Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major

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:
Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major

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A terminological point: a toccata, for the seventeenth century, was a segmented composition consisting of a number of free improvisatory sections and contrapuntal ones that may or may not count as actual “fugues.” The Prelude in E-flat Major also belongs in this genre. It has one improvisatory section with two short subsections—known as toccata fragments—and a large double fugue exhibiting so many free, improvisatory, “irregular” features that it could never have found its way into the Well-Tempered Clavier as a “fugue,” only as part of a special prelude. A highly developed double fugue is brought into being by two distinct toccata fragments, remnants or evocations of keyboard improvisations in which the fugue's two subjects are adumbrated, one by one.

Keywords: fugues; prelude; E-flat Major; toccata fragments; keyboard improvisations

Chapter.  2457 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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