Questions on Fugue No. 7
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II
by Johann Sebastian Bach
©1999 Timothy A. Smith

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  1. A revival of interest in Bach's music began with:

    Reger's reference to Bach as a "never-failing medicine."
    Mendelssohn's performance of the St. Matthew Passion.
    Schumann's composition of six fugues on the name B-A-C-H.
    Die Musik's questioning of 200 thinkers about Bach's importance.

  2. The "never-failing medicine" of Bach is illustrated by this fugue in its:

    • form.
    • stretti.
    • contrapuntal inversions.
    • deep thought in an old observance.

    one of the above
    two of the above
    three of the above
    all of the above

  3. Bach did not use which of the following combinations in stretto?

    the inside voices
    the outside voices
    the top two voices
    the bottom two voices

  4. The narrative explicitly offers two purposes of the fugue. Inferring from the reading, which of the following options could be another plausible purpose?

    to excite the emotions
    to reveal craftsmanship
    to challenge the intellect
    to express an unsentimental sentiment

  5. Reinhold Niebuhr describes Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences as "a profound diagnosis of the sickness of our culture." In Chapter 2 (The Unsentimental Sentiment) Weaver writes: "True culture cannot be content with a sentiment which is sentimental with regard to the world. There must be a source of clarification, of arrangement and hierarchy, which will provide grounds for the employment of the rational faculty." From this statement we can surmise that Weaver would have approved of:

    • this fugue.
    • the Apollonian force.
    • the Dionysian impulse.
    • Nietzsche's Aphorism 149.

    one of the above
    two of the above
    three of the above
    all of the above

  6. Weaver writes (p. 22): "Man is in the world to suffer his passion; but wisdom comes to his relief with an offer of conventions [forms] which shape and elevate that passion." To what extent would Bach and Nietzsche have agreed?

    • Bach would have agreed with the entire statement.
    • Nietzsche would have disagreed with the entire statement.
    • Both men would have agreed with the first half.
    • Both men would have agreed with the second half.

    one of the above
    two of the above
    three of the above
    all of the above

  7. Weaver implies that one of the problems with modernism is its emphasis upon immediacy. This has led moderns to "dissolve the formal aspects of everything and to get at the supposititious reality behind them" (p. 24). In terms of immediacy (dissolution of form) versus delayed gratification (form), which pair is not analogous to the other three? (In choosing your answer, pay attention to the order of each item in the following pairs.)

    baseball and reggae
    basketball and a fugue
    tequila and training for the Olympics
    the Ellen DeGeneres show and Hamlet

  8. In 1831 a young French aristocrat, Alexis De Tocqueville, traversed America noting traits he considered to be uniquely American. He observed that Americans like to behold objects "with extreme clearness," such that they "strip off as much as possible all that covers it," and "remove whatever conceals it from sight." This tendency "soon leads them to condemn forms, which they regard as useless and inconvenient veils placed between them and the truth." Generalizing from De Tocqueville, one might conclude that Americans would consider:

    • reality TV to be real.
    • a fugue to be un-American.
    • a graduation ceremony to be pointless.
    • formal language to be insincere.

    one of the above
    two of the above
    three of the above
    all of the above

  9. Weaver suggests that moderns perceive form to be an impediment to "the expression of honest hearts." A good contemporary example can be found in an increasingly common attitude toward marriage: lovers need nothing but themselves to affirm the reality of their love; a ceremony (form) tarnishes passion by interposing itself between commitment and consummation. Weaver replies that forms are helpful because "unformed expression is ever tending toward ignorance. Good intention is primary, but it is not enough" (p. 25). Extrapolating from the Weaver quotations in this quiz, with which of the following would he have agreed?

    • Without form, lovely ideas tend to become stale.
    • Beautiful motives last longer when formally organized.
    • Tedious motives that have been formalized are bound to endure.
    • Forms create relationships that are more complex and interesting.

    one of the above
    two of the above
    three of the above
    all of the above

  10. One hundred years ago many thoughtful people agreed that Bach's music was important to their time because it was healing. In which of the following ways might Bach's music provide healing for our own time?

    It rejects immediacy in favor of reflection.
    It unites sentimentality with sincerity.
    It encourages people by its "Greek cheerfulness."
    It breaks taboos for the sake of freedom.

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