WTC II/3 in C# major – Prelude 

    from Siglind Bruhn
J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier
In-depth Analysis and Interpretation

II/3.1.1 The prelude-type

The prelude in C# major is the only one in the second book of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier to consist of “two in one”: two clearly designated sections contrasting in every respect, be it meter or rhythmic features, melodic relevance or texture. The tempo indication in the middle of the piece (see bar 25) recalls the C minor prelude of Book I, while the sequence prelude / fugato / fugue is reminiscent of the prelude in Eb also from the first volume - with the significant difference that there, the threefold form took place within the confines of the prelude itself whereas here, it involves the fugue proper.

The regularity of the rhythmic features within the first twenty-four bars clearly designates the “prelude”-portion as harmonically determined. The apparent four-part texture hardly disguises the underlying chordal structure.

In terms of bar numbers, the change to faster tempo and triple meter occurs almost exactly in the middle of the piece in terms of actual duration, however, the proportion between the two structural halves is quite different. Yet while the “fugato” may take little more than one fourth of the time the “prelude” takes, it achieves musical balance through the intensity of its polyphonic design.

 

II/3.1.2 The overall design of the prelude

The first harmonic progression, extending over a tonic pedal, closes in the second half of bar 3 where the C# major harmony is regained. The following three bars bring forth a modulation to the dominant (G# major) which is reached in the second half of bar 6. The third harmonic progression is longer and more complex, passing through several secondary keys and resolving finally into the subdominant (F# major) in the second half of bar 13.

The fourth harmonic section is the most vivid and deserves closer inspection later; suffice it here to mention that it consists of a series of dominant-seventh chords all deceived in their resolution. These four bars (see bars 14-17) are followed by a transposition of the second progression (compare bars 18-20 with bars 4-6) which brings the return to the tonic.

A fifth progression, however, leaves C# major again and turns once more to the dominant from where the fugato is then launched.

The fugato follows with three further harmonic progressions which, however, do not make any attempts to leave the area of tonic and dominant. The very pronounced closing-formula in bars 33/34 marks the return to the tonic; a weaker cadential formula turns once more to the dominant (see bar 41d), and the final ten bars confirm the tonic with voice-splitting to a four-part chord in bar 50.

“prelude”

I

bars 1-3

I

(C# major)

II

bars 4-6

I - V

(modulation to G# major)

III

bars 7-13

V-ii-vi-I-IV

(modulation to F# major)

IV

bars 14-20

IV - I

(return to C# major)

V

bars 21-25d

I - V

(modulation to G# major)

“fugato”

VI

bars 25-34d

V - I

(return to C# major)

VII

bars 34-41d

I - V

(modulation to G# major)

VIII

bars 41-50

V - I

(final return to C# major)

 

II/3.1.3 Practical considerations for performers

The challenge posed by this prelude is to create the greatest possible difference between the two halves while at the same time conveying the message that they belong integrally together.

Difference in character is achieved mainly by variations in touch and intensity:

-

In the “prelude”, none of the notes, whether sixteenth-note, eighth-note or quarter-note, should stand out from the chordal texture of which it is but a part. Dynamically this means that any small-scale increase, any accented or agogically delayed note automatically sounds as a pretense to melodic independence - which is not what is wanted here. (In order to create this non-melodic effect, performers might even strive to counteract natural tendencies and play the soprano-ascent at the beginning of each half bar with an imperceptible decrease.)
In addition to such dynamic treatment of note-groups, the intensity in each single note should be kept at a very low profile. This is obtained by a combination of neutrally colored touch and very even articulation. While the connection between the sixteenth-notes is definitely legato and should not pose a problem, an even articulation in the eighth-notes is less easy to achieve and needs more attention than pianists are often willing to pay such secondary features. The choice is between, on the one hand, legato (which means finger-legato in note repetitions) and, on the other hand, a very gentle non legato (in which skips are no more separated than steps).

