Paul Walker

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:

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The word fugue (fuga in Latin, Fuge in German) has been applied to music continuously since the late Middle Ages, and so has inevitably undergone a great number of transformations in aning. In broad outline, the word has referred to, (1) in the 14th and 15th centuries, the technique that we today call canon (and thus, the Latin synonym for chace and caccia), as well as pieces based on that technique; (2) in the 16th century, the technique of pervasive imitation as found in vocal music and the imitative ricercar; (3) in the 17th century, pieces or movements (predominantly instrumental but also vocal) based on one or another manifestation of imitative counterpoint, variously designated (if instrumental) ricercar, canzona, fantasy, or fugue; 4) beginning with the era of Bach and Handel, a piece of music based on the contrapuntal handling of a theme (subject) and constructed according to certain principles about which it is possible to find unanimous agreement. The article begins with the two primary Reference Works for music, Grove Music Online for English speakers and Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart for German speakers. The section Theory and Terminology in Historical Context comprises scholarship on the etymological history of the word fugue in music and the way musicians have understood it over time. The next two sections bring together writings about how to compose a fugue (see Composition) and how to analyze one (see Analysis). The final and longest section, Fugal Composition in Historical Context, organizes writings that consider fugue as a genre in one or another historical era, including a few that attempt a broad sweep rather like that found in the two primary reference works. This final section omits source material on the earliest use of the word fugue with the meaning of “canon” and begins with fugue in Renaissance vocal music and the instrumental ricercar; additional sections discuss the 17th century, Bach, Handel, the Classic era, the 19th century, and the 20th and 21st centuries.

Article.  12427 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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