canons & period pieces

Edwards’ puzzle canon works explore the relationship between premeditation and spontaneous gesture. By rendering traditional musical languages in careful symmetry, harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements are recast through additional levels of pre-composition, fundamentally reflecting on the role of gesture as rarified construct.

I have written hundreds of canons over the years. Most of these stand-alone pieces are period pieces or in various period styles. It is my firm conviction that the only way to understand the musical language of a composer, style or era is to attempt to ‘speak’ in that language. This section focuses on that repertoire. If you are looking for canons in my more contemporary voice, you will find much imitation, as many of my works have a contrapuntal flavor. In particular, Vaudeville Kaleidoscope (for large ensemble), Reaching (for chorus), and Strange Attractor (for mandolin and guitar) feature canon.

One of my research interests is the historical progression of what were in medieval and renaissance times known as canons, but in the eighteenth century became known as puzzle canons. I have a site devoted to this project at

A short list of collections

Vaudeville Kaliedoscope: Canon in Hyperaugmentation (fl, eh, 2cl, bsn, hn, 2tbn, perc, pno)
├ćnigmata Harmonia: 15 interval puzzle canons for 3 to 6 parts

Puzzle canon receipts of the forme of cury. SATB chorus
Seven baroque puzzles for guitar quintet
Solfeggio: 50 invertible rounds for musicianship study
Five studies in inverted canon.
Puzzle canons in four parts (4 in 1 and 4 in 2)
Cetera: ten more canons on the Goldberg ground (3 to 6 parts)
20 some-odd rounds: invertible rounds with misleading subjects (3 to 6 parts)
On behalf of the round: a classical string quartet based on invertible rounds
three fugues