-

In the “fugato”, the opposite holds true: the texture consists of nothing but melodic features. Every note is alive in color and touch, and every line is dynamically shaped. Articulation, too, is different: the legato in the sixteenth-notes is lighter than that in the “prelude”; unmarked eighth-notes are well detached, and the eighth-notes in the “fugato”-motive sound staccato (also in all further entries where this is not specifically indicated).

Unity between the two unequal halves is achieved through tempo proportion:

one beat (quarter-note)

corresponds with

one bar (dotted quarter-note)

in the “prelude”

in the “fugato”

Ornaments appear only in the “fugato”. One is the inverted mordent in bar 28. It is played with the regular F# as the lower neighboring note. In the imitation, the inverted mordent also uses the whole tone D#-C#-D#. Despite the rule, on the one hand, that thematic ornaments are to be transferred to further entries, and the fact that the “fugato”-motive recurs several more times, such transferals do not take place in this piece. They are hampered either by the simultaneous use of the originally ornamented note in a cadential bass pattern (see bars 33 and 40) or by a varied ending of the motive (see bars 44 and 45).

Another ornament in this “fugato” is the cadential trill in bar 33. As its resolution (C#) is anticipated already on the sixteenth-note before the following strong beat, this ornament is a point d’arrêt trill: it ends without a suffix, stopping short on, or (preferably) immediately before, the beat preceding the anticipation. In this case a possible realization consists of four thirty-second-notes of which the last is tied over to the third eighth-note beat. This ornament, too, does not recur.

Finally, there is the grace-note preceding the first downbeat in the “fugato”-motive. As an appoggiatura it enhances the climax of the motive. It is indicated in bars 26 (upper voice) and 27 (middle voice) but can be played equally well in bar 31 (lower voice). Its note-value allows for two solutions. According to the rule of rhythmic splitting in dotted values, an appoggiatura of eighth-note length, followed by a quarter-note as its resolution, is perfectly acceptable. Thinking, however, of the usage to let sustained note-values in imitative texture disappear as early as possible, so as to direct the listener’s ear towards the newly entering voice, a realization with an appoggiatura of only sixteenth-note duration also has a point. In this second case, transferal of the ornament beyond the first round of entries is not possible since all further statements of the motive are accompanied by sixteenth-note lines. An eighth-note appoggiatura does not cause harmonic clashes in later entries but may sound somewhat odd; it is definitely excluded in bar 38 where it would lead to hidden octave parallels.

 

II/3.1.4 What is happening in this prelude

The first two harmonic progressions within the “prelude” describe simple and very smooth dynamic curves, with the climax on the respective subdominant chords (i.e. the downbeats of bars 2 and 5 respectively). As the second progression contains an active modulation, its dynamic increase may be slighter more pronounced than that in the first progression.

The final bar of the second progression witnesses the beginning of a tentative melodic emancipation of the tenor (see bars 6/7 and 8/9). This melodic sequence, apart from serving to highlight the relationship between the bars, remains a transitory secondary feature. Harmonically, these bars move swiftly through various modulations, reaching on their way steps ii (D# minor, see bar 7m) and vi (A# minor, see bar 8m). The dynamic equivalent contains an initial increase which is slightly stronger than any previous one (towards bar 7d) followed by an incomplete release from this V7 towards the inverted D# minor chord (bar 7m), and a weaker increase towards the next V7 (bar 8d) followed by a more definite release towards the target chord A# minor (bar 8m). The melodic sequence in the tenor, beginning on the fourth beat of this bar, engineers another increase which now launches a very gradual protracted relaxation, up to the resolution into F# major in bar 13m.

