Fugue in the Sixteenth Century

Examining the roots of the classical fugue and the early history of non-canonic fugal writing, Paul Walker’s Fugue in the Sixteenth Century explores the three principal fugal genres of the period: motet, ricercar, and canonza. The volume treats each genre in turn, tracing the fugue’s
development throughout the century and highlighting important moments and trends along the way. Taking a two-tiered approach, Walker, on one level, examines fugue from the perspective of contemporary musicians, and on another level, takes into account fugue’s later history and the elements that came
to play a significant role in its formation.

Walker is the first scholar to successfully tie together the various strands of the “pre-Bach fugue” thanks to the growing availability of editions of the repertories involved. He also takes account of recent work elucidating the change in compositional approach around 1500 from a basis in cantus
firmus and canon to one favoring non-canonical, fugal imitation. Featuring well-chosen musical examples to illustrate the compositional developments of the sixteenth century, Fugue in the Sixteenth Century is a definitive study for both specialist musicologists and organists and harpsichordists

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