A Fugue as Art: Between Form and Metamorphoses

Maya I. Shinkareva


The article explores the informative value of the most common oppositions “typical vs. individual”, “traditional vs. unique”, “stable vs. dynamic” for the study of evolutionary processes in music. The dichotomous method helps to reveal the dialectic of the general and the individual. On top of that, it is instrumental in discovering new approaches and meanings behind them. At the same time, the concepts of “typical”, “traditional”, and “stable” are understood as a generally accepted, recognizable (at the level of a compositional solution), essential and basic property of the form, while the concept of “metamorphosis” is understood as something special, changeable and non-conventional.

The study focuses on the fugue as the key polyphonic form commonly perceived as the embodiment of strict traditions of academicism and, to a certain degree, of conservatism. At the same time, the fugue effectively demonstrates the interaction of technical and aesthetic aspects of the archetype and its numerous stylistic modifications. This is extremely important as regards studies into the evolution of the fugue and the discovery of its internally open and creative nature.

Examples of fugues in various composing practices—from the heyday of the Baroque to the present day—show metamorphoses as an organic process that naturally permeates the entire history of the form. Diverse and sometimes paradoxical compositional solutions of the fugue provide a ground to supplement the above list of antonymic pairs with one more opposition: “morph vs. metamorphosis” (“morph” is a Greek word for “form”). This opposition makes it possible to identify the relations between different compositional and structural units of the invariant form and their variants in a modified form.

Keywords: fugue, form, metamorphosis, dichotomous method, stable, mobile, conventional approach

For citation: Shinkareva M. I. A Fugue as Art: Between Form and Metamorphoses [Electronic source]. In: Sovremennye problemy muzykoznaniya / Contemporary Musicology, 2022, no. 2, pp. 159–171. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.56620/2587-9731-2022-2-159-171


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.56620/2587-9731-2022-2-159-171

Copyright (c) 2022 Maya I. Shinkareva

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