Fugue in F-sharp 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 F-sharp Minor

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This fugue stands out among Bach's more celebrated affettuoso fugues in F-sharp minor and related keys, such as the imposing fugue in B Minor later in The Well-Tempered Clavier and both Kyries from the Mass in B Minor, for its immediacy as well as its brevity. Texture is manipulated as a way of shaping the musical discourse. A distinct textural change divides the composition in three. Trio texture, with a “walking” bass a good distance below only two upper top voices, distinguishes a middle section or middle phase of the piece occupying a higher range than the others. It is demarcated on both sides by similar cadences in the dominant key, C-sharp minor. The countersubject, beginning with what amounts to a broken inversion of the subject—a forecast of the strict inversion that will materialize, and a hint of the stretto that will not—proceeds with a scale extending the subject's most decided move.

Keywords: fugue; F-sharp minor; Trio texture; countersubject; C-sharp minor

Chapter.  2027 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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