A master in the art of counterpoint, Borden initially derived the musical material of each of the preludes and fugues in this collection from the letters of the name of the person to whom it is dedicated. Using the Pythagorean numerology alphabet, the remaining letters in the name were matched to a number, and then these numbers were assigned to the pitches of a mode that best "fit" the name. Once a suitable mode was found, and each letter assigned its pitch, the rhythmic shape of the fugue subject was determined.
From the composer: _When conservatories teach counterpoint it 's like painting by numbers—it doesn't get you anywhere creatively. It might make someone understand the music of Handel or Bach or Palestrina but it doesn't help them write their own. Teachers go into great detail about rules, especially about species counterpoint, and then you come away thinking "How did Palestrina ever do it without these books?" Fugues don't need a lot of things—they're very freeing. People do them differently—Bach did them a lot differently from his predecessors and you can't pin Bach down to any specific way of writing fugues. _
_After writing the exposition I don 't pay attention to what level the voices enter at or which closely related keys I'm supposed to go to. I just take it wherever I think it needs to go. I let the subject and countersubject dictate how long the piece is and what kind of shape it takes. I don't necessarily have a meter in mind; I just had to put one on the page because that's the way people read. Unlike most preludes and fugues, here the preludes use the same subject, in some way, as the fugues do. _