Chapter

Fugue in E 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243583.003.0009
Fugue in E Major

Preview

Diagrams intrude on listening by asserting direct linearity and they offer unambiguous ground plans for patterns in time that are existential and often tenuous. This chapter offers a tabular analysis in this case, to make what seems a capital point about this famous beautiful fugue, the fugue in E Major. Phrases of virtually the same length, demarcated by very sonorous cadences, all start in the same way, with closely knit four-part expositions of the subject. Parallelism breaks down in phrase four under the pressure of events, when an extra stretto stirs up the fugue's climax of involution. The exposition proceeds through successively higher and higher voices. One more unique thing about the fugue in E Major is the vacuity of its subject. Even the striking sectionalization of the fugue in E Major can be seen as Bach's response, supremely artistic and perhaps slightly ironic, to Fux's elementary rules for fugal structuring.

Keywords: fugue in E Major; fugue; phrases; parallelism; involution

Chapter.  2504 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: musicology and music history

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