Grade-A music geek turns Adele’s ‘Hello’ into a Bach fugue with perfect counterpoint

11 October 2021, 16:56

Adele fugue
Adele fugue. Picture: Giovanni Dettori / Alamy

By Kyle Macdonald

Italian composer and arranger Giovanni Dettori has arranged Adele’s blockbuster single as an epic Baroque fugue.

It’s time to say “hello” to some very fine counterpoint.

Fugues are characterised by a single melodic idea, begin stated ones, and then over and over again in layered, interweaving lines of music. Throughout music history, composers have often challenged themselves with elaborate fugue themes, sometimes taken from popular melodies at the time.

Read more: Nina Simone plays a stunning Bach-style fugue in the middle of one of her classic songs

And this is 100% in that spirit. The long, yearning melody from a 2015 chart-topper is taken and transformed into a contrapuntal masterpiece. It’s no mean feat.

Listen as our arranger Giovanni Dettori takes Adele’s iconic melody and turns it into something that would not be out of place on a huge Baroque organ.

We’re a bit in awe.

Fugues are structured in a logical way, with sequences of entries and building layers of musical lines – it’s the composer’s challenge to make it all link up in a harmonious, musical way. Bach and Handel are regarded as two of the greatest exponents in music history, but you’ll also catch epic fugues in the music of Liszt, Brahms, Shostakovich and more.

Little fact: the word “fugue” is derived from the Latin word “fugent”, or to chase, as the musical lines chase each other across the page. Fun huh?