The fourth progression consists of two curves: one is launched by the most powerful dynamic increase in the “prelude”, triggered by the unexpected harmonic turn in bar 14; it is complemented by an almost reluctant and very gradual decrease through a series of “wrong resolutions” and ends unresolved (both in terms of harmony and of dynamic tension) in bar 17. [Apropos "wrong resolutions": The harmonic progression here is most bizarre: bar 14 begins with a G# major seventh chord which creates an expectation for C# major, but is followed instead by an A# major seventh chord! This now generates a longing for D# - which is reached only in the bass, while the other voices prolong the dominant-seventh. The delayed resolution is once more not satisfactory: in bar 15m, D# is reached but again in the form of a dominant-seventh chord. In the same way, the resolution of this dominant-seventh chord appears as G# major seventh (bar 16d), and its resolution is another dominant-seventh chord (on C#, see bar 16m). The consequent F# major chord in bar 17d comes with a major seventh - thus not as a dominant but as a tonic with a leading-note which one expects to hear resolved in the second half of the bar. Yet, instead of granting this melodic release which now seems so close at hand, Bach leads the soprano downwards, thus creating what turns out to be the subdominant-six-five of C# major. At this point of what could be called harmonic frustration , the listener thus comes to understand that no repetition of the F# major cadence was intended, but just a delay of the return to the home key.] The second curve, once again a regular and complete cadential progression, begins with a slight increase towards the subdominant (here: its representative ii7, see bar 19d) from where the tension falls to a complete release in the return to the tonic (bar 20m).

The final progression within the “prelude” could be played in various ways. Most convincing, in view of the unity between the two halves of this composition, is to render this renewed modulation to the dominant as a long crescendo, so as to arrive at the “fugato” in a tone quality which is different from (more intense than) that in the “prelude”, but which is not placed against the earlier color as an unrelated contrast. The diagram below (ex. 32) aims to give a picture of the relationship between the harmonic developments and the dynamic shading in the “prelude” within the prelude.

In the “fugato”, we should first determine the dynamic shape of the main motive. The beginning with a four-sixteenth-note upbeat seems to suggest a tension-increase towards bar 26d, particularly since this note is enhanced by an appoggiatura. However, the tension-decrease which can then be expected in the complementing end of the motive is thwarted by three details: the absence of the leading-note Fx which leads to a harmonically floating feeling (are we in G# major or in C#?); the energy expressed in the two staccato eighth-notes; and the rhythmic accent (syncopation) of the final note which, in addition, is intensified by an ornament. There is thus almost no dynamic relaxation.

The main motive’s initial entry is answered by two imitations, in the style of a fugue on the fifth (M) and the octave (L); a half-bar closing-formula concludes the section. Section II begins with two inverted and varied entries (bars 34-37d: L, 35-38d: U). A statement in original shape (bars 37-40: L), an incomplete inverted entry (bars 38/39: U), and another short cadential formula follow. The final section features two entries of the motive (bars 41- 45d: M, 42-45: U) above ornamental runs in the lower voice. The cadential close is extended to allow for a gradual dynamic relaxation. The piece ends in a color almost as soft (though not quite as pale) as it had begun (ex. 32).

 

 

 

WTC II/3 in C# major - Fugue

 

II/3.2.1 The subject

The subject of this C# major fugue combines both in its design and in its immediate surroundings so many unusual features that it is worth listing them before proceeding into the details.

1

With just six notes spread over the length of one bar (from the second eighth-note of bar 1 to the downbeat of bar 2), this subject is one of the shortest in the Well-Tempered Clavier . [Even shorter, in terms of the number of notes, is the subject of the C# minor fugue in volume I of the WTC. It counts only five notes, but these expand over more than three bars in fairly calm tempo. Slightly shorter in range than this subject is that of the E major fugue from volume I; yet, while also fast moving, it is at least rhythmically so stunning that it “makes more of itself”.]

2

If shortness and simplicity already seem noteworthy, even more surprising is that this brief unit appears in stretto, from its very first appearance.
The immediate assumption of any listener will necessarily be that the length of the subject is even more abridged, i.e. comprising only the initial four notes which sound unaccompanied before the second entry. Although the harmonic layout proves that this segment is insufficient for a subject (see below), Bach seems to take the foreseeable misunderstanding into account when he uses this very four-note segment several times to replace the entire subject later in the fugue (see particularly bars 25-35).

3

If the early entry of the second subject statement took the listeners by surprise, they must be all the more astonished to hear that the third entry already uses the inversion (see middle voice bars 2/3).

4

Almost each subject statement is followed by a motive which, serving as a regular extension to the entry in the particular section of the fugue, is imitated in all voices. These motives which often sound against a subject entry but are at the same time actually strung behind the preceding one confuse the listener’s expectation for a counter-subject.


