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21 December 2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 6 - A2

Fugue in G (from Prelude and Fugue in G, BWV 902

J. S. Bach

Grade 6 ABRSM Piano 2019/2020 A2

A Fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (a musical theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and which recurs frequently in the course of the composition. As such you will need to have a good sense of the different voices coming in and as they do, give them a little extra weight so that they sound distinct.

It is also worth noting that the main theme starts on the second semiquaver of the bar and so this should be remembered as you think about phrasing. As with many Baroque pieces, there are no dynamics actually written in the part, but that is not to say that you should not add some of your own. On the contrary, dynamics will be essential for a good mark in the exam. In this video performance you will notice some changes of dynamics and feel free to copy these or explore your own ideas. Bear in mind however, that generally, in  Baroque keyboard music, dynamics are terraced. Also, referring to what I mentioned earlier about phrases starting on the second semiquaver of a bar, you will want to make your dynamic changes do the same.

Take care with articulation. For this piece, generally quavers are separated, but watch out for those that are marked with slurs. Sometimes a slurred group will occur in the same hand as a detached group (e.g. bars 17-22) and this will require attentive practice. Similarly in bars 53-58, release the lower two notes of the triads while keeping the top notes legato. Also be sure to hold the long crotchet in the penultimate bar.

Finally regarding tempo. The metronome mark given in the ABRSM edition indicates a dotted crotchet beat and so your performance should be fast enough to have a "one in a bar" feel to it with a slight "leaning" on the first beat of the bar to give the music flow and fluidity.

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