Listening Log

Bach – Fugue 953 in C Major

In order to explore different methods of contrapuntal diversions I have analysed two Fugues written by J.S. Bach. This is the second fugue I have analysed.

The subject of the fugue is played on its own to start with. This is followed in bar 3 with an imitation transposed to G major. A second phrase is introduced just before bar 4 in beats 3 & 4 of the third bar. The second phrase is augmented through bar 7 and 8. This second phrase is played over the first phrase which is another augmentation of the subject which starts on beat 2 of bar 5.

The newly augmented subject plays through bars 9-13. The second phrase is then added to bar 13 which answers the newly augmented subject as previously discussed. The subject makes a return in beat 2 of bar 13 and is transposed in to A (as represented by the use of G# and F# and the occasional C#) The left hand in beat 4 of bar 13 and bar 14 replicates or “imitates” the right hand from bars 5 and 6. With the augmented addition of extra beats rest in bar 15. The subject that started in bar 13 repeats the developed idea from before until we see the introduction of a completely new idea in bar 17 on the top line of the music which is played over a diminished imitation of the original subject in the left hand.

In bar 19 we see where the subject is diminished the reduced subject allows a transition in to a new rhythmic pattern which uses both quavers and semi quavers to provide an audibly pleasant contrast. in Bar 20 the first half of bar 19 is repeated and transposed down a tone in bar 20 and then repeated as it forms it’s own new musical pattern. This new pattern is then augmented at bar 22 before bar 23 imitates bar 19 but is transposed down in order to modulate through to the next bar. Bar 23 is then repeated and transposed down further by a tone in to B minor. In bar 25 we have modulated on to the dominant G. Beats 3 and 4 of bar 25 are then inverted which brings us back to the original subject played in bar 26. The two lines we hear are the subject and the subject which has been completely inverted until the last two beats of bar 28.

In beats 3 and 4 of bar 28 we hear a repetition of the phrase from bar 19. This is a diminished version of the subject. However the left hand is performing the long augmented phrase that we heard back in bars 5 – 8. the right hand in bars 29-33 echo from bar 9. He has taken the rhythmic figure from bars 9-11 and transposed it to start on the G or the Dominant.

From bar 33 we hear two lines being played as an inversion (just as in bars 26-28) Only the phrase is diminished until it finished on bear 2 of 34. In beats 3 and 4 we hear a return of the diminished subject which is then reduced even further in the right hand in bar 35 which modulates throughout bar 35 before finally finishing on a perfect cadence of the Dominant 7 to the Tonic.

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