How many voices (lines) can a fugue realistically have?

Asked by: Barbara Waters

The number of parts (voices) in the fugue is likewise flexible. Most fugues are in three or four voices (“à 3” or “à 4”), but not all of these are used at any given moment; it is common for an episode to proceed in as few as two voices.

How many parts are in a fugue?

A fugue usually has three main sections: an exposition, a development and a final entry that contains the return of the subject in the fugue’s tonic key.

What is a three voice fugue?

When all voices have presented a subject or an answer the exposition ends. In a 3 voice fugue we would have subject, answer, subject. In a 4 voice fugue we would have subject, answer, subject, answer.

How many movements does a fugue have?


Here and in the Great Fugue, Beethoven divides the fugue into sections, with changes of key, metre, and tempo; the Great Fugue assembles a three-movement structure into a single movement about 25 minutes long, all controlled by a single fugue subject with several countersubjects.

What is a real fugue?

A fugue is a contrapuntal composition whose form features sections called expositions and episodes. A fugue exposition is a section that contains at least one full statement of the subject of the fugue. 1. The fugue subject is the primary melodic idea and is stated by each voice in turn in the first exposition.

How many voices or individual lines are there in Bach’s Contrapunctus 1 from The Art of fugue?

Simple fugues: Contrapunctus 1: four-voice fugue on principal subject. Contrapunctus 2: four-voice fugue on principal subject, accompanied by a ‘French’ style dotted rhythm. Contrapunctus 3: four-voice fugue on principal subject in inversion, employing intense chromaticism.

How long is a subject in a fugue?

The “subject” of a fugue is its main theme. It is generally short–one or two measures–but may be longer (3-4 measures).

How do you write a 4 part fugue?

How To Write A Fugue

  1. The exposition begins the fugue and a single voice plays the subject establishing the tonic key. …
  2. The middle section consists of entries of subject and answer in keys other than the tonic separated by episodes. …
  3. The final section begins where the subject or answer returns in the tonic key.

Is fugue vocal or instrumental?

A fugue is the most complex polyphonic musical form, involving imitation among the parts (called “voices” whether they are vocal or instrumental). The word fugue comes from fuga, meaning to chase since each voice “chases” the previous one.

How many different musical lines are generally occurring simultaneously in a fugue?

Fugue – A fugue usually has at least three independent parts, or voices. The different voices enter at different times on the same melodic theme (called the subject), so that the beginning may sound like a canon.

Is Row Row Row Your Boat a fugue?

Fugue vs. canon: Jeph Irish emailed (4/16/98) that “Row Row Row Your Boat” “is a circular canon, or round. A fuguing tune begins with a staggered entrance.” In a canon, each voice performs the same melody in turns, but a fugue has similar but separate parts which end in a single chord.

What is a double fugue?

Definition of double fugue

: a musical fugue (see fugue entry 1 sense 1b) with two subjects (see subject entry 1 sense 3f) that are treated both separately and simultaneously.

How do you identify a fugue?

The Basic Structure of a Fugue

  1. Subject: The opening of a fugue is known as its exposition. …
  2. Answer: The subject is then followed by an answer, which is a near-exact copy of the subject that is played by a different voice in either the dominant or subdominant key.

What is the overall texture of a fugue?

The fugue subject comes in alone by itself in monophonic texture but the remaining parts of the fugue is in intense polyphonic texture.

What is the basis of a fugue?

In music, a fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and recurs frequently in the course of the composition.

What pitch ranges are typically used in a fugue?

The number of voices in a fugue generally ranges from three to five, but eight or even ten voices are possible in large choral or orchestral fugues. Fugues in fewer than three voices are rare, because with two voices the subject can only jump back and forth between the upper and lower voice.

How many voices state the subject in the exposition of JS Bach’s Little fugue in G minor?

Most fugues have four voices, although Bach wrote for as few as two and as many as six.

Fugue in G minor.

Time Form What to listen for
0’00” Exposition The subject is heard first in the soprano voice, then alto, then tenor, then bass

How are fugues written?

It is a work of polyphonic textual writing consisting of overlapping and interacting melodic lines. It is based on a short theme called a subject. And can be written for any number of voices but