What’s the answer?

The Well Tempered Clavier,
preludes and fugues in all tones and semitones,
in the major as well as the minor modes,
for the benefit and use
of musical youth desirous of knowledge
as well as those who are already advanced in this study.
For their especial diversion, composed and prepared by
Johann Sebastian Bach,
currently ducal chapelmaster in Anhalt Cöthen
and director of chamber music,
in the year 1722.

As you know, fugues begin with all the voices – from two to five in the case of the Well Tempered Clavier – in turn announcing the fugue theme; a process which is called the exposition. These announcements, however, don’t all have the same pitch or function and take the form of a kind of musical conversation, consisting of statements and answers.

This week we’ll take look at some fugal expositions and see what makes them tick(??).

Course materials:

Here are the expositions of the d and E-flat fugues from Book I  (if you want to access them off-line, they can be downloaded from the box on the right):

Fugue d exposition

Fugue Eb exposition

… and below (still!) is some general stuff – useful for intervals, key signatures, etc.


Cycle of 5ths

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