String Orchestra
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Canon for Strings : Sean O'Boyle
Canon - a contrapuntal compositional technique that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played at various measured intervals of time. The term originates from the Greek kanon, which literally means "ruler" or "a measuring stick." Figuratively, kanon also refers to "a standard," "rule," or "law." Through the 18th century the word used to describe strict imitation was "fuga", and only in the 16th century did the word "canon" begin to be used to describe the musical form created by such a procedure. The earliest known canons are English rounds, a form called rondellus starting in the 13th century . Around this time period many canons were written in Italy under the name caccia and occasionally French chansons of that period used canon technique. During the period of the Franco-Flemish School (1430-1550), canon as a contrapuntal art form received its greatest development, while the Roman School gave it its most complete application. In the 18th century, Johann Sebastian Bach created two monumental canon cycles in his Art of the Fugue & Goldberg Variations. Notable 20th century composers Arnold Schoenberg, Anton von Webern and Paul Hindemith revived interest in canon. Canons, such as "Frere Jacques" and "Row, Row, Row your boat" are a part of many singing traditions. I wrote this work as an alternative to the much loved canon of Pachelbel.