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Bach Art of Fugue Program Notes and Sheet Music

Bach's The Art of Fugue:

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Date of Composition: 1749

Instrumentation: Solo instruments and continuo

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes


The Art of Fugue is a collection of 14 fugues and four canons by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is considered to be one of the most important and influential works of Baroque music.

The fugues in The Art of Fugue are all based on a single theme, which Bach called the "subject." The subject is a short melody of only twelve notes. Bach uses the subject in a variety of ways to create a series of complex and beautiful fugues.

The Art of Fugue was left unfinished at Bach's death. However, it has been performed and studied by musicians for centuries. It is a testament to Bach's genius as a composer and his mastery of counterpoint.


The Art of Fugue is a masterpiece of Baroque counterpoint. Bach uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of unity and variety in the fugues. He uses imitation, inversion, and augmentation to create a sense of movement and development. He also uses stretto, in which the subject and countersubject enter simultaneously, to create a sense of excitement and tension.

The Art of Fugue is a challenging work to perform. It requires a high level of technical skill and musical understanding. However, it is also a rewarding work to perform. The fugues are full of beauty, complexity, and energy.


The Art of Fugue was not well-received when it was first published. However, it has since become one of the most popular and influential works of Baroque music. It is studied by musicians around the world and is often performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles.

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