Printer-friendly version
Mendy Smith

The Fugue Count

July 13, 2007 at 5:54 AM

My quartet played some of Bach's fugues tonight. They seem quite simple on the surface - lots of half notes, quarter notes with a few 1/16ths thrown in for good measure (pun intended). Practicing these by yourself is quite boring. I ended up running through them quickly then putting them aside. Well, throw in 2 violins and a cello into the mix and the story is entirely different. Mis-count your 15 measures of rests before you come in and you don't know you are off until the piece ends and you are either still playing when everyone else finished or visa versa. Even worse is when the piece ends on a fermata, and you only clue that you are off by either a beat or a whole measure is the occasional "off note" that didn't quite sound right with everyone else. But when everyone is couting correctly at the exact same tempo - WOW - you can definitely feel the music resonate.
From Albert Justice
Posted on July 13, 2007 at 6:06 AM
I hear you Mendy! I share your enthusiasm. Yes it does sometimes resonate.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on July 13, 2007 at 8:06 PM
I'm just curious - what fugues did you play exactly? Were they from The Art of Fugue by chance? Ever since I heard the Emerson Quartet's recording of those I've wanted to try some out.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 14, 2007 at 5:04 AM
Ensemble playing is always more demanding than playing alone. You have to be precisely correct with both intonation and rhythm. Small mistakes really stand out when they don't fit with the correct notes played by others.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Colburn School: Chamber Music Intensive
Colburn School: Chamber Music Intensive

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC

Violin-Strings.com

Viola-Strings.com

Baerenreiter

Fiddlerman.com

FiddlerShop

Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe