Fugue in C Minor

Joseph Kerman

in The Art of Fugue

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243583
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941397 | DOI:
Fugue in C Minor

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The fugue in C Minor has become standard teaching material in advanced and elementary textbooks alike, for courses in canon and fugue as well as lowly music appreciation. It was the first fugue to be jazzed and the first to be switched on. The fugue in C Minor demonstrates contrapuntal inversion very well, with five of the six possible permutations of the subject, countersubject 1 (cs 1), and countersubject 2 (cs 2) clearly on display. This fugue also teaches about the conventional closure of minor-mode music in the major, by altering the interval of a minor third in its final tonic chord into the more conclusive major third. The fugue in C Minor serves as a model for a number of others with lively, dance-like subjects and prominent recurring episodes, but they all close in quite a different spirit, with an epigram derived wittily from some previous material.

Keywords: fugue; C Minor; minor-mode music; countersubject; dance-like subjects

Chapter.  1539 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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