The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, by Johann Sebastian Bach

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"Über dieser Fuge..."
Structure of The Art of Fugue
The "unfinished" fugue
About the realization
How to listen to The Art of Fugue
About the narratives below


The Art of Fugue

Simple Fugues
Contrapunctus I  (3:52)
Contrapunctus II  (3:12)
Contrapunctus III  (3:49)
Contrapunctus IV  (3:18)

Canon alla Ottava  (4:12)

Stretto Fugues
Contrapunctus V  (2:24)
Contrapunctus VI  (4:20)
Contrapunctus VII  (2:49)

Canon alla Decima  (4:44)

Double and Triple Fugues
Contrapunctus VIII  (5:17)
Contrapunctus IX  (2:46)
Contrapunctus X  (3:29)
Contrapunctus XI  (6:58)

Canon alla Duodecima  (3:33)

Mirror Fugues
Contrapunctus XII + inversus  (3:36)
Contrapunctus XIII + inversus  (4:23)

Canon per Augmentationem  (4:16)

Quadruple Fugue
Contrapunctus XIV  (11:52)

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Contrapunctus VI: stretto fugue, 79 bars, 4:20   

In Contrapunctus II, AOF's second "simple" fugue, Bach introduced stately dotted rhythms into his subject; here he does the same in the second of the stretto fugues, using the dotted proclivity of the stretto subject throughout this fugue in Stylo Francese. However, now there's an additional twist. At the start, you'll hear the subject from Contrapunctus V in the bass. (Although, as you can see below, it's inverted from its first entry in Contrapunctus V which, since that entry was itself inverted from the main AOF subject, recovers the regular form of that subject. Get it? Got it! Good.)

However, almost right away you will hear a diminished copy of the subject enter in the soprano:

So now, Bach is upping the ante from mere stretto, to stretto with diminution. Throughout, the subject weaves around its diminished copies in a stately promenade.

Could we up the ante even further? Onward to Contrapunctus VII!

Player image: Because all the planets of our solar system orbit in roughly the same plane, we occasionally see Mercury and Venus cross the disk of the Sun. Here, tiny Mercury appears as a diminutive circle against the immense disk of the Sun. These "transits" of Mercury across the solar disk happen regularly, about every seven years. Image credit: Transition Region And Coronal Explorer (NASA).