Here is an example of a very simple canon by composer Konrad Max Kunz (Canons op. 14, no. 43). The melody played by the soprano is imitated by the bass. In measure 4 the bass stops the imitation and the roles changes as the soprano starts to imitate the bass:

The imitation can be at the unison, octave or any other interval. In the following canon the second voice starts one perfect fourth below. We say it is a canon at the fourth. As in the previous canon, in measure 10 the roles change and the canon becomes a canon at the fifth. This is Canon 134 also by Kunz:

These are two voices canons, but canons can also have 3 or more voices. Many other contrapuntal techniques like the inversion, retrograde motion, augmentation and diminution can be used on the canons. Here are some examples:

Retrograde motion canon Contrary motion canon Canon alla Duodecima in contrapunto alla Quinta Canon alla Decima in contrapunto alla Terza


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José Rodríguez Alvira.