A Table Canon
Among George Lloyd’s papers we have found a most unusual Christmas Carol, written in the form of a ‘table top double canon’ combined
so that the sheet music is in the shape of a cross.
It is performed by four singers standing or sitting in a square round a table, each singer reading a line as normal, from left to right.
Each melodic line is only seven bars long, but they are reversible.
The singers start at opposite ends of a line, but the result has harmonic integrity.
The 7 bar piece is simply repeated as often as required.
We believe that it was written by George Lloyd, and the manuscript is certainly in his hand.
A Table Canon is a retrograde and inverse canon, meant to be placed on a table in between (usually) two musicians who both read the same line of music, in opposite directions. The form is not common, though examples can be found in the works of Bach, Mozart, Webern and other composers who turned their attention to party tricks. A four-part example is very unusual. The mental gymnastics of writing such a piece are almost matched by the logic required to typeset the work using Sibelius software, but composer Alex Silverman managed to accomplish the feat.
Credit © The George Lloyd Music Library
Joyeux Noel, Joyeux Noel, soit la fete benie, Joyeux Noel
Happy Christmas, Happy Christmas,
May the festival be blessed, Happy Christmas