Questions on Fugue No. 21
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
by Johann Sebastian Bach
©2014 Timothy A. Smith

Your instructor may have referred you to this page with instructions to forward your answers to the following questions on the B-flat major fugue (Flash or Shockwave). To do this you will need to enter YOUR NAME and INSTRUCTOR'S EMAIL in the spaces provided. When you have answered all of the questions, punch the "Send to Instructor" button.


  1. This fugue has three ideas: the subject, 1st countersubject, and 2nd countersubject. They are presented:

    at the beginning, in series, in the middle voice.
    simultaneously in mm. 22-25.
    Both of the above
    Neither of the above

  2. What is the "fugal complex" of this fugue? It is any four measures in which the subject and its countersubjects are heard, in their entirety, in counterpoint with each other. Scan the timeline and count how many of those. In addition there are also incomplete combinations that have only two measures each. Let's call these "semi-complexes." Count them. How many of each are there in this fugue?

    6 complexes + 3 semi-complexes
    5 complexes + 4 semi-complexes
    4 complexes + 5 semi-complexes
    3 complexes + 6 semi-complexes

  3. Of the complexes and semi-complexes, some have duplicate textures. By "texture" we mean a stacking order - a permutation. Including the semi-complexes, how many textures did Bach use in this fugue?


  4. One of the permutations (inclusive of the semi-complexes) is heard three times. Which one? The following options represent the stacking order from top to bottom.

    CS2 - CS1 - Subj
    Subj - CS2 - CS1
    CS1 - Subj - CS2
    Subj - CS1 - CS2

  5. If counterpoint is to music what a needle and thread are to a quilt, it is also like:

    an iPhone to its battery.
    a viola to a string quartet.
    a dog's nose to a porcupine.
    a zipper to a jacket.

  6. As in the quilt, the subjects in this fugue are made to tumble by means of:

    None of the above
    Two of the above

  7. If two melodies make double counterpoint and three make triple counterpoint, then one melody makes:

    single counterpoint.
    mono counterpoint.
    universal counterpoint.
    None of the above
    Two of the above

  8. When a fugue presents its subjects in a predictable way, it is called a:

    permutation fugue.
    variation fugue.
    mutation fugue.
    transformation fugue.

  9. Pattern disruptions are very important in art, but they can't exist without a pattern first. Which do you think is the best conclusion to draw from this?

    The pattern is more important than the disruption.
    The disruption is more important than the pattern.
    Both are equally important.
    Their relative importance can depend on other factors.

  10. The "humble square" of the quilt (and by analogy mm. 37-40 of this fugue) are a type of:


Don't forget to enter your name and instructor's email at the top of this page, then click the "Send to Instructor" button.