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A simple fugue has only one subject, and does not utilize invertible counterpoint. Similarly, a triple fugue has three subjects. In other words, the subject and countersubjects must be capable of being played both above and below all the other themes without creating any unacceptable dissonances. During the course of a permutation fugue, it is quite uncommon, actually, for every single possible voice-combination or "permutation" of the themes to be heard. This limitation exists in consequence of sheer proportionality: the more voices in a fugue, the greater the number of possible permutations.

In consequence, composers exercise editorial judgment as to the most musical of permutations and processes leading thereto. One example of permutation fugue can be seen in the eighth and final chorus of J.

Permutation fugues differ from conventional fugue in that there are no connecting episodes, nor statement of the themes in related keys.

Invertible counterpoint is essential to permutation fugues but is not found in simple fugues. Often the contrapuntal writing is not strict, and the setting less formal. History[ edit ] Middle Ages and Renaissance[ edit ] The term fuga 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.

Fugal writing is found in works such as fantasias , ricercares and canzonas. Gioseffo Zarlino , a composer, author, and theorist in the Renaissance , was one of the first to distinguish between the two types of imitative counterpoint: fugues and canons which he called imitations.

The composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina ? Baroque era[ edit ] It was in the Baroque period that the writing of fugues became central to composition, in part as a demonstration of compositional expertise.

Fugues were incorporated into a variety of musical forms. Keyboard suites from this time often conclude with a fugal gigue.

Domenico Scarlatti has only a few fugues among his corpus of over harpsichord sonatas. The French overture featured a quick fugal section after a slow introduction.

The second movement of a sonata da chiesa , as written by Arcangelo Corelli and others, was usually fugal. The Baroque period also saw a rise in the importance of music theory. Some fugues during the Baroque period were pieces designed to teach contrapuntal technique to students.

Haydn , for example, taught counterpoint from his own summary of Fux and thought of it as the basis for formal structure. Bach is also known for his organ fugues, which are usually preceded by a prelude or toccata. The Art of Fugue, BWV , is a collection of fugues and four canons on a single theme that is gradually transformed as the cycle progresses. Bach also wrote smaller single fugues and put fugal sections or movements into many of his more general works.

Bach and through the theorist Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg — whose Abhandlung von der Fuge "Treatise on the fugue", was largely based on J. Classical era[ edit ] During the Classical era , the fugue was no longer a central or even fully natural mode of musical composition. Haydn[ edit ] Joseph Haydn was the leader of fugal composition and technique in the Classical era. This was a practice that Haydn repeated only once later in his quartet-writing career, with the finale of his String Quartet, Op.

Under the employment of Archibishop Colloredo , and the musical influence of his predecessors and colleagues such as Johann Ernst Eberlin , Anton Cajetan Adlgasser , Michael Haydn , and his own father, Leopold Mozart at the Salzburg Cathedral, the young Mozart composed ambitious fugues and contrapuntal passages in Catholic choral works such as Mass in C minor, K.

Leopold admonished his son openly in that he not forget to make public demonstration of his abilities in "fugue, canon, and contrapunctus" Konrad.

Later in life, the major impetus to fugal writing for Mozart was the influence of Baron Gottfried van Swieten in Vienna around Van Swieten, during diplomatic service in Berlin , had taken the opportunity to collect as many manuscripts by Bach and Handel as he could, and he invited Mozart to study his collection and encouraged him to transcribe various works for other combinations of instruments.

In a letter to his wife Constance , dated in Vienna on April 20, , Mozart recognizes that he had not written anything in this form, but moved by her interest he composed one piece, which is sent with the letter. He begs her not to let anybody see the fugue and manifests the hope to write five more and then present them to Baron van Swieten.

Regarding the piece, he said "I have taken particular care to write andante maestoso upon it, so that it should not be played fast — for if a fugue is not played slowly the ear cannot clearly distinguish the new subject as it is introduced and the effect is missed".

These included the fugues for String Quartet, K. The parts of the Requiem he completed also contain several fugues most notably the Kyrie, and the three fugues in the Domine Jesu; [54] he also left behind a sketch for an Amen fugue which, some believe[ who? Beethoven[ edit ] Ludwig van Beethoven was familiar with fugal writing from childhood, as an important part of his training was playing from The Well-Tempered Clavier. During his early career in Vienna , Beethoven attracted notice for his performance of these fugues.

The last movement of his Cello Sonata, Op. According to Charles Rosen , p. A massive, dissonant fugue forms the finale of his String Quartet, Op. Joseph Kerman , p. Sullivan , p. Listen Romantic era[ edit ] By the beginning of the Romantic era , fugue writing had become specifically attached to the norms and styles of the Baroque. Felix Mendelssohn wrote many fugues inspired by his study of the music of J. Giuseppe Verdi included a whimsical example at the end of his opera Falstaff and his setting of the Requiem Mass contained two originally three choral fugues.

The exposition ends with a chorale, the melody of which is then used as a second fugal exposition at the beginning of the development. The recapitulation features both fugal subjects concurrently. Stravinsky recognized the compositional techniques of Bach, and in the second movement of his Symphony of Psalms , he lays out a fugue that is much like that of the Baroque era. Techniques such as stretto, sequencing, and the use of subject incipits are frequently heard in the movement.

Instead, I have sheltered behind the form of the Fugue. Like those great models, this one is an anti-scholastic fugue. At the micro level of the individual lines, and there are dozens and dozens of them in this music In "Fugue for Tinhorns" from the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls , written by Frank Loesser , the characters Nicely-Nicely, Benny, and Rusty sing simultaneously about hot tips they each have in an upcoming horse race.

Discussion[ edit ] Musical form or texture[ edit ] A widespread view of the fugue is that it is not a musical form but rather a technique of composition. Ratz stressed, however, that this is the core, underlying form "Urform" of the fugue, from which individual fugues may deviate.

Although certain related keys are more commonly explored in fugal development, the overall structure of a fugue does not limit its harmonic structure. For example, a fugue may not even explore the dominant, one of the most closely related keys to the tonic. This is unlike later forms such as the sonata, which clearly prescribes which keys are explored typically the tonic and dominant in an ABA form. Perceptions and aesthetics[ edit ] The fugue is the most complex of contrapuntal forms.

He also points out that fugal writing has its roots in improvisation, and was, during the Renaissance, practiced as an improvisatory art. Writing in , Nicola Vicentino , for example, suggests that: the composer, having completed the initial imitative entrances, take the passage which has served as accompaniment to the theme and make it the basis for new imitative treatment, so that "he will always have material with which to compose without having to stop and reflect".

This formulation of the basic rule for fugal improvisation anticipates later sixteenth-century discussions which deal with the improvisational technique at the keyboard more extensively.

Music in Theory and Practice. Dubuque: Wm. Brown Publishers. ISBN Fuge; Lat.


André Gedalge






Traité de la fugue (Gédalge, André)




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