Questions on Fugue No. 17
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
by Johann Sebastian Bach
©1999 Timothy A. Smith

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  1. How is the A-flat Major fugue like every other tonal work?

    It develops a motive.
    It is soprano dominated.
    It centers on one pitch.
    It undergoes modulation.

  2. In language, syntax can reveal the meaning of unfamiliar words. Henrich Schenker theorized that tonal music, too, has syntax. His analytical method reveals the musical syntax in what he called:

    an interruption.
    a fundamental structure.
    the foreground.
    diminution.

  3. The main premise of Schenkerian analysis is that every composition prolongs its tonal space. "Prolongation" is accomplished by means of "diminution," which involves:

    cutting note values into halves or thirds.
    representing pitches of high structural value with open noteheads.
    slurring notes that are lower in the hierarchy to notes that are higher.
    expressing pitches of longer duration in notes of shorter duration.

  4. Schenkerian analysis accounts for the when, how, and why, of every pitch by:

    functionally relating it to every other.
    placing it in the background.
    jettisoning pitches that aren't structurally important.
    reducing the foreground to a manageable unit.

  5. Creating a Schenkerian graph is like:

    putting toppings on a pizza.
    diagramming a sentence.
    assembling a ship in a bottle.
    putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

  6. In Schenkerian graphing technique:

    (a) the actual score represents the background.
    (b) pitches in the foreground are represented with open noteheads.
    Both (a) and (b) are true.
    Neither (a) nor (b) is true.

  7. A Schenkerian Ursatz (fundamental structure) has two voices that sound in counterpoint with each other.

    (a) The upper voice is called the "fundamental line" (Urlinie).
    (b) The lower voice is called a "bass arpeggiation" (Bassbrechung).
    Both (a) and (b) are true.
    Neither (a) nor (b) is true.

  8. The "fundamental line" always begins at a consonant interval above the tonic (3, 5, or 8), and descends by step to the tonic. The least common of these, and the one represented in this fugue, is:

    a "three" line (3-2-1).
    a "five" line (5-4-3-2-1).
    a "six" line (6-5-4-3-2-1).
    an "octave" line (8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1).

  9. A bass arpeggiation prolongs a pitch by stating it, moving to its dominant, then returning (I-V-I). While this happens on a large scale throughout the course of a composition, Schenker discovered that bass arpeggiations:

    can also move to the subdominant (I-IV-I).
    can be expressed in linear melodic patterns.
    can be nested to prolong subsidiary tonal areas.
    can also be heard in atonal music.

  10. If the structural levels (Schichten) in a Schenkerian Analysis are like the layers of an onion, the background is like:

    (a) the steel beams of a skyscraper.
    (b) a human skeleton.
    (c) the cellophane around a new compact disk.
    Options (a) and (b) are true.
    Options (b) and (c) are true.

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