Music in History

Go to content

Main menu

HIstory of Fugue

Baroque forms
 
 



The origins of fugue

The principles of imitation and imitative counterpoint  were set during 13th century, but  it was only  in the late 15th century  that  composers realized the importance of imitation as a structural element of polyphonic music  (Obrecht, Josquin).
Some of the motets written by  Josquin and N. Gombert are  characterized by many small, early  "exhibitions". These motets are included in the forerunners of the fugue (for example: Dominus Regnavit by Josquin des Prez. It is written with sections akin to fugal expositions). Ricercar and canzona of Church organ also  are included  in fugue's forerunners. According to Willi Apel  It  is difficult  for someone to investigate the evolution of these forms  in detail,  because of the huge amount  of material  and  the variety of trends and  schools.
The fugue evolution took place mainly in Germany.




                                  Johann Joseph Fux - Capricio et Fugue

during Baroque era

Composing  a fugue was a benchmark  for musicians to demonstrate  their  skills. Fugues were embedded in various musical forms. Among the fugue  composers  before Bach were: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (he was the first  to write fugue for  church Organ)  and  Dieterich Buxtehude.

fugues were often included in. F. Handel's  oratorios. On the other hand, during that period, suites for Keyboard instruments usually ended up with a gigue in fugue style. In French overtures a quick fugue-part was included after the slow movement.

During baroque period the importance of music theory was highlighted and s
ome of the fugues were written for educational purposes. Students  used to practice  the art of counterpoint through a fugue.

In 1725 a  book  was written by  Johann Joseph Fux
(1660-1741), entitled  "Gradus Ad Parnassum".  This work described  the genres of counterpoint and it  contained exercises for students  who were  learning those times how to write a fugue. Fux had relied heavily on Palestrina's  work. The book was  an  important one  until the 19th century (the Haydn taught his students  using the notes  of Fux).


from wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bach's most famous fugues are those for the harpsichord in The Well-Tempered Clavier, which many composers and theorists look at as the greatest model of fugue. The Well-Tempered Clavier comprises two volumes written in different times of Bach's life, each comprising 24 prelude and fugue pairs, one for each major and minor key. Bach is also known for his organ fugues, which are usually preceded by a prelude or toccata. The Art of Fugue is a collection of fugues (and four canons) on a single theme that is gradually transformed as the cycle progresses. Bach also wrote smaller single fugues, and put fugues into many of his works that were not fugues per se.
J. S. Bach's influence extended forward through his son C.P.E. Bach and through the theorist Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg
(1718–1795) whose Abhandlung von der Fuge ("Treatise on the fugue", 1753) was largely based on J. S. Bach's work.



resources
Willi Apel, Harvard dictionary of music, second edition, eighth printing.

                    J.S.Bach, the Well-Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude and
                    Fugue in C minor BWV 847 piano: Jeno Jando

Back to content | Back to main menu