Having said all this, let us now go into details. The subject spans melodically from the keynote to the third of C# minor. The pitch pattern comprises a broken chord as well as a short stepwise descent. The steps of this descent are, however, interrupted by rests, so that the overall effect of the melodic pattern in the subject is one of separated notes. The rhythm within the subject is very simple, containing exclusively eighth-note values and eighth-note rests. Variety in rhythm is, however, provided in the course of the fugue by the regular motives which introduce sixteenth-notes, thirty-second-notes and tied notes.

The harmonic background to the subject is as simple as the melodic outline. Mainly due to the concept of stretto organization, only the minimal I-V-I materializes: the tonic is represented in the three initial eighth-notes, dominant and dominant-seventh follow on the fourth and fifth subject notes respectively, and return to the tonic occurs with the final note).

The dynamic outline necessarily follows this simple design. The climax falls on G# which represents at the same time the middle of the subject, the beginning of the only non-tonic harmony and the target of the largest jump.

 

II/3.2.2 The statements of the subject

When listing the subject entries of this fugue, one can adopt different views:

-

One can count only those entries which present the subject in its full one-bar length. (There are twelve of them, and they will be given below in bold face.) For a structural explanation of the fugue, however, this is not good enough as it would leave the second half of the piece aside.

-

One can include entries which are incomplete but occur in either the original rhythm or its augmentation. (Such incomplete statements appear in the table below in ordinary print, with “augm” indicating the enlarged version.)

-

In addition, the fugue contains diminished versions of these incomplete statements. As they, too, appear in imitative setting, it is impossible at this stage to decide how important they are for the design of the fugue. (These incomplete and diminished subject entries are listed below in small print.)

-

Inversions can, of course, not be excluded. They are indicated in the table below by an asterisk.

 

In other words:

bars 1/2 U

means:

subject full length

bars 25/26 L

means:

subject shortened

bars 25/26 Maugm

means:

subject shortened and augmented

bar 5 U

means:

subject shortened and diminished

*

indicates:

subject statement inverted


With so many different shapes of the subject, one may be tempted to query where to draw the line. While, as stated above, only the result of the analysis can tell which of the statements are essential components of the design in this fugue, one can safely make two limiting decision already here:

-

A figure which resembles a shortened subject statement but appears in metrically “wrong” position (i.e. beginning not after a strong but after a weak beat and climaxing on another weak beat) is not considered as a statement, unless it is tied into a stretto together with metrically “correct” shortened entries. (Thus the figure in U: bars 14/15 is excluded for metric reasons.)

-

Equally, a figure that resembles the shortened subject but appears in an interval pattern differing from those established in subject and answer. (i.e. a zigzag of third + perfect fifth or third + perfect fourth respectively) will not be counted as a subject statement. (Thus the figure in M: bars 17/18 is excluded reasons of interval pattern.)

 
Including all variations of shape recognized in the list above, the C# major fugue contains thirty-four subject statements:
 

1

bars

1/2

L

18

bar

11

U*

2

bars

1/2

U

19

bar

11

M

3

bars

2/3

M*

20

bars

11/12

L

4

bar

3

L

21

bars

14/15

L

5

bars

4/5

U

22

bars

15/16

M

6

bars

4/5

M

23

bars

15/16

U*

7

bars

5/6

L

24

bar

17

L

8

bar

5

U

25

bars

18/19

M*

9

bars

5/6

M

26

bar

19

L*

10

bar

6

L*

27

bars

19/20

L

11

bars

7/8

L

28

bar

24

L

12

bars

7/8

M

29

bar

25

U*

13

bars

8/9

U

30

bars

25/26

Maugm

14

bar

9

L

31

bars

25/26

L

15

bars

9/10

M

32

bars

27/28

Laugm

16

bars

9/10

U

33

bars

28/29

U

17

bars

10/11

L*

34

bars

31/32

L


(ex. 33)

 

This table clearly demonstrates a number of facts:
 

-

There are four blocks of full-length entries, each comprising three subject statements (see bars 1-3: L U M, 4-6: U M L, 7-9: L M U, 14-16: L M U).

