Sie sind auf Seite 1von 12

The "Great Fugue" Op.

133: Beethoven's "Art of Fugue"

Author(s): Warren Kirkendale
Source: Acta Musicologica , Jan. - Mar., 1963, Vol. 35, Fasc. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1963), pp. 14-
Published by: International Musicological Society

Stable URL:

Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article:
You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references.

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide
range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and
facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

International Musicological Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend
access to Acta Musicologica

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
14 M. Schneider: Gestalttypologisches Verfahren in der Melodik F. Landinos

Der Zusammenhang des mediterranen Musizierens mit der indisch-persischen

Praxis erweist sich weniger durch die fiir dieses weite Areal charakteristischen G
meinpl itze als durch das V e r f a h r e n, Gemeinplitze zur Grundlage der Komposition
zu machen.

The "Great Fugue" Op.133: Beethoven's "Art of Fugue"


More than any other work of Beethoven, the Great Fugue op. 133 has arou
only extreme opinions, favorable and unfavorable. The first criticism, in 1826
rather drastic:

,Aber den Sinn des fugirten Finale" (op. 133 as the original finale of the quartet op
,,wagt Ref. nicht zu deuten: fiir ihn war es unverstdndlich, wie Chinesisch. Wenn die In
mente in den Regionen des Slid- und Nordpols mit ungeheuern Schwierigkeiten zu kim
haben, wenn jedes derselben anders figuriert und sie sich per transitumi irregularen
einer Unzahl von Dissonanzen durchkreuzen, wenn die Spieler, gegen sich selbst miftraui
wohl auch nicht ganz rein greifen, freylich, dann ist die babylonische Verwirrung fertig
gibt es ein Concert, woran sich allenfalls die Marokkaner erg6tzen kinnen." 1

Schindler agreed:
,Diese Composition scheint ein Anachronismus zu seyn. Sie sollte jener grauen Vor
angeh6ren, in welcher die Tonverhiltnisse noch vermittelst mathematischer Berechnun
stimmt wurden. Unbedenklich darf solche Combination als die h6chste Verwirrung des s
lativen Verstandes betrachtet werden, deren Eindruck wohl in alle Zeiten einer babylonis
Verwirrung gleichen wird. Hierbei kann nicht mehr von Dunkel im Gegensatz zur Klarhe
Rede seyn." 2

T. Helm and J. de Marliave, in their books on Beethoven's string quartets, avoi

Great Fugue, W. Altmann and D. G. Mason pass negative judgements. The w
was praised enthusiastically as early as 1826 by Anton Halm,3 in 1859 by Zell
and thereafter by Lenz ("der iber jede Beschreibung erhabene, namenlos ge
Riesen-Satz" 5), H. Scherchen,A S. Grew,' and E. Ratz.8 The most recent evalu
is from no less a pen than Igor Stravinsky's:

"Now, at so, I have found new joy in Beethoven. The Great Fugue, for example, now s
to me the most perfect miracle in music... It is also the most absolutely contemporary

1 Anonymous, in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, vol. 28 (Leipzig 1826) col. 310.
2 ANTON SCHINDLER, Ludwig van Beethoven (Miinster 1860), vol. 2, p. 115.
3 Cf. the letter printed in ALEXANDER WHEELOCK THAYER, Ludwig van Beethovens Leben (
1908-1917) vol. 5, p. 298 f.
4 Quoted in WILHELM VON LENZ, Beethoven. Eine Kunst-Studie (Hamburg 1855-1860) vol.

6 Ibid., p. 253.
6 HERMANN SCHERCHEN, Beethovens Grofle Fuge, in: Die Musik, vol. 20 (1
SSYDNEY GREW, The Grosse Fuge, in: Music and Letters, vol. 12 (1931) p
8 ERWIN RATZ, Die Originalfassung des Streickquartettes Op. 130 von Beeth
Musikzeitschrift, vol. 7 (1952) pp. 81-87.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge" 15

of music I know, and contemporary forever... Hard

Fugue is, in rhythm alone, more subtle than any mus

The unprecedented difficulty and recklessnes

lenge for commentators. Arnold Schering gave a
Night, 9a highly imaginative but without conv
physical interpretations, so frequent in the litera
regarded it as a transcendental struggle.10 Eve
formalistic and aesthetic analysis, explaining
solution has been to press it into the form of the
The composer's point of departure and intention,
any investigation, are to be found neither in abstr
upon the work from outside, nor in vague philoso
demonstrate, in the nature of counterpoint, and
ical and philological facts. The present article
time, to what extent the Great Fugue is rooted in

The discussion may be preceded by a brief outli

OVERTURA (b. 1-30): quotes the four main forms of

of their appearance in the fugue (x4, x3, x2, x1).
A-SECCTION (b. 31-158): double fugue on x1 and the
B-SECTION (b. 159-232): double fugato on x2 and a
interrupted by homophonic entries of the z-theme.
C-SECTION (b. 233-272): march-like episode on x3 (d
D-sECTION (b. 273-492): fugue on x4 (augmentation
x and y (b. 414).
B'-SECTION (b. 493-510): reprise of B; followed by a
C'-SECTION (b. 533-564): reprise of C.
CODA (b. 565-741): free homophonic section follow
reminiscences of everything which has preceded.

