A few weeks ago, we heard Rosie play Bach’s Prelude in C major. Did you know that this is the first of a collection of 48 pieces called The Well-Tempered Clavier?
The Well-Tempered Clavier is a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues written in all 24 major and minor keys, giving us a total of 48 pieces. It is one of the most famous collections of musical works.
Today I’m going to share one of my favourite fugues from this collection of 48, and there’s a funny story behind why it’s so memorable for me!
As most of you know, I read music at university. The Music Faculty, where we had our weekly lectures and seminars, was located just over the road from a police station. We were used to seeing some odd characters around who had just been released after a night in a cell.
One day, one such character made it from the police station and into our music faculty, for a 9am lecture on fugue! Our lecturer didn’t seem to notice that there was a very drunk and confused man in the back of the hall, and it wasn’t until half way through our lecture that this man decided to ask some questions.
Suddenly, he stood up and shouted, “Where the *@£! am I?!”
Our sweet little professor smiled at him without the least bit of shock and replied, “Oh, you’re in a lecture. We’re talking about fugue!”
And she scuttled over to the piano to play this piece…
Fugue in C Minor, BWV 847
Fugue is a musical composition based upon a musical theme (or subject) that is imitated (repeated) throughout the piece at different pitches. A fugue always has two or more melodic lines of equal importance, which helps to create an interesting texture. The melodic lines are often referred to as “voices”. Like voices in a choir, these melodic lines are independent, but come together to create a harmonious and cohesive piece.
Who was J.S. Bach?
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in Western musical history. He was a German musician and composer and came from a musical family. In his time, Bach was mostly well known for being an organist, but today it’s his vast array of compositions that our celebrated – and rightly so, because all of them are outstanding! He mastered every single art form of his day, fugue being one of them!
What is fugue?
Fugue is a musical composition based upon a musical theme (or subject) that is imitated (repeated) at different pitches. A fugue always has two or more melodic lines of equal importance. This is called counterpoint.
What is a Tierce de Picardie?
A Tierce de Picardie is a major chord that comes at the end of a minor piece. This was a common feature of 16th and 17th century compositions.
I’d love all of you to share your playing, so do please have a think of something that you’d like to perform.