A crab canon—also known by the Latin form of the name, canon cancrizans—is an arrangement of two musical lines that are complementary and backward, similar to a palindrome. Originally it is a musical term for a kind of canon in which one line is reversed in time from the other (e.g. FABACEAE played simultaneously with EAECABAF). A famous example is found in J. S. Bach's The Musical Offering, which also contains a canon ("Quaerendo invenietis") combining retrogression with inversion, i.e., the music is turned upside down by one player, which is a table canon. The use of the term in non-musical contexts was popularized by Douglas Hofstadter in Gödel, Escher, Bach.
- Riemann, Hugo (1904). Text-book of simple and double counterpoint including imitation or canon, p.185. Breitkopf & Härtel.
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