Theories of Fugue from the Age of Josquin to the Age of Bach

October 2000
4 black and white, 30 line illustrations
499 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS006000, MUS041000

Theories of Fugue from the Age of Josquin to the Age of Bach

Paul Mark Walker


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An analysis of the history and methodology of the pre-Bach baroque fugue.
Few bodies of Western music are as widely respected, studied, and emulated as the fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach. Despite the esteem which Bach's contributions brought to the genre, however, the origin and early history of the fugue remain poorly understood. Theories of Fugue from the Age of Josquin to the Age of Bach addresses both the history and methodology of the pre-Bach fugue [from roughly 1500 to 1700], and, of greatest significance to the literature, it seeks to present a way out of the methodological dilemma of uncertainty which has plagued previous scholarly attempts by considering what musicians of the time had to say about the fugue: what it was, what it was not, how important it was, and where and how a composer should [or shouldn't] use it.

Paul Mark Walker is Director of the Early Music Ensemble at the University of Virginia and an expert on the history of the fugue.

Table of Contents

Fugue in the High Renaissance
Fugue at the End of the Renaissance, Part I: Italy and the Netherlands
Fugue at the End of the Renaissance, Part II: Germany
German Theory During the Thirty Years War: Fugue in Latin School Music Texts
Italian Influence on German Fugal Theory, 1640-1680
Instrumental Fugue and the Emergence of Fugal Structure in the Third Quarter of the Seventeenth Century
Invertible Counterpoint and the Hamburg Circle of Theorists
Fugal Theory, 1680-1710
Fugal Theory in German Lexicographic Texts
Fugal Theory, 1710-1740; Mattheson and Fux


Distilling and organizing the contents of several hundred primary sources, Paul Mark Walker is especially to be commended for his thorough investigation of German manuscript sources, and he achieves a clear and concise account of the development of fugal theory over a span of two centuries. Examples and apt quotations draw the reader into the evolving theory of fugue. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT [William Renwick]

Winner of the 2002 William H. Scheide Prize, from the American Bach Society, for a publication of exceptional merit on Bach or figures in his circle.

Significant contribution to our better understanding of the history of fugues. BACH BIBLIOGRAPHY

An important addition to the literature on the history of musical forms. CHOICE

This is a fine and valuable book, encyclopaedic in its coverage of the subject, and the only treatment [in any language] of the entire field. It is an extraordinary achievement. MUSIC & LETTERS

Lucidly and engagingly written. . . this book is an outstanding contribution to scholarship and a definitive work, indispensable for the historical study of fugue. THE AMERICAN ORGANIST

Anyone interested in the fascinating topic of the emergence of the Baroque will find this book a welcome addition to the overall picture of that important period of musical history. AMERICAN RECORDER

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