' My Reflections on Being Eighty, in: The Observer (Lon

9a Beethoven und die Dichtung (Berlin 1930) p. 351ff.
o10 ,,Und das ist die Bedeutung der ,Grossen Fuge': in ihr
zunichst steht, iiberwunden; das Idch erlebt nunmehr in sic
die auch in der gesamten sichtbaren und unsichtbaren W
immer neu errungen werden. Und Beethovens Leben is
op. cit., pp. 85-86.
u SCHERCHEN and GREW have written the most extensive
12 The article is extracted from W. KIRKENDALE, Fuge u
und der Klassik. Eine historische, quellen- und stilkundliche
habsburgischen Krone (Diss. Wien 1961) pp. 302-315. (T
manuscript in the Viennese libraries; the dissertation is t
13 A more detailed outline is given in my dissertation, pp. 306-308. Cf. also the versions of Scherchen
and Grew. The analysis of V. D'INDY, followed by all French writers and D. G. MASON, is misleading,
for it does not recognize the D-section (see below) as a fugue. D'INDY, E. RATZ and other modem
musicians have attempted to restore the Great Fugue as finale of the quartet op. 130. I dealt with this
question (op. cit., pp. 303-305) and came to the conclusion that the "restoration" is by no means

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
16 W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

The arrangement Overtura-A-B-C-D-B'-C'

regarded as a succession of closed sections, for
the same thematic material (x) and the seams ar
the C-section is further employed in D, and the re
to D (A-flat).
When Beethoven began work on the gigantic fugue of the Hammerklavier Sonata
op. 106 and the Great Fugue op. 133, he had already written many short fugatos;14
but among his published works he could find no point of departure for an independent,
large-scale fugal movement. Somehow he had to orient himself. Is it not likely that
he referred to his contrapuntal studies 15 with Haydn and Albrechtsberger (1792-1795)
and those prepared for his pupil Archduke Rudolph (c. 1809), to whom he dedicated
op. 106 and 133?
Beethoven had worked a vast number of exercises in Fuxian species-counterpoint
for Haydn. As late as 1823 he recommended the practice of species to the Archduke. 16
In search of a countersubject for the main theme (x) of op. 133 he tried out every
conceivable species, with 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 notes respectively against one note of the
theme. 17 The style of the fugal sections in the finished composition is still determined
by the species principle: the juxtaposition of various uniform ostinato
rhythms, for example with one (b. 194, 493), three (b. 86, 139), four (b. 31, 167,
493) and six (b. 58) notes against one, as well as the fourth species (syncopation,
b. 111, 139). The various voices maintain their own rhythm for many bars at a time:
quarter, eighth, sixteenth notes, dotted rhythm etc. This is what prompted the words

14 KIRKENDALE, Op. cit., p. 271 (chart) lists 52 fugatos, fugues and projected fugues in Beethoven's
instrumental works.
15 A corrupted selection of Beethoven's exercises and studies was published by IGNAZ VON SEYFRIED,
Ludwig van Beethovens Studien im Generalbasse, Contrapuncte und in der Compositions-Lehre (Wien,
c. 1832); a critical selection by GUSTAV NOTTEBOHM, Beethovens Studien, vol. 1: Beethovens Unter-
richt bei J. Haydn, Albrechtsberger iund Salieri (Leipzig 1873). Although SEYFRIED'S inaccuracies and
supposititious comments have long been exposed by NOTTrEBOHM (Beethoveniana. Leipzig 1872,
pp. 154-203), they are still frequently quoted as authentic. The source used by SEYFRIED and NOTTE-
BOHM is the Beethoven-Autograph 75 in the Archiv der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna. Further
contrapuntal exercises and extracts from theoretical works are listed in my dissertation, pp. 252 (foot-
note) and 256-259. See also ALFRED OREL, Ein "Dona nobis pacem" von der Hand Ludwig van
Beethovens in: Festschrift Karl Gustav Fellerer zum 60. Geburtstag (Regensburg 1962), p. 402 ff. On the
basis of many newly identified autographs, references in the letters and conversation books, the
inventory of books and music in Beethoven's estate, contemporary reports etc., I made catalogues of
the theoretical works and of the baroque music and fugues which Beethoven definitely knew (op. cit.,
pp. 256-266). Among other autographs consulted, the following contain sketches for op. 133:
i) Universittitsbibliothek, Tiibingen (from the collection of the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin),
Mus. ms. autogr. Beethoven 11, book 2, fol. 26v-27r.
ii) Westdeutsche Bibliothek, Marburg (from the collection of the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin),
Mus. ms. autogr. Beethoven 9, books 1-3.
iii) CECILIO DE RODA, Un Quaderno di Autografi di Beethoven del 1825 (Torino 1907) pp. 79-82.
iv) Bodmer collection, Bonn, Mh 101, pp. 1-14.
18 Letter of July 1, 1823, to Rudolph - ALFR. CHR. KALISCHER, BeetlhoveMs siimtliche Briefe (Berlin,
Leipzig 1906-1908) vol. 4, pp. 281-282.
17 Cf. the musical examples in RODA, op. cit., pp. 80-81. Beethoven also tried combining the joy-theme
of the Ninth Symphony (in its 6/8-form) with the x-theme (RODA'S example no. 99).

