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:

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The characteristic Bach gigue can be considered as a special type of fugue in a strictly prescribed, hypersymmetrical binary form—hypersymmetrical because these fugues come to a dead stop in the middle, allowing for an exact repetition of each of the two sections, or strains. All but one of the fugal gigues is written for three voices. These are dance-music pieces, the last and fastest members of the suites they belong to—too fast to allow for much maneuvering with three contrapuntal voices. The subject of the gigue from English Suite no. 3 stands out for its élan, even among the high-spirited company of gigues in Bach's suites and those of his contemporaries. The second strain presents the subject in inversion. English Suite no. 3 counts among its movements a brilliant concerto paraphrase calling for a two-manual harpsichord.

Keywords: Bach gigue; hypersymmetrical; dance-music pieces; English Suite no. 3; two-manual harpsichord

Chapter.  1392 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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