Questions on Fugue No. 12
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
by Johann Sebastian Bach
©2014 Timothy A. Smith

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  1. How many of the following statements are true of the F minor and B minor fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier, book 1?

    • The B minor subject uses all 12 tones of the chromatic scale.
    • The F minor subject uses all 12 tones of the chromatic scale.
    • The B minor subject and answer use all 12 tones of the chromatic scale.
    • The F minor subject and answer use all 12 tones of the chromatic scale.

    One of the above
    Two of the above
    Three of the above
    All of the above

  2. What is the most plausible reason for the chromaticism in the F minor and B minor fugues of the WTC book 1?

    Both fugues are in minor and both have four voices.
    The fm is a permutation fugue and the bm is not.
    The fm fugue has four flats and the bm has two sharps.
    The fm fugue is the halfway point of the cycle and the bm is at the end.

  3. The root word "chroma" is to Monet as:

    A cymbal clash to a French chef.
    The smell of a rose to a perfumer.
    The taste of cognac to an NFL referee.
    The texture of a horse's nose to Justin Bieber.

  4. The correct intonation of this fugue is possible if performed:

    on an ill-tempered clavier.
    by a saxophone quartet.
    by a barbershop quartet.
    by two of the above.
    by any of the above.

  5. Musical chromaticism is related to enharmonicism. Andreas Werckmeister, who invented the "well-tempered" system of tuning described enharmonicism as a "great metamorphosis in the harmony . . . in an instant one passes from one genus to another," and a "mirror and image of our mortality and incompleteness of this life." Complete the following analogy.

    In neo-Platonic thought, the written pitch F is to an unwritten E sharp as:

    an amoeba to a triangle.
    the body to the soul.
    the material universe to logic.
    two of the above
    all of the above

  6. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
         Tell me, if you have understanding.
    Who determined its measurements - surely you know!
         Or who stretched the line upon it?
    On what were its bases sunk,
         or who laid its cornerstone,
    when the morning stars sang together
         and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

    In answer to the questions asked in the foregoing poem, Athanasius Kircher would have replied on behalf of all humanity:

    Our material existence was an accident waiting to happen, as if this fugue were to have sprung into being by a lightning strike in a primordial ocean after which we crawled chromatically on to the beach one day.
    Our material existence was planned but not yet actual, as in the moment that Bach imagined this fugue but had not yet played or written it down.

  7. The "fugal complex" of the present fugue consists of:

    the subject in counterpoint with itself.
    the subject in counterpoint with two countersubjects.
    Neither of the above is true.
    Both of the above are true.

  8. Which statement is true of this fugue?

    Its triple counterpoint yields modal variation.
    Bach used every possible textural permutation.
    Neither of the above is true.
    Both of the above are true.

  9. Kirnberger conceived of the subject's alternating ups and downs by semitone as:

    a dialogue.
    despairing and doubtful.
    boring.
    two of the above
    all of the above

  10. There are seven sequential episodes, each developing material in the countersubjects. Two are unique insofar as they: (1) develop the 1st countersubject with overlaid fragments of the 2nd, then (2) develop the 2nd countersubject with overlaid fragments of the 1st. These two sequences begin in:

    mm. 10 & 16.
    mm. 22 & 31.
    mm. 37 & 50.
    mm. 31 & 44.

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