-

The second half of the fugue does not feature a single full-length entry; they only appear in the first sixteen of altogether thirty-five bars.

-

The incomplete entries in original rhythm also form several regular groups (see bars 9/10: L M U, 10-12: L U M L, 25-26: U M L, and 27-29: L U).

-

Further regular groups are built by the diminished entries (see bars 5-6: U M L, and 18-20: M L L).

-

Four shortened subject statements seem outside the groups; interestingly, all of them are in the lower voice (see bars 3, 17, 24, 31/32).


II/3.2.3 The counter-subjects

As was already mentioned earlier, the initial subject entry in the lower voice is followed by a melodic unit which recurs several times in the course of the fugue (see lower voice bar 2 D#-C#––D#-E#-C#-F#). It sounds actually against another subject statement and could thus be heard as a counter-subject. This seems, however, not the chief purpose of this motive, as it is in fact conceived as an extension to an entry. This is obvious in the many cases where it occurs only after but not against a subject statement (see e.g. bars 2/3: U, bar 16: M and bar 16/17 U). The same can be said about another extension which is introduced in bar 8 (see lower voice B# to F#). It, too, appears always strung after a subject entry, and recurs as such with slight variations quite frequently in the course of the fugue.

We are therefore better advised to abandon the rigid concept of counter-subjects for this fugue and to speak of motives. As, however, these motives partake fairly consistently in the imitation process, it would also be meaningless to consider them purely as secondary material. This becomes all the more obvious when we discover that both of them are actually elaborate variations of the incomplete subject itself. Compare the motives with the interval structure in the answer (ex. 34):

 

II/3.2.4 The episodes

As was already mentioned above, the line between bars determined by subject statements on the one hand and subject-free passages on the other hand is somewhat blurred in this fugue. Its seems therefore advisable to forego the attempt to distinguish episodes, and to describe the process of material development chronologically rather than systematically. (See below.)

 

II/3.2.5 Character, tempo, articulation, ornament realization

The tempo in this fugue may not be too fast, so that it can convincingly accommodate the tied sixteenth-notes as well as the thirty-second-note runs at the end of the piece. The relative tempo of the prelude to the fugue should be chosen in logical progression from one pace to the next:

 

a quarter-note in the “prelude”

corresponds with

a bar in the Allegro

an eighth-note in the Allegro

corresponds with

an eighth-note in the fugue


Approximate metronome settings:
prelude beats = 64, Allegro bars = 64, fugue beats = 96

It is interesting to observe that, in this fugue, a complex rhythmic pattern seems to be at odds with the ubiquitous broken-chord figures of the subject and the subject-motive. Yet the conclusion drawn from the rhythmic features that the basic tempo is actually rather calm is in fact supported by a detail present in the subject itself. The rests between the descending notes reveals this clearly. Had Bach conceived the character of this piece as lively, then the rests would not have been necessary, for the three notes, if written as quarter-notes, would have been played non legato anyway. It is only in calm basic character that they would be rendered legato and need rests to indicate the desired separation.

For the articulation of most of the notes in this fugue, however, the distinction between lively and calm basic character has no relevance. We are dealing here almost exclusively with two features: on the one hand eighth-notes in patterns of jumps (which would be played non legato in either character), on the other hand shorter notes in stepwise patterns (which would be played legato in either character). The distinction between the two characters only has repercussions for the longer note values in stepwise motion and there are very few of them (see mainly the descending syncopations in bars 30/31: U).

No ornaments are indicated in this piece.

 

II/3.2.6 The design of the fugue

The following table describes the events of this fugue in chronological order. Roman numbers (designating, in traditional fugue analysis, the beginning of a new section) are used whenever a process comes to a harmonic conclusion of some sort, and whenever this harmonic conclusion coincides with other features (reduced number of voices, new stretto beginning etc.) which suggests a new beginning. Because of the overwhelming use of stretto in this fugue, traditional criteria for counting subject entries in a section must obviously be regarded as not applicable.

