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Straka. High School Music Theory. The Fugue. What is the Fugue?. The fugue is a composition based on imitative counterpoints. It has a fixed number of voices It is based on the development of the SUBJECT. The Character of the Fugue.

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what is the fugue
What is the Fugue?
  • The fugue is a composition based on imitative counterpoints.
  • It has a fixed number of voices
  • It is based on the development of the SUBJECT.
the character of the fugue
The Character of the Fugue
  • A fugue consists of a series of expositions and developments. A simple fugue might consist of one exposition followed by optional development. A more complex fugue might follow the exposition with a series of developments, or another exposition followed by one or more developments. Fugues that are tonally centered will expose the subject without venturing out of an initial tonic/dominant relationship.
the history of the fugue
The History of the Fugue
  • The term fugue was used as far back as the Middle Ages, but was initially used to refer to any kind of imitative counterpoint including canons, which are now thought of as distinct from fugues.
  • The fugue arose from the technique of "imitation", where the same musical material was repeated starting on a different note.
the history of the fugue cont
The History of the Fugue cont…
  • It was in the Baroque period that the writing of fugues became central to composition, and their use became incorporated into a variety of musical forms.
  • The 18th century composer Johann Sebastian Bach is generally regarded as the greatest composer of fugues.
  • During the Classical era, the fugue was no longer a central or even fully natural mode of musical composition, even though canonic imitation was part, not only of musical education, but of the play that composer's used to search for musical ideas.
the history of the fugue cont6
The history of the Fugue cont…
  • With the decline in church patronage, fugue writing changed: from being a common type of music - much as a late 20th century songwriter might write a "song" - it became specifically attached to the norms and styles of the baroque
  • 20th Century fugue writing explored many of the directions implied by Beethoven's Grosse Fugue, and what came to be termed free counterpoint as well as dissonant counterpoint.
bach the master of the fugue
BACH: The master of the Fugue
  • A Bach fugue is an advanced form of counterpoint.
  • Bach's most famous fugues are those in the unfinished Art of Fugue, The Well-Tempered Clavier (keyboard), and his organ fugues, which are usually preceded by a prelude or toccata.
main idea of the fugue and how it is stated
Main idea of the fugue and how it is stated
  • Subject: Melody that comprises the primary melodic/rhythmic material of the fugue
  • Answer: Subject imitation which immediately follows the first statement of the subject: in a different voice and usually fifth higher.
    • Tonal Answer: An answer that typically (though not always) stays in the same key as the subject.
    • Real Answer: An answer that is a transposition of the subject to another key, usually the dominant.
main idea of the fugue and how it is stated cont
Main idea of the fugue and how it is stated Cont…
  • Countersubject: Substantive figure that sometimes recurs immediately following the subject or answer (in the same voice). Countersubjects serve as counterpoint to subjects (or answers) sounding simultaneously in a different voice.
  • False Subject: Some people use the term "false subject" to describe an entry of the subject (or answer) that begins but never finishes.
main sections of the fugue
Main Sections of the Fugue
  • Exposition: Portion of the fugue consisting of subject with at least one answer, and possibly countersubject. The subject (or answer) must appear in all voices and answers must be in the proper relationship to subjects
    • Re-Exposition: An exposition, following the initial exposition, in which the voices enter in the same order as the first exposition
    • Counter exposition: An exposition following the initial exposition in which the voices enter in a different order than they did in the first exposition, or the subject of the new exposition is a contrapuntal variation of the original.
main sections of the fugue cont
Main Sections of the Fugue Cont…
  • Developmental Episode: Section in which motives from the exposition are treated in sequence, modulation, contrary motion, double counterpoint, stretto, augmentation/diminution, pedal, etc. Episodes are generally terminated by a cadence and may follow one after the other
main sections of the fugue cont13
Main Sections of the fugue cont…
  • Coda or Codetta: Concluding segment of a section (codetta) or of the entire fugue (coda). Codas and codettas often sound as if they are something added after the structural end of the section or work. The function of codettas is often modulatory (to return the tonality to the key of the subject after an answer at the dominant). Not all fugues have these.
compositional techniques
Compositional Techniques

Tonal Variation:

  • Modulation: Repetition of a motive in another key. Bach typically arranges his fugues around closely related keys (major and minor keys immediately adjacent to each other on the circle of fifths).
  • Change of mode: Statement of the subject or answer (or any other primary material) in the opposing mode (major or minor)
compositional techniques cont
Compositional Techniques Cont…

Contrapuntal Variation :

  • Stretto: Entry of a motive in a second voice before the first voice has finished its statement.
  • Augmentation/Diminution: Statement of a motive in rhythmic durations that are proportionately doubled or halved.
  • Pedal Point: Suspension of one pitch, often the bass, in such a manner that it is alternately consonant then dissonant with the chord progression.
contrapuntal variation cont
Contrapuntal Variation Cont…
  • Retrograde: (rare) Statement of the motive's pitches in reverse order.
  • Melodic Inversion: (Contrary Motion) Statement of a motive where interval directions have been made to move in the opposite direction of the original motive.
  • Sequence: Repetition of a motive at another pitch level, usually up or down a step.
homework
Homework
  • Compose a 32 measure, 4 voiced rhythmic fugue.
  • Due one week from today
  • Must be hand written.
  • We will divide into groups of four and practice performing the fugues for the first half of the class, and perform them for the last half of the class.
  • Make sure you have five copies of your fugue. One to turn in, and one for each member of your group.
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