Viola Solo
Viola + ...
For beginners

Arrangement for: Cello Viola Violin(2)

Composition: The Art of Fugue

Composer: Bach Johann Sebastian

Arranger: Werner Icking

Download free scores:

Selections (Contrapunctus I-VII, IX-XII, Xa, Fuga a 3 Soggetti). For 2 Violins, Viola and Cello (Icking). Complete Parts PDF 1 MBSelections (Contrapunctus I-VII, IX-XII, Xa, Fuga a 3 Soggetti). For 2 Violins, Viola and Cello (Icking). Violin 1 PDF 0 MBSelections (Contrapunctus I-VII, IX-XII, Xa, Fuga a 3 Soggetti). For 2 Violins, Viola and Cello (Icking). Violin 2 PDF 0 MBSelections (Contrapunctus I-VII, IX-XII, Xa, Fuga a 3 Soggetti). For 2 Violins, Viola and Cello (Icking). Viola PDF 0 MBSelections (Contrapunctus I-VII, IX-XII, Xa, Fuga a 3 Soggetti). For 2 Violins, Viola and Cello (Icking). Cello PDF 0 MB
The Art of Fugue (or The Art of the Fugue; German: Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080, is an incomplete musical work of unspecified instrumentation by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). Written in the last decade of his life, The Art of Fugue is the culmination of Bach's experimentation with monothematic instrumental works.
This work consists of 14 fugues and four canons in D minor, each using some variation of a single principal subject, and generally ordered to increase in complexity. "The governing idea of the work", as put by Bach specialist Christoph Wolff, "was an exploration in depth of the contrapuntal possibilities inherent in a single musical subject." The word "contrapunctus" is often used for each fugue.
The earliest extant source of the work is an autograph manuscript of the early 1740s, containing 12 fugues and 2 canons. This autograph is typically referred to by its call number of P200 in the Berlin State Library. Three manuscripts for pieces that would appear in the revised edition were bundled with P200 at some point before its acquisition by the library.
The revised version was published in May 1751, slightly less than a year after Bach's death. In addition to changes in the order, notation, and material of pieces which appeared in the autograph, it contained 2 new fugues, 2 new canons, and 3 pieces of ostensibly spurious inclusion. A second edition was published in 1752, but differed only in its addition of a preface by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg.
In spite of its revisions, the printed edition of 1751 contained a number of glaring editorial errors. The majority of these may be attributed to Bach's relatively sudden death in the midst of publication. Three pieces were included that do not appear to have been part of Bach's intended order: an unrevised (and thus redundant) version of the second double fugue, Contrapunctus X; a two-keyboard arrangement of the first mirror fugue, Contrapunctus XIII; and an organ chorale prelude "Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit" ("Herewith I come before Thy Throne"), derived from BWV 668a, and noted in the introduction to the edition as a recompense for the work's incompleteness, having purportedly been dictated by Bach on his deathbed.
The anomalous character of the published order and the Unfinished Fugue have engendered a wide variety of theories which attempt to restore the work to the state originally intended by Bach.
The Art of Fugue is based on a single subject:
which each canon and fugue employs in some variation.
The work divides into seven groups, according to each piece's prevailing contrapuntal device; in both editions, these groups and their respective components are generally ordered to increase in complexity. In the order in which they occur in the printed edition of 1751 (without the aforementioned works of spurious inclusion), the groups, and their components are as follows.
Simple fugues:
Stretto Fugues (Counter-fugues), in which the subject is used simultaneously in regular, inverted, augmented, and diminished forms:
Double and triple fugues, employing two and three subjects respectively:
Mirror fugues, in which a piece is notated once and then with voices and counterpoint completely inverted, without violating contrapuntal rules or musicality:
Canons, labeled by interval and technique:
The Unfinished Fugue:
Both editions of the Art of Fugue are written in open score, where each voice is written on its own staff. This has led some to conclude that the Art of Fugue was intended as an intellectual exercise, meant to be studied more than heard. The renowned keyboardist and musicologist Gustav Leonhardt, argued that the Art of Fugue was probably intended to be played on a keyboard instrument (and specifically the harpsichord). Leonhardt's arguments included the following:
Despite this controversy as to whether The Art of Fugue should be performed at all and, if so, on what instrument, the work has been performed and recorded by many different solo instruments and ensembles.
A handwritten manuscript of the piece known as the Unfinished Fugue is among the three bundled with the autograph manuscript P200. It breaks off abruptly in the middle of its third section, with an only partially written measure 239. This autograph carries a note in the handwriting of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, stating "Über dieser Fuge, wo der Name B A C H im Contrasubject angebracht worden, ist der Verfasser gestorben." ("At the point where the composer introduces the name BACH [for which the English notation would be B♭–A–C–B♮] in the countersubject to this fugue, the composer died.") This account is disputed by modern scholars, as the manuscript is clearly written in Bach's own hand, and thus dates to a time before his deteriorating health and vision would have prevented his ability to write, probably 1748–1749.
A number of musicians and musicologists have composed conjectural completions of Contrapunctus XIV which include the fourth subject, including musicologists Donald Tovey (1931), Zoltán Göncz (1992), Yngve Jan Trede (1995), and Thomas Daniel (2010), organists Helmut Walcha, David Goode, Lionel Rogg, and Davitt Moroney (1989), and conductor Rudolf Barshai (2010). Ferruccio Busoni's Fantasia contrappuntistica is based on Contrapunctus XIV, but it develops Bach's ideas to Busoni's own purposes in Busoni's musical style, rather than working out Bach's thoughts as Bach himself might have done. Other completions that do not incorporate the fourth subject including those by the French classical organist Alexandre Pierre François Boëly and pianist Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka.
In 2007, New Zealand organist and conductor Indra Hughes completed a doctoral thesis about the unfinished ending of Contrapunctus XIV, proposing that the work was left unfinished not because Bach died, but as a deliberate choice by Bach to encourage independent efforts at a completion.
Douglas Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach discusses the unfinished fugue and Bach's supposed death during composition as a tongue-in-cheek illustration of Austrian logician Kurt Gödel's first incompleteness theorem. According to Gödel, the very power of a "sufficiently powerful" formal mathematical system can be exploited to "undermine" the system, by leading to statements that assert such things as "I cannot be proven in this system". In Hofstadter's discussion, Bach's great compositional talent is used as a metaphor for a "sufficiently powerful" formal system; however, Bach's insertion of his own name "in code" into the fugue is not, even metaphorically, a case of Gödelian self-reference; and Bach's failure to finish his self-referential fugue serves as a metaphor for the unprovability of the Gödelian assertion, and thus for the incompleteness of the formal system.
Sylvestre and Costa reported a mathematical architecture of The Art of Fugue, based on bar counts, which shows that the whole work was conceived on the basis of the Fibonacci series and the golden ratio. The significance of the mathematical architecture can probably be explained by considering the role of the work as a membership contribution to the Correspondierende Societät der musicalischen Wissenschaften [de], and to the "scientific" meaning that Bach attributed to counterpoint.