I

bars 1 - 4d

a)

The section opens with a stretto of three complete subject statements, the third of which is inverted (see bars 1-3d: L U M).

b)

This stretto is followed by four statements of M1 (see bars 2-4: L + U original, M inverted + sequenced).

c)

The M1 imitation in the middle voice is met by an incomplete inverted subject statement in the lower voice.

x)

The final eighth-notes in the lower voice as well as the closing-formula in the upper voice of keynote / leading-note / (omitted) keynote create a cadential close in the tonic.

II

bars 4 - 7d

 a)

The section opens with a stretto of three complete subject statements, the third of which is shortened by one note (see U M L). Extra density is achieved by a mock entry in the lower voice, a free variation of the subject (modified with regard to both interval pattern and metric position). As this figure recurs, we shall refer to it as Ms, “motive related to the subject” (see bar 4: C#-B#-D#-G#). [This fugue is full of jumping notes which could, in some way or another, be regarded as deriving from the subject. For the sake of clarity, we shall mention here only those which seem to be of structural significance in the context of true entries.]
Overlapping with the final statement of the stretto follow (almost like an echo) three incomplete diminished entries in the same order (see U M L), the third of which is inverted.

b)

Only the first entry is followed by M1 (see bar 5: U) which breaks off before its final note to give way to the diminished subject entry.

x)

Bars 6/7 contain none of the established material. Instead, the lower-voice eighth-notes and the upper-voice formula designate another a cadential close. Again, the resolution appears incomplete: this time the target note in the bass is omitted.

III

bars 7 - 14m

a)

This section also opens with a stretto of three complete subject statements (see bars 7-9d: L M U ).

b)

Each of the three entries is followed first by M2 (bars 8-9m: L M U) and then by an incomplete inverted statement (bars 9/10: L M U).

c)

Overlapping with this stretto enter two further statements of M2 (see bars 10/11: L original, M inverted) followed by four incomplete subject entries (bars 10-12: L + U inverted, M + L original).

x)

Bars 12-14m contain descending sequences in all three voices which lead to an imperfect cadence (E# major = V/vi).

IV

bars 14m - 25

a)

Once more a section opens with a stretto of three complete subject statements. The shape of the entries (two in original followed by one in inversion) recalls section I, the mock entry with Ms, here in the upper voice (see bars 14/15: E#-C#-E#-A#) establishes a link to section II, and the entering order of the voices (see bars 14m-16m: L M U) relates section IV to section III.

b)

The stretto is followed first by four statements of M1 (see bars 15m-17m: L + M original, U inverted + sequenced) and then by two statements of M2 (the first of them inverted, see bars 17/18: U).

c)

The M1 sequence and the M2 statements are met by an incomplete subject statement in the lower voice (see bar 16) plus a variation of Ms (see bars 17/18 M: C#-B#-E#-A#). The arrangement of the subject extensions (three-part imitation followed by sequences in the last voice) and the emergence of an incomplete lower-voice entry against the sequence of M1 all relate this section structurally to section I (compare bars 2m-3m with 16m-17m).

d)

This combination is followed in the next three bars by three diminished subject entries (bars 18-20: M + L inverted, L original) as well as a variation of M2 with two sequences (see bars 19-21: U).

x)

Bars 21/22 feature descending sequences and a cadential bass pattern which would lead to a cadential close in F# major if only the upper voice did not so obviously sustain the seventh E#. Bars 22m-24d then contain ascending sequences with three entries of Ms in the lower voice, thus launching a new thrust.

e)

Bars 24/25 quote M2 three times (original in U, inverted in U, original but varied in M); these are met by an incomplete subject statement in L. This close thus picks up what was begun in bar 17.

