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A Round in Part:  Tracing the Contours of Fugal Narrative

A polyphonic composition, developed from a given theme or themes, according to strict contrapuntal rules. The theme is first given out by one voice or part, and then, while that pursues its way, it is repeated by another at the interval of a fifth or fourth, and so on, until all the parts have answered one by one, continuing their several melodies and interweaving them in one complex progressive whole, in which the theme is often lost and reappears.

Even more heterodox is Quain's "regressive, ramificated novel" April March, whose third and only part dates from 1936. No-one, judging this novel, refuses to discover that it is a game: it is reasonable to record that the author never considered anything else. "I reinvidicate by this work," I heard him say, "The characteristics essential to all games: symmetry, arbitrary laws, boredom." The name is a [debil] [calembour]: it doesn't mean 'March of April' but literally 'April March.' Someone has perceived in its pages an echo of the doctrines of Dunne; Quain's prologue preferred to evoke that inverse world of Bradley's, in which death precedes birth and the scar the hurt, and the hurt the blow (Appearance and Reality, 1897, page 215).

The worlds that April March proposes are not regressive, that is the manner of historifying them. Regressive and ramificated, as I said. Three chapters integrate the work. The first refers to an ambiguous dialogue between some strangers and a walk. The second refers to the events of the first vispero. The third, also retrograde, refers to the [events] of another first vispero; the fourth, those of others. Each one of these three visperas, of very diverse kind. The complete work consists, therefore, of nine novels, each of three large chapters. (The first is common to all of them, naturally). Of these novels, one is of a symbolic character; another, supernatural; another, political; another physiological, another, communist; another; anticommunist, etc. Maybe a diagram will aid in comprehension of its structure.

   _     _
  |     |
  |     | x 1
  | y 1 | x 2
  |     | x 3 
  |     |_
  |     |
  |     | x 4
  | y 2 | x 5
z |     | x 6 
  |     |_
  |     |
  |     | x 7
  | y 3 | x 8
  |     | x 9 
  |_    |_

Seeing this structure it is fit to repeat what Schopenhauer said about the twelve Kantian categories: it sacrifices all to a symmetrical fury. Forseeably, one of the nine stories is infuriated by Quain; the biggest is not the original idea, x 4; it is that of natural history, x 9. Others are affected by languid jokes or useless pseudopropositions. Those who read in chronological order (for example: x 3, y 1, z) lose the peculiar flavour of this strange book. Two stories - x 7, and x 8 - lack of individual value; the juxtaposition efficiently renders it to them... I don't know if I should remember that after April March was published, [arrepintio] of the ternary and predicted that the people who would imitate it would opt for the binary:

   _      _
  |      | x 1
  | y 1  |
  |      | x 2
  |      |_
z |       _
  |      | x 3
  | y 2  |
  |      | x 4
  |_     |_

and the demiurges and gods for the infinite: infinite stories, indefinitely ramificated.


Whoever stole my stapler is going to pay! What's going on around here on the weekends? I mean, I come in on Monday and my stapler is gone. Someone had to go into my desk to take it. Who would have done that? I'm going to put a sign up in my cubicle - no, I'm going to put a camera up. I know I had a stapler in there because I used it a bunch on Friday. It was a grey stapler. I'm setting up a meeting with Mr. Turley about this.


I don't know where it comes from
I don't know where it comes from
I don't know where it comes from
Don't ask me where it comes from


limbic templates form when the brain's plasticity is fresh, when neural networks are young and malleable. by adulthood, durable attractors roll on with easy momentum like a bowling ball. the process capable of deflecting lives in flight operates by the progressive, painstaking transformation of one intuition into another.


an environmental life project

bad scary place
the bad scary place

The boredom is equalled only by the lavish scenery.


In its structure, it's a simple melody over pedal tones. The outside goes from an E flat pedal to A flat. The bridge is over a B flat pedal tone and then back to outside pedal tones. Also I guess you could say the piece uses suspension of chords.