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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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Contrapunctus 1

Contrapunctus 1

The Art of Fugue

(p.33) Chapter 5 Contrapunctus 1
The Art of Fugue

Joseph Kerman

University of California Press

The Art of Fugue was prepared for publication in open score, after having composed it on two staves, in the usual keyboard music format. The work is a staggering compendium of nearly twenty fugues and canons all based on a single theme, and open-score format, with each voice on its own stave, showed off the contrapuntal devices applied to this ur-theme as clearly as possible. In Contrapunctus 1 an invertible counterpoint itself is in very short supply. This elemental fugue never modulates beyond the obligatory dominant and subdominant keys. Contrapunctus 1 accords with his evident intention in The Art of Fugue to control counterpoint as a universal principle, rather than simply the genre of fugue. Made up of canons and fugues of various kinds all based on a single theme, the work encompasses more than one contrapuntal process.

Keywords:   The Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus 1, subdominant keys, contrapuntal process, open-score format

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