Chapter 9 Baroque Instrumental Music Fugue

Chapter 9
Instrumental Music
Key Terms
Fugue subject
Subject entries
Free and learned
Fugal devices
The most significant, characteristic new
form of Baroque music
Rooted in systematic use of imitative
Fugue = polyphonic composition built on a
single principal theme (the subject)
• For two or more instrumental lines (voices)
Latin fuga = running away
• Fugal voices imitatively “chase” each other
Fugal Exposition (1)
First section of a fugue
All voices (instrumental lines) take turns
presenting the subject in orderly fashion
Voices create cumulative effect—
Fugal Exposition (2)
• 1st voice states subject all by itself
• Then 2nd voice states subject as 1st voice
continues with new material
• Then 3rd voice states subject as 1st & 2nd
voices continue with new material, etc.
• Exposition ends when all voices state subject
Episodes and Subject Entries
After the Exposition, subject enters at
intervals separated by episodes
These later subject entries—
• May occur in any voice
• Often come in different keys
Episodes and Subject Entries
Episodes contrast with subject entries
• They may be based on motives from subject
• They often use sequences to modulate
Final subject entry is stated in tonic key
Subject Entries vs. Episodes
Subject entries—
Fixed–must always
be recognizable as
the subject
Stable–remain in one
key throughout each
May occur in other
keys in middle of
Free–may explore
any motives from
subject in any order
from from one key to
Connect an entry in
one key with another
in a new key
Fugues, Free and Learned
Fugue can have multiple meanings
Can refer to fugue as genre (a fugue)
• Uses exposition, subject entries, & episodes
Can refer to fugue as style or procedure
• Fugue as imitative section in a larger work
• A work in fugal style
Free fugues
• Works using fugal style or procedures
Learned fugues
• Full-scale, independent fugues
Free Fugue
Often refers to fugal sections in a larger
work belonging to another genre
• For example, perhaps in a a canzona, French
overture, or chorus
• Fugal section often called a fugato
Uses techniques of fugue, not its form
Shorter than full-scale fugue
• Sometimes just the exposition
May slip from polyphony (typical fugal
texture) to homophony and back
Learned Fugue
Full-scale, independent fugue
• Fugue as genre
• Uses the features of fugal form–exposition,
subject entries, episodes
Often written more for study & teaching
than for public performance
• Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier or Art of Fugue
Shows off composer’s contrapuntal skill
Uses sophisticated (learned) fugal devices
Fugal Devices
• A melody designed to accompany the subject
throughout the fugue
• Overlapping entrances–when a subject entry
jumps in before the previous one is done
Augmentation & diminution
• Making all note values longer or shorter
• Turning the subject upside down
Bach, The Art of Fugue
Written at the end of Bach’s life
• Unfinished at the time of his death
A testament to his astonishing fugal skill
Collection of twenty canons & fugues
• All on the same subject!
Most use all fugal devices listed above
Unfinished final fugue is Bach’s “epitaph”
• Theme No. 4 spells B-A-C-H
• In German music B = B-flat & H = B-natural
Bach, Contrapunctus 4 (1)
Fugue in four voices
Voices enter from high to low in exposition
Bach, Contrapunctus 4 (2)
Lengthy episodes based on subject’s final
motive & a “cuckoo” figure
Bach, Contrapunctus 4 (3)
Later subject entries clustered together
Almost like secondary expositions
Voices often enter in different order
Fugal devices used–stretto near the end
At times uses expanded version of subject
Exposition the most characteristic part
• Easy to follow owing to cumulative nature
Harder to follow later entries & episodes
• Continuous polyphonic flow with subtle
contrasts, not sharp ones
• Good learned fugues build episodes around
motives from the subject
Systematic treatment of subject typical of
Baroque compositional control
Fugue the most “scientific” Baroque genre