Today I found myself in a bit of a fugue state, and it wasn’t all that bad. So I decided I would make a candy button machine to create fugue states.
Drawing inspiration from Xiao’s comment about the circle of fifths, I realized that if I could make a melody go around the entire circle of fifths, then my machine could use every candy button of the rainbow.
Coincidentally, today I reached page 152 in Vernor VInge’s novel Rainbows End. That’s the page where it is pointed out that the title of the book is actually a declarative sentence (and, when you think about it, a very sad sentence at that).
But in fact rainbows do not end, because rainbows are actually completely circular. Like Skittles.
So I decided to make a candy button rainbow fugue machine. In other words, a machine to generate never-ending fugues that go all around the circle of fifths, visiting every color of the rainbow on the way.
As you can see in the picture below, the machine has 12 spiral arms arranged around a circle (the circle of fifths, in fact). Each arm consists of the four notes of a dominant seventh chord in some random order, as candy buttons.
There are only two kinds of controls: less ↔ more to vary the number of voices, and thin ↔ wide to vary how far those voices spread around the circle of fifths.
It’s surprising how many musical variations you can get with just those controls. But don’t take my word for it. Try out the applet for yourself, by clicking on the image below: