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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bach's WTC, Vol. 1, Fugue 15 in G

I played this piece last semester and this site would have been enormously helpful then! This piece has a really long subject. It is 5 measures long. In entirety the fugue has a total of 3 subjects. The second subject joins during the last measure of the first subject. This overlapping adds thick texture and dimensions to the the piece. Measures 9 and 10 are a little break before the third subject enters at measure 11 until measure 15. It's very hard for me to hear cadences in fugues because there's always one part moving. I really love the suspensions starting in measure 17 in the inner voices. They are so beautiful when stretched out. The new melodic material in these few notes adds a lot of tension to a fairly happy and "bouncey" piece. It's amazing now that I'm listening to it again how beautiful the piece really is in its simplest form when one can merely listen and enjoy it. When I played it, I had so many things going on in my brain about how to articulate and bring out certain subjects and how to do inverted subjects differently and play countersubjects similarly that I couldn't ever enjoy the piece. Starting at measure 20 there is some intensity building in variations of the themes. The theme is inverted a few times. Trills are added as a prep for something new coming. Then there is a lot of counter scalar passages. This leads into the development section. Momentarily the inner voice is excluded while the upper voice plays a scalar melody with the main theme in the bass. This really brings out the contrast in range, timbre, and rhythm between the upper and lower voices. The first couple measures of the development remind me of the Grand Russian scale where they switch between counter and parallel scalar passagaes. The development has many instances of inversion, fragmentation, and imitation. There's a descending sequence pattern between 47 and 51 and another between 65 and 69 that brings us back to the restatement of the original subject back in the original key. Each voice is restated and the piece closes after a flurry of runs with sixteenths and thirty-seconds on a PAC in GM on what now seems like a very lengthy dotted eighth. Doing this analysis makes me want to go back and play this piece again.


MeatPopsicle said...

I liked how you mentioned how effective in contrast leaving out a voice was to the listener. I should have made a similar comment in my analysis. WHat is a "grand russian scale?"

Martin Buber said...

what do you mean it has three subjects--are you talking about countersubjects too?