There is probably no branch of musical composition in which tlieory is more widely, one might almost say hopelessly, at variance with practice than in that which forms the subject of the present volume. In Harmony, we are frequently meeting with cases in which the rules of the old text-books need much modification ;but with regard to Fugue there are few indeed of the old precepts which are not continually, not to say systematically violated by the greatest masters. The reason for this is no doubt that the standard authorities on the subject, Fux and Marpurg, treated it from the point of view of the seventeenth century, and that most of their successors, such as Cherubini and A lbrechtsberger (to name two of the most illustrious), have in the main adopted their rules, taking little or no account of the reformation, amounting almost to a reconstruction, of the fugue at the hands of J. S. Bach. Somewhat more liberality of tone will be found in the treatises of A ndre, Richter, and Lobe; but not one of these, excepting Lobe, has taken Bach swork as the starting point for his investigations. Lobe, on the other hand, is too revolutionary ;he even abolishes the names subject and answer, using instead the terms first imitation, second imitation, c. When we find a distinguished theorist like Andr saying that Bach is not a good model because he allows himself too many exceptions, and are informed that one of the principal German teachers of counterpoint is in the habit of telling his pupils that there is not a single correctly written fugue among Bach s Forty Eight, surely it is high time that an earnest protest were entered against a system of teaching which places in a kind of Index Expurgatorius the works of the greatest fugue writer that the world has ever seen.
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"The author has consulted all the standard authorities, but has followed none ... and has gone to the works of the great composers themselves, has carefully analyzed and examined them, and from their practice has deduced his rules."from the author's preface
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