• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen June 7th


Not a changeling.


Ponyville has a problem: Twilight's friends all switched Cutie Marks, and the musical numbers are flying thick and fast.
Lyra has a problem: She can't handle the way musical numbers get into your head and take you over.
Bon Bon has a problem with that.

(Pony Fiction VaultedFeatured on EqD)

Reviews and other word-of-mouth:
"I just can't find words for how much I enjoy the ideas on display here. … I didn't expect to be rating something this highly, this quickly." –Bradel
"The Lotus Eaters was the story that made me realize horizon wasn't just good, he was really good. Then Fugue State showed me he was really good repeatedly." –Bad Horse
"This story is weird, and I mean that in a good way. … [Horizon] thought about how ponies might react if [musical numbers] were a constant in Equestrian life." –Chris

Fugue State now has a sequel!

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 148 )

Spoiler-free author's notes:

This story is a strange but sincere homage to the Season 3 finale, inspired by this conversation and the chance observation that Lyra is missing from all the Ponyville musical numbers.

Super special props to Benman. If the story fails to suck, it's his fault. Additional thanks to Gemini Star, Horse Voice and Silver Quill for prereading assistance.

The chapter titles use fugue terminology.

Edit, 2015/04: There is now a sequel! (It contains spoilers for Fugue State. I recommend reading this one first.)

That was very, very interesting. I liked how it all worked. Reconciling how ponies feel about the musical numbers they get swept up into during the course of the show is a favorite mental exercise of mine. I hadn't noticed Lyra's absence, though.

Makes my toes tap and my mind start to rhyme. Love it.

Hooray Horizon! Congratulations on your EqD appointment! WELL DESERVED!


2388425 2387884 Thank you!

2387223 What first caught my attention was Bon Bon, without Lyra, in the front row for Pinkie's return. Then I rewound a little and realized Lyra was nowhere in that number. Then I rewound to the beginning and realized that neither of them was in "Morning in Ponyville". The story seized my brain and wouldn't let go after that.

2388531 Sounds not unlike the way some ideas bound into my head, actually!

Well... This was a nice read :)

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Did I ever tell you how much I like the ending? Because I really like the ending.

Aw heck, I barely deserve thanks. I showed up late, only made a few usable comments, and was interrupted by the flu before I could finish. :pinkiesick: Will read the rest shortly.

(Will read in a bit.)

This reminds me of something I found a while back.


This actually inspired me to write that Silver teaser back there.

Sorry if not actually relevant.

On the other hand, Lyra has no problems being present for the coronation parade. I guess they worked it out in Canterlot.

And now, thanks to this, I'll be some day watching some convoluted Bollywood epic, and when they break into a song -- average is about every 3.7 minutes -- I'll be looking at it through a pony-based filter.

My headcanon hurts. :twilightsheepish:

Absolutely and positively fantastic. If this becomes featured, you deserve it. Bravo, bravo, encore, peppermint gum.

Wonderful! An amusing premise with a solid execution. :twilightsmile:

Hey, congrats on the feature! :pinkiehappy:

Oh god this makes far too much sense. Note that Princess Celestia will only allow herself to sing while she's in a self-contained pocket universe. :pinkiegasp::twilightoops:

2390103 Hm. Good question. How many Fic's do we have where Celestia sings? (I know of one :)

I was soooo tempted to write an epilogue chapter containing only the word "Coda" and a picture of a framed photo showing Bon-Bon and Lyra in the background of the Canterlot scene. Eventually decided against it because it felt gratuitous, but yes, absolutely, in my head that is how this squares with canon.

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In an earlier draft, the busker's tale was about the very first musical, when Celestia and the moon sang a duet to reconcile after Luna's banishment. It was changed to tighten up the story, but I still love that headcanon.

2389805 The magic of pony is strong and subtle.

2389118 2389471 2389866 2390075 Thank you!

Yes, ha ha, very funny, I can't even find it on the "Most Popular" list … although I suppose I should also check with View Mature turned off and BZFLGRBTGARRBLOMFG WHAT IS THIS SORCERY.

:pinkiegasp: :rainbowhuh: :rainbowderp: :twilightblush:


The first chapter goes good places. That chapter end, though: it hurt. This gon' be good!

Second chapter carries the thought. I want to see where this goes.

And despite all the fumbling, it comes out with a laugh. Yay! :pinkiehappy:


I once found a story with seven views and no votes on the "popular stories" list. And I thought at the time that Princess Will Save Us was getting considerable attention fairly quickly for being hot off the submission rack. :ajsleepy: Ah, well. No one ever said the math was fair.

(Also, as long as you got those replies and messages, don't worry about replying. I've learned to deal with these periodic absences you leave off to, doing whatever it is you do. Being Batmane, or whatever. It's just nice to hear from you.)

this here, was excellently ridiculous. two moustaches WAY, way up :moustache::moustache:

Author, please tell me: can you give me the sheet music depicted in the main story art?

Ha ha ha! I see your indie cred has been destroyed.


(I'll read this soon, I promise)

I've explored this idea earlier, and I still don't get it.
How dah Tatarus do musicals in Equestria happen?:rainbowhuh:

I'm guessing chapter 4 is going to be Op. 5 Mov. 4: "Episode"?

Ah, the phenomon known as HMS Pinafore syndrome. This insidious disease is common among Disney films and a plague on anything coming out of Bollywood.

Equestria is rife with it. One could go quite, quite, mad.


Near as I can figure it, Equestria has bidirectional four-dimensional attractors woven into its spacetime. Situations in the future, even merely potential ones, can affect the past and present, providing subtle (and less so) probability pressures which make certain actions and events much more likely. Thus we have musicals, which are self-reinforcing strange-attractor events; strong coherences between careers, cutie marks, and names; narrative reinforcement (the more momentous the event, the more likely it will conform to established narrative pattern); and there's a strong likelihood that where a powerful need exists, something will have its past and destiny nudged until it can arrive to fill that need.