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge" 17

of the contemporary critic, quoted above: "wenn je

anders figuriert." The y-theme too, which was first ske
belongs in its final form to a particular species, ca
Although the rhythmic combinations change with
even with each entry of the theme, they affect the tex
For the whole conception of the work the follow
berger's treatise on musical composition was of gre

,,Die Vergr5Berung (Augmentatio) Die Verkleinerung

breviatio) Die Zerschneidung (Syncope) Die Engfiihrung
die Hauptfiguren (Zierlichkeiten) und Kiinste in einer
zugleich in einer einzigen Fuge anbringen." 20

Beethoven was especially interested in this passage

almost all of the musical examples which Albrech
figuren." (These sketches, unknown to Nottebohm, we
by the present author).21 In the last sentence Bee
lenge: "to employ all of them at once in a s
his principle of composition, his means to build up
this way is the unusual length of the work to be ex
artifices listed by Albrechtsberger are employed
diminution (b. 139; x3 or C),22 abbreviation (b. 308
139, 716) and stretto (b. 193 and many free or fragme
with one part augmented or diminished). Of these a
rare in fugues for instrumental ensemble from th
century (we have examined over 400oo). Only Albrecht
followed the recommendation of Fux to employ th
the end of the fugue23 (e. g. in his quartets op. 2/3
both in the normal values (b. 111; since xt is itsel
is actually double syncopation) and in diminution (
The final, incontestable proof that Albrechtsberg
departure for the Great Fugue, is given by the con

18 G. NOTTEBOHM, Zweite Beethoveniana (Leipzig 1887) p. 6.

19 JOHANN ANTON ANDRt, Lehrbuch der Tonsetzkunst (Offenbach 1832-1843) vol. 2, p. 10.
o20 JOHANN GEORG ALBRECHTSBERGER, Griandliche Anweisung zur Composition (Leipzig 1790) p. 189.
21 KIRKENDALE, op. cit., pp. 258, 261, 263. The sketches are in the Bodmer collection, Bonn, Mh 46,
and a photocopy of unknown provenance in the Beethoven-Archiv, Bonn, An 251/2. They belong
surely to the other extracts from theoretical works which Beethoven made for Archduke Rudolph.
-2 In the sketches Beethoven designated the x3-theme as "abbreviatur" (Marburg, Beethoven-Auto-
graph 9, book 2, fol. 4r).
23 JOHANN JOSEPH Fux, Gradus ad Parnassum (Vienna 1725) p. 149. Cf. also Mozarts Fugato KV
387/IV (Coda).
24 Printed parts: Berlin, J. J. Hummel, c. 1781. Manuscript parts: Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek,
sm 4724 and sm 11600-11605 (1786). Printed score: Offenbach, Andre, c. 1830.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
18 W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

,,Es giebt noch eine Zierlichkeit, wo man nimlich

mit einem Suspir theilt, welche aber nicht so schdn
gehenden. Sie konnte Interruptio, zu teutsch: Unterb
Beyspiel:" 25

Ex. 1 Albrechtsberger: Griindlidce AnweisuwHg...,p.195.

Satz [Themel

Unterbrechung [Interruption] etc.

