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"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.

Full Audio

Triumphant Return

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?

The Original

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:

IBW Oops I Did It Again Subject

Subject, in C# minor: i V i VII III i E: V I

The tonal answer is in the relative major:

IBW Oops I Did It Again Answer

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:

IBW Oops I Did It Again Countersubject 1

Countersubject 1

bach-oops-IBW Oops I Did It Again Countersubject 2

Countersubject 2

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

The Score

View the full score here on Noteflight.

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