I can't help but think that at least part of the chronal pressures which pull things into patterns are somehow linked to the near-timeless existence of Princess Celestia. Her unchanging presence in the timestream may require magics which force raw chaos into macroharmonic patterns. Whether this is related to when she and Luna linked the Elements of Harmony to astronomical external power sources in order to depower and defeat Discord, I'm not sure. Might make for an interesting story, though.

Well... I have to say I am still confused and yet interested. Grammar and also the ponies personalities are still all right in this story. But I am still waiting for the main events and conflict. Or at least some more specifics to the problem besides that off the hoof musicals are an odd thing based off of magic.

ALSO Lyra IS best pony (followed by the main 6 and a few other fanon favorites). I just hope she is happy with Bonbon as indicated in the story.

Ooooooh. That was pretty great. I never would have noticed the missing Lyra by myself.

Chapter 1: Creepy. I don't usually go in for style, but this is an interesting style. I'm wondering who it reminds me of. Ray Bradbury?

Very nice! I love the conceit here, and I love how you explore it and bring it off. I'm going to suck at providing much critical commentary this time, because I'm partially preoccupied with the fact that my own story hit EqD just as I was starting to read this, but I certainly didn't notice any serious issues in reading that I felt harmed the story. It was very sweet, and just so much fun to read a world-building take on magic and musicals.

I think this marks the first Lyra story I've read, actually. Same for Bon Bon. I don't know if this is very indicative of how other authors write them, but I have to admit I really enjoyed them both.

Glad to see that your first feature box story is something that definitely deserves all the good attention it's getting.



I was soooo tempted to write an epilogue chapter containing only the word "Coda" and a picture of a framed photo showing Bon-Bon and Lyra in the background of the Canterlot scene. Eventually decided against it because it felt gratuitous, but yes, absolutely, in my head that is how this squares with canon.

Gratuitous? That would have been perfect, if only because I feel the ending might fly over a few heads otherwise.

I loved the concept, and you pulled it off rather fantastically. It's refreshing to see a story like this every once in a while.

2390372 Ooo. Nightmare Moon - The Musical. A Broadway production with a bigger budget than Spidermare, and just the same luck. I dare ya. :pinkiehappy:

The music in the cover art is from J. S. Bach's Fugue no. 2 in C minor, BWV 847, from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. Here's the actual excerpt I used; unfortunately I don't have a copy of the full song.

2391985 2392685
Fugue State is complete. Sometimes, to talk about a big phenomenon, you have to tell a small story. This was a story about Lyra and Bon Bon and their relationship, and everything about the musical numbers was in service of that. I'm sorry if I haven't told the story you were looking forward to read, but I appreciate the feedback.

As I said in 2390372, we can see this story's epilogue in the episode itself … hmm. 2393577, I'd feel horrible adding a one-word chapter just to add that image in, but I'll drop it in the Ch3 author's note.

2391974 2392412
As to the explanation for musical numbers: 2392616 wins.

Considering that I do leave ambiguous the dividing line between musical tunes (i.e., show tunes) and Musical Numbers, that could be quite interesting.

2390977 2392944 2391911 2391359 2393433 et.al.: Thank you!
@Bradel: At least you can say you were following me before I went mainstream. :twistnerd:

Not a conscious influence, but I can see why you'd say that. I'm not sure I have a name for what I was aiming for.

The second half of Chapter 1 is the high-water mark of stylization. This is the thesis to Chapter 2's antithesis, so the creepiness also falls away some.


That was quite a fun read. Poor bastards have no idea how bad that decision is.


Oh I did enjoy it. I just didn't notice that it was complete. :facehoof:

I also find it interesting that you called it Fugue State but the chapters name the three main sections of sonata form. :twilightsmile:

A story that shows Lyra as a normal pony, not obsessed with humans? I'm in!

And after reading it, I still am. This was a very interested story and heartwarming one too. It may have been a bit simple, but I think that's why it works so well. I also like how Bon Bon isn't a nag in this, which makes her lovable and sweet. The way she should be, heh.

Aaaaw, Lyra and Bon Bon. Such a sweet pairing. Well done!

'Course they don't. It's Destiny! :rainbowwild:

Thank you, and congratulations in return on "The Night the Carousel Boutique Burned" joining me in the featurebox!

Interesting! The fugue form was something of a historical precursor to sonatas, so the terminology overlap makes sense. (The title was chosen for its contrapuntal implications and the double meaning.)

Thank you! I was aiming for showing their fundamental contrast — Lyra as driven, and Bon Bon as supportive — without descending into cliché, so it's wonderful that the characters ring true. They are a great pairing … IMHO, sweetly and subtly dysfunctional in a way that they've both made work.

It reminds me of Growing Carrots, but with more clarity and D'awwws

Oh look it's featured now, didn't I totally call it or wat?

You've managed to make a silly musical number into a potentially horrifying mind control spell and used it to discuss free will and what it means to follow your destiny.

Holy shit you MAGNIFICENT BASTARD. I apPLAUD you good sir!

On the surface, I can see how Growing Carrots and Fugue State look similar. They're not. They're really not. (This is a romance; GC goes for the throat of existential horror.) But GC is an excellent story! Thank you for the link.

2396737 You did :twilightsmile:

2397044 Thank you! I made the choice to use this crazy disturbing mind-control scenario to tell a love story, of all things. I'm impressed myself that it worked.

I thought this was masterfully done, and I love you so much for he simple reason that your terminology was correct. Thank you for getting music right.

2401261 Thank you! I played piano for many years as a little sprout. Glad my memory (and research) held. :twilightsmile:

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