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Glossary of Fugue

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fugue
(def.)
polyphonic composition based on one main theme (subject); written for a group of instruments or voices, or for a single instrument like an organ or harpsichord
style
different melodic lines (voices) imitate the subject
melodic lines
top - soprano
bottom - bass
texture
usually includes 3, 4, or 5 voices
beginning
fugues begin with the subject presented in a single unaccompanied voice to highlight the subject
(the starting subject may be presented in any voice)
(the order in which the remaining voices imitate it is flexible)
exact imitation of the subject does not continue indefinitely
after a voice has presented the subject, it is free to go its own way with different melodic material
the subject is presented in 2 different scales
1) tonic scale
2) dominant scale
answer
the subject presented in the dominant scale right after the subject was played
countersubject
a different melodic idea that is constantly accompanying the subject which is in another voice
episodes
transitional sections which offer new material or fragments of the subject or countersubject (episodes DO NOT present the subject in its entirety)
stretto
a subject which is imitateed before it is completed
pedal point/organ point
a single tone, usually in the bass, is held while other voices produce a series of changing harmonies against it
a fugue subject can be varied in 4 principle ways
1)inversion
2)retrograde
3)augmentation
4)diminution
1)inversion
turned upside down; each interval in the subject is reversed in direction
2)retrograde
beginning with the last note of the subject and proceeding backward to the first
3) augmentation
original time values are lengthened
4)diminution
shortened time values
fugues are introduced by a short piece
prelude
prelude
a short piece that introduces fugues
example
-J.S. Bach
Organ Fugue in G Minor

-(any one piece from The Art of Fugue)

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