Since the early days of the Internet, Bach-inspired theorists have taken great pleasure in arranging popular music hits as three or four-voice keyboard fugues in his contrapuntal style. This internet trend began back in 2006 when Daniel Pi made his famous “How to Write a Fugue” video that ends with a performance of his fugue based on Britney Spears’s Oops!... I Did It Again.
For the last decade, this trend of converting a simple pop song into complex Baroque counterpoint continued to muse the Internet. Check out this recent fugue based on Ed Sheeran’s 2017 hit song Shape of You.
In Lady Gaga’s 2009 hit Bad Romance, her song begins with an excerpt from Bach’s Fugue No. 24 in b minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. This fugue is one of the most complex and crafted fugues Bach ever composed -- the fugue subject includes all 12-pitches of the chromatic scale. Perhaps it was fitting then that Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance was turned into a viral hit sensation as a fugue soon after its release.
The Internet is full of incredible fugues based on pop songs. Here are some of PianoCub’s favorites:
“Miley Cyrus Fugue” based off of themes from her hit song Wrecking Ball.
The “Call Me Maybe Fugue” based on Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit song from 2012.
“Fugue on a Theme by Katy Perry” based on her song Teenage Dream.
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