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Art of Fugue: Simple Fugues
and Canon at the Octave

Because they contain no stretti, melodic inversions (within a single fugue), augmentations or diminutions, the first group of four fugues are sometimes called "simple."

In Contrapunctus III Bach employs the first countersubject of the cycle. This motive runs counter to eight of the twelve statements of the subject (or answer). Not as discernable as the subject, the countersubject is a significant figure in that it lends this fugue its distinctly chromatic sound. The harmonic complexity generated by this countersubject is a precursor of things to come.

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