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The Art of FugueBach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750$
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Joseph Kerman

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520243583

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520243583.001.0001

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Fugue in F-sharp Minor

Fugue in F-sharp Minor

The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1

(p.95) Chapter 11 Fugue in F-sharp Minor
The Art of Fugue

Joseph Kerman

University of California Press

This fugue stands out among Bach's more celebrated affettuoso fugues in F-sharp minor and related keys, such as the imposing fugue in B Minor later in The Well-Tempered Clavier and both Kyries from the Mass in B Minor, for its immediacy as well as its brevity. Texture is manipulated as a way of shaping the musical discourse. A distinct textural change divides the composition in three. Trio texture, with a “walking” bass a good distance below only two upper top voices, distinguishes a middle section or middle phase of the piece occupying a higher range than the others. It is demarcated on both sides by similar cadences in the dominant key, C-sharp minor. The countersubject, beginning with what amounts to a broken inversion of the subject—a forecast of the strict inversion that will materialize, and a hint of the stretto that will not—proceeds with a scale extending the subject's most decided move.

Keywords:   fugue, F-sharp minor, Trio texture, countersubject, C-sharp minor

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