~mm24) F# minor
- (~mm27) A major
- (mm33) C# minor
- (mm44) D# minor
- (mm49) B major
- (mm52) C# minor
View the full score here on Noteflight.
Oops!... You tweeted me again: @jbones3000