Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why is Bach's Little Fugue little?

We've played "Little Fugue" by J.S. Bach before, but Michael Kaster has published a new version that we're using this year (our old one is permanently out of print).

Little Fugue in G Minor is one of Bach's most recognizeable melodies. A classic fugue: "a contrapuntal composition in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition."

But why is it little? There's nothing little about it. But it is shorter than Bach's later work, "Great Fantasia and Fugue in G minor," and so the subtitle "Little" was added to distinguish between them.

For extra credit: compare the performance this season with the earlier Kastner transcription on Second City Sounds, and see if you can tell what was changed!

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