Music Theory III Assignment — Bach’s B–Major Fugue from the Well–Tempered Clavier, Book 1

1. Listen. Listen 5 times through in order to get familiar with the piece. First, listen to everything. Then, on successive hearings, listen to individual part—first soprano, then alto, etc.

2. Label. In the score, label all appearances of the subject. (If there is a tonal answer, label all middle entries that correspond to the tonal answer as "A.") Also label the following, if they appear: countersubject, stretto, inversion, augmentation, fragmented subjects, etc. Mark any other interesting observations you find.

3.Exposition.
a. How many voices does this fugue have? Where does the Exposition end?
b. Is the answer real or tonal? If tonal, which notes are have been altered/shifted?
c. There is a countersubject here, but its use throughout the fugue differs from the countersubjects we have seen so far. How does it differ?

4. Rhythmic Motive. A rhythmic figure appears in the alto and soprano parts (quarter–eighth–eighth) in measure 9. It reappears numerous times: m.10 (S), m.14 (SA), m.15 (A), m.26 (SA), m.27 (S). This rhythmic motive is generated from which part of the fugue subject?

5. Measures 18–21. In what manner does the subject appear in these measures? On what scale degree does the subject enter in m.18? What about in m.20?

6. Measure 21. What makes the subject entrance in measure 21 something of a surprise? How is the harmonic support shifted?

7. Measure 24. What about the subject appearance beginning in m.24 is different from the others in this fugue? What scale degree does it enter on?

8. Number of voices. Of the 26 measures following the exposition, in how many are only 3 of the 4 voices present?

9. Ending. We hear two final appearances of the subject in mm.29–32. Compare measures 29–30 (alto) with measures 5–6 soprano. What has Bach done with the countersubject in measures 31–32?