Feeling rather shallow for skipping the fugues in the Well-Tempered Clavier, part of my sight-reading endeavour, I went back and caught up with the Preludes. I’m not a bad sight-reader, but the fugues take that extra bit of hard work. Well… by the time I reached F Sharp Major I realized I wasn’t really struggling as much anymore. Who would have thought that practice would make something better!
And now – to make fugue-reading even more fun – I found (thanks again, David!) these very amusing words that one Ebenezer Prout wrote a century ago. A Professor of Theory and Composition, he wrote purposely humorous words for the subjects of all the fugues in both volumes of the WTC. The intent was to define the length of the subject as well as aid in memory.
Here are his words for the well-known C Minor fugue from Book 1:
You can find the complete list here.
And now – I’m off to the piano. I’m on the A Minor fugue by now – today I’ll be playing it with an image of a hippopotamus on the bank of the Nile, eating bread and jam.