Henricus Tik and the Spectrum of Fuga
Much recent research into compositional process in Renaissance polyphony has focussed on fuga — the term Renaissance theorists used for the phenomena nowadays called “imitation” and “canon”. This study proposes new ways of defining and describing the different available categories of strict fuga — which is to say, fuga in which the participating voices replicate one another exactly in terms of both durations and intervals. In particular, it focusses on the temporal distance separating the voices, and it advocates use of the concept of “units” to calculate and define that distance with precision. All the passages analysed are drawn from an untitled three-voice Mass composed around 1450 by Henricus Tik, an enig- matic musician of possibly English origin. By the standards of its day, this Mass draws with surprising variety from the spectrum of strict fuga possibilities, espe- cially ones that answer at the intervals of the upper and lower fifth, rather than the unison or octave. However, most of Tik’s fuga involves only two voices, so the analyses also pay attention to the conduct of the third voice, which evidently was often composed against the fuga. The relationship of cadence to fuga receives some comment, and various possibilities for future research are suggested.