V

bars 25 - 35

a)

This section opens with a particularly close stretto. Its three subject statements are all incomplete; one is inverted, one augmented, only one original (see bars 25/26: U/M/L).

b)

The stretto is surrounded by four statements of M2 (see bars 25-27: L varied, U varied, U inverted, M inverted) which are met by two quotes of a variation of Ms (L).

c)

The following nine imitations and sequences of M2 belong together; they are met by a subject entry in the lower voice which is incomplete but augmented, an incomplete subject statement in the upper voice, and another entry of Ms in the middle voice. (Note that the density of stretto and counteracting motives was extremely high in bars 25/26, last but not least because the subject statements followed each other much sooner than ever before. In the following five bars, this density lessens gradually.) Here are the details:

*

bars 27/28 U: M2 + sequence, L: incomplete subject augmented;

*

bars 28/29 M: M2 + sequence, U: incomplete subject statement;

*

bars 29/30 U: M2 inverted + original, M: Ms;

*

bars 30-32 L: M2 inverted + original + inverted + incomplete S entry.

x)

Bars 32-35 contain no obvious quotes from the material but constitute the step from the dominant pedal (see bars 32/33: L, with ornamentation) to the tonic pedal in double octave (see bars 33m-35).

(The lessening density of material here is matched by a growing density of texture. At the end of the first appearance of the dominant pedal, the middle voice splits to build a five-part and a four-part chord; see bars 29/30. The same splitting is repeated at the beginning of the recuperation of the pedal note; see bar 32: five-part chord followed by four-part texture until the end of the piece; final bar: five parts.)


The above listing of the material that makes up each section allows several observations which are of vital importance for the understanding of this fugue.

a)

Each of the five sections begins similarly with a three-part stretto. We can particularly notice a similarity between the opening of I and IV.

b)

In each of them, the subject statements are followed by one of the extension motives. As the fugue progresses, incomplete entries (also in stretto) are added. From one section to the next we can observe an obvious expansion of material.

I:

M1 (4 x) + 1 extra entry

II:

Ms + M1 (1 x) + stretto of 3 diminished entries

III:

M2 (3x) + stretto of 3 entries + M2 (2 x) + stretto of 4 entries

IV:

Ms + M1 (4 x) + M2 (2 x) + 1 extra entry + Ms + M2var (3x) + Ms (3x)

V:

M2 (4 x) + Ms (3 x) + M2 (9 x) + 1 extra entry

c)

Each subject stretto is followed by another entry or group of entries. In this regard, one can also observe a gradual expansion of the sections:

I:

incomplete statement represented by one single entry (L), appearing against M1 imitation and serving simultaneously as cadential formula; cadential close incomplete because of omitted lower-voice note; no subject-free portion.

II:

incomplete statement represented by one three-part stretto of the diminished version, sounding against the end of main stretto; one-bar subject-free portion; cadential close incomplete because of omitted upper-voice note.

III:

incomplete statement represented by one three-part stretto + one four-part stretto of the undiminished version; overlapping with M2 imitation; three-bar subject-free portion; cadential close incomplete (i.e. ending in imperfect cadence).

IV:

incomplete entry represented by one single statement (L), three diminished entries + another single entry (L), appearing against several M2 statements; three-bar subject-free portion in-between; cadential close incomplete both because of the omitted lower-voice note and because of the imperfect cadence.

V:

incomplete statement represented by one single augmented entry (L) + two single entries (U and L), appearing against and after nine M2 statements; four-bar subject-free portion; cadential close complete - finally - with a long dominant pedal (bars 28-30, 32/33) and a doubled tonic pedal (33-35).


For a sketch showing the design of this fugue, see ex. 35.

 

 

 

II/3.2.7 The overall dynamic outline of the fugue

The rise and fall of tension in this fugue describes a very regular pattern. Each section commences with fairly high intensity. The intensity is slightly higher in the second and fourth sections than in the third because of the additional mock entry with Ms, and higher even in section V because of the particular density and the augmented statement. In each section, the tension then decreases. In section I, tension declines sharply after the stretto, in section II, it subsides gradually through the diminished entries, and in section III, it abates even more gently through two strettos with incomplete entries. In sections IV and V the decrease in tension seems to follow that in section I, but is then prolonged by an extended stretch in moderate intensity. Sections II and III end in fairly soft tones, while sections I and IV present material up to the very end and thus do not create so much relaxation. Only the extended cadential close in section V provides a complete release.