I have had this overwhelming feeling for weeks. 1 day I even had to listen to Mozart just to go to sleep because I was feeling so overwhelmed. I have tried everything I did in the past for composer's block and nothing's working except lots of time. Listening to Bach and seeing how he develops his fugues hasn't helped. Listening to other fugues hasn't helped either. Looking at analyses of those fugues also hasn't helped. I tried just putting it on the back burner while composing a string quartet. That seemed to help a bit(got the alto voice in the last 4 measures of the exposition) but I think it was just time.

With the subject and countersubject, I was like "Yes I want this in my fugue and I just know it will be harmonius".

Now that I am doing free counterpoint in 2 voices and soon will be doing it in 4 voices, I am feeling very overwhelmed.

Here is what I have been thinking:

Do I want this staccato or legato? Do I want to change the note length? If so, longer or shorter and by how much? When to restate the subject and in what way should I restate it? Retrograde? Original? Inversion? Retrograde Inversion? Do I restate the countersubject? Do I add another countersubject? What key should I modulate to if I modulate at all? Another minor key like F minor? A major key like Bb major? The parallel key(C major)? The relative key(Eb Major)? An unrelated key like Gb major? Do I add anything from the Dorian mode or some other mode besides Ionian and Aeolian? When to have a stretto or canonic moment? Do I want a trill somewhere? Do I want a recapitulation? Wait, did I just break the rules putting that octave there and having a fourth resolve to a fifth? It is like I am in the fog and have no idea where I am going out of thousands if not millions of places. Even restricting to the natural minor instead of using the harmonic or melodic minor doesn't help. All I know is that I don't want my first fugue turning out to be a double fugue because that will just worsen the situation and I want some dissonance but not too much and if I modulate to another key, I have to at some point modulate back to C minor.

I have been told by my Momma and others to just experiment with all these things, but to me that sounds like it could easily lead to too much dissonance or not feeling like the home key is C minor even though it is. It feels like I have to make 10 or 20 decisions at once and just can't.

But why? Why does it have to be so hard? I know it will get easier with time to write a fugue, even if I write more complex fugues like double fugues. I have an instinct to continue writing my fugue but I'm stuck.

How can I overcome this overwhelming feeling and finish composing my fugue so that I can see and listen for any changes it needs?

closed as too broad by David Bowling, guidot, Todd Wilcox, ttw, MattPutnam Sep 3 '18 at 16:26

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • You seem confused by the difference between "composing music" and "following a collection of so-called rules". Why limit yourself to "What would Bach do?" Have you ever looked at Shostakovich's 24 preludes and fugues, or Hindemith's "Ludus Tonalis?" Or even the fugues in late Beethoven's piano sonatas and string quartets, if you don't want to study anything as "modern" as the 20th century? – user19146 Aug 27 '18 at 12:07
  • Well, I don't feel as though I am limiting myself by listening to Bach and trying to write a Baroque style fugue. I mean I think of Bach as the "Master of the Fugue" because he wrote so many fugues – Caters Aug 27 '18 at 17:50
  • I'm not sure what you are asking here - this has been flagged as too broad, and I'm tempted to agree currenly. Can you clarify your question. – Doktor Mayhem Aug 29 '18 at 10:24
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    @Caters I'm not sure you're really looking for an actual specific answer to a question, more some more general advice and/or consolation. And that's absolutely worthwhile; you're finding achieving your goal difficult, and it's absolutely valuable to discuss the challenges of musicianship and of specific traditions, how to overcome them, how the greats achieved what they achieved, how to get past creative blocks etc. etc. etc. Unfortunately, Stackexchange isn't the right place to do this, its purpose is to post questions with well defined correct/incorrect answers, not broader discussion. – Some_Guy Sep 5 '18 at 20:06
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    There are a bunch of webforums that might be more appropriate to discussing the issues you've raised in this question. Also there's reddit.com/r/musictheory which is much more lax (both in good and bad ways) and is sort of a halfway house between the SE format and a traditional forum. Also, you could start a topic on chat and invite me there if you'd like to talk further about the issues you raise here. You're clearly ambitious, and that's a good thing, and also willing to ask for help, which is also a good thing, so I'm sure you'll be able to get best the blocks you're currently running into. – Some_Guy Sep 5 '18 at 20:11