5—The Fugues
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35 One may liken a fugue to an oration, in that the subject is announced simply and is then expounded upon and the subject matter examined in detail and developed. In working through the argument, the orator will reinforce points using various rhetorical devices, all of which have counterparts in musical figures.1 In forms of such complexity and magnitude, it is essential to be aware of the architecture of the movement and to understand its structural elements, changes of affect, and dynamic gradations. The fugues epitomize the German musical aesthetic concept of polyphony on a single stringed instrument, and so one must always think of the music horizontally, taking care to bring out the individual melodic lines. Chords are only to be thought of vertically when considering their harmonic function; essentially , though, they are vocal coincidences, points at which two, three, or four voices come together briefly. The three fugues are an interesting study in affective contrast, reflected in the choice of metre. The G-minor’s alla breve time signature, coupled with the word allegro, suggests a brisk, light affect, tempered by the subject’s gently falling direction ; the A-minor’s rising, leaping eighth-note subject suggests an excited, energetic approach; the C-major’s theme, on the other hand—once more an alla breve, but this time in note values twice as long—radiates calm optimism. G-Minor I find that the principal subject works well bowed “as it comes” throughout the movement, whether starting up- or down-bow. The opening statement can be played this way until the arrival of the first episode, where it will be necessary to take the second sixteenth-note up-bow. The purpose of this is twofold: 1. I recommend Judy Tarling’s excellent, exhaustive examination of this subject in The Weapons of Rhetoric (St. Albans, UK: Corda Music Publications, 2013). chapter five The Fugues 36 The Accompaniment in “Unaccompanied” Bach (a) Playing the two sixteenth-notes in the subject (or the two eighth-notes) with consecutive up-bows energizes them, draws attention to them, and tends to equalize them dynamically, whereas the second of each pair should be lighter: The motivic rhythmic figure is another baroque cliché that appears countless times in eighteenth-century music. For the sake of elegance, as well as the lightness of affect suggested by the time signature and the qualifying word, allegro, it is important to avoid accentuating the fourth quarter-note, organizing the subject in this way: (b) In this way, Bach’s varied harmonization is better served: Without hesitating at the end of the Adagio, start the fugue quietly in the upper third of the bow, using a lifted détaché stroke: the fourth eighth-note will be lengthened to connect to the sixteenth-notes. Use more bow on the second and third beats of m. 2 so as to arrive in the lower half, for unplayable features and passages that would be comfortable on an organ involve compromise on the violin. For example, the following passage includes two instances of the need to sustain a note on one string while simultaneously playing separate notes on the adjacent string but articulated as in the initial statement of the subject: This can be done without resorting to portato, only using pressure of the index finger to articulate the moving notes. Once again, bowing “as it comes” brings one to a down-bow on the tied notes: take care to pace the bow-stroke on the tie so as to leave more room for expression on the dissonance. 7 17 27 37 47 57 67 74 C &b ≤ ≥≤ ≥ b ≥ ≤ ≥ b ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ‰ œ J œ œ œ œœ ‰ œ œ œ j‰ œ J œj ‰ œ œ œ j‰ œœ œ n œ j ‰ œ œ œ J ‰ œ j ‰ Œ Œ Ó Ó &b , , # # &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b # # # # n &b &b # # n # n &b b b ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ œœœ œœœœœ œ J œœ œœœ œ # œ n œ j ‰ œœœœj œ J ‰ œj ‰ ‰ ‰ œœœœ œ œ J œj‰ œ œœ ‰ œj œœ œj ‰ œ œœœ œ™ œ œ™ œ œ J ‰ œj‰ Œ Œ œ J œ™ œ œ j œœ ˙˙ œ # œ œœ ˙ ˙ œ œœœ ˙ œœœœ œœœœ ˙ œœœœ œ̇ œ # œœ ˙ œ̇œœœ ˙ œ œœœ œ œœœ ˙ œ œ œœ œ œ œœ ˙ œ œœœ œ œœœ ˙ œœœ œ œœœ œ œ™ œ œ # œ œ J œ œœœœœœœ œ œœœœœœœ œ œœœ œ œ # œœ œ œœœœœœœ œ œœœ œ œœœ œ œœœ œj œ œœœ œ œœœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ œ J œœœ œ n œ b ‰ œœ œ j‰ œ J œj ‰ œ œœ j‰ œœ œ n œ j ‰ œ œ œ J ‰ œ j ‰ Œ Œ Ó Ó &b , , # # &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b # # # # n &b &b # # n # n &b b ≤ ≥ b ≤ ≥ ≥ ? ≤ ≥≤ ≤ , &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ œœœ œœœœœ œ J œœ œœœ œ # œ n œ j ‰ œœœœj œ J ‰ œj ‰ ‰ ‰ œœœœ œ œ J œj‰ œ œœ ‰ œj œœ œj ‰ œ œœœ œ™ œ œ™ œ œ J ‰ œj‰ Œ Œ œ J œ™ œ œj œœ ˙˙ œ # œ œ œ ˙ ˙ œ œœœ ˙ œœœœ œœœœ ˙ œœœœ œ̇ œ # œœ ˙ œ̇œœœ ˙ œ œœœ œ œœœ ˙ œ œ œœ œ œ œœ ˙ œ œœœ œ œœœ ˙ œœœ œ œœœ œ œ™ œ œ # œ œ J œœœœœœœœœœœœœœœœ œ œœœ œ œ # œœœœœœœœœœ œ œœœœ œœœ œ œœœ œj œ œœœ œ œœœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ œ J œ œ œ œ n œ b ‰ œ œ œ j‰ œ J œj ‰ œ œ œ j‰ œœ œ n œ j ‰ œ œ ‰ œ bJ ‰ œj œ j œj œ J ‰ œ œ œ J ‰ œ œ œ b œj œj œ J ‰ œ œ œ œ œ œœœœ œj ‰ œ # j ‰ œ J œ J œj ‰ ‰ œ œ œ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ &b ≥ ≤ ≥º º - &b # ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ Ó Ó Ó ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ Œ Œ ‰ ‰ Œ Ó ‰ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ ‰ ‰ œ b j ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ œ n œ œ œ b œœ œ œ œ œ œ œœœ J ‰ œ œ œ œj ‰ œ J ‰ œj œj Ó œ b J ‰ Œ œ œ œ œœœœ œ j œ J 2 37 The Fugues Chords should generally be played as they come, and although it is usually desirable for the stronger of a consecutive pair to be played down-bow, it is often necessary , for the character of the fugal subject, to play strong chords up-bow: The essential...