Here we discover the source of the peculiar rhythmisation of Beeth

theme,26" one of the most puzzling aspects of the Great Fugue:

Ex.2 Beethoven: op.133, xl-theme (A-section)

ff ?f f f f
This "Zierlichkeit" is mentioned in no
icant that Albrechtsberger must sug
werden").28 The device is extremely
example: Albrechtsberger's quartet-f
able to take his musical examples f
fugues of Bach and Handel, as he did fo
upon his own works. His example of "
op. 3/6,29 that of "interruption" fro
none of the devices listed by Albrechtsb
The word recherchlie in the heading
libre, tant6t recherchlie30) has always
to libre, at best with reference to the o
But in Beethoven's time the word had
historic organ ricercares of the sevente
oblivion. As a vague reminiscence of

25 ALBRECHTSBERGER, op. cit., p. 194.

26 The x1-form of the theme is relatively inf
the sketch-book Marburg Beethoven-Autograp
27 I examined c. 60 printed and manuscript th
teenth centuries (listed op. cit., pp. 333-336).
not as a device for altering a theme), calling i
(op. cit., p. 10).
28 The term is related to the "tmesis" of the "F
only the general procedure of incision and no
29 Manuscript parts in the Osterreichische N
schaft der Musikfreunde, IX 29419 (as "op. 4"
so Vienna, Artaria, 1827. The English trans
German Grofle Fuge, it conveys an idea of "g
but not at all in keeping with the composer's

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge" 19

designated a fugue which makes excessive use

treatise on fugue Johann Anton Andre recom
the theme should be tested for its capacity t
(augmentation, diminution, stretto etc.):
"deren mehr oder weniger jede Fuge enthalten soi
eine Ricercata (Kunstfuge) genannt wird." 81

Heinrich Christoph Koch writes in 1802:

,,Wenn die strenge Fuge noch mit verschiedenen un
ahmungen vermischt wird, so pflegt man sie alsdan
nennen." 32

(J. S. Bach had hidden the word Ricercar in an

Musical Offering, a work extraordinarily r
historical term has become a theoretical one. W
underlined his intention "to employ all" the ar
This plan resulted, as is evident from the
compound movement. While it is to be regar
consists of two fugues (A and D), a fugato (B) a
sections. Altogether not more than 45 per cent is
do not need to examine here, serve to relax tensio
"poetic element" which Beethoven required of
,,Eine Fuge zu machen ist keine Kunst, ich habe der
gemacht. Aber die Phantasie will auch ihr Recht beha
hergebrachte Form ein anderes, ein wirklich poetische
The divison of the work into several sections, ea
key signature, is interpreted by Lenz as a par
Zellner's analysis, adding his own commentary
,,,In schulgerechtem Sinn keine Fuge, dem widerspr
rung in mehrere rhythmisch selbstlindige Abschnit
Fuge)." 35

But this division is by no means new, for the history of the fugue consists largely
of the development from the many-sectioned ricercar, fantasia, canzone and capric-
cio of the seventeenth century to the single-sectioned fugue. If, in the history of
music, a parallel to the Great Fugue is to be found, it is in these works. One may

31 Vierstimmige Fuge nebst deren Entwurf, und den allgemeinen Regeln iiber die Fuge (Offenbach
18272) p. 9, spacing by the present author. The work was first published in 1799 as an answer to Karl
Spazier's criticism of the fugato in Andre's symphony op. 4 - cf. KIRKENDALE, op. cit., pp. 233-235.
32 Musikalischdes Lexikon (Frankfurt am Main, 1802) col. 609. The Great Fugue corresponds also to
Langlks definition of the "ricercatto": "Le ricercatto se compose de plusieurs sujets et contre-sujets ...
Toutes les parties qui composent une Fugue y sont employees, comme sujet, contre-sujet, rtponse,
renversement, imitation, stretto et pidale...; quant aux modulations elles sont arbitraires, on peut,
si l'on veut, faire tous les tours d'harmonie, majeurs, mineurs, soit avec des didsis, soit avec des
bkmols...; mais un ricercatto bien fait a toujours un motif principal..." (cf. Beethoven's x-theme)
- Honork Frangois Marie LanglI, Traits de la Fugue (Paris 1805) p. 54.
93 "Regis lussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta".
94 LENZ, op. cit., vol. 5, p. 219.
35 Ibid., p. 290.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
20 W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

compare, for example, the easily accessible fa

Musikwerk, "36 with its gigantic length, the dim
tation of the theme, the continual succession o
of Frescobaldi and the capriccio of Froberger
sections consisting of variations of the theme
were not so improbable that Beethoven knew
inclined to believe that he was indebted to the an
the word recherchlie in the heading had not on
The extensive employment of variation and f
characteristic of Beethoven's late works. Comm
single theme or thematic complex, and the gen
thematic economy and formal freedom of thes
preference for them in his most mature work
especially characteristic, for it combines both
the themes themselves, but also the differentiati
contrapuntal figures corresponds to the practice
The contrapuntal and homophonic sections ar
in their dynamics. Here Beethoven adheres to
have observed in the rococo period.4' At that t
generally limited to homophonic movements a
phonic episodes. Fugues seldom had more than
required "Kraft und Nachdruck,"42 "einen festen
dynamics were considered "gallant" and associa

36 ADAM ADRIO, Die Fuge, Vol. 1 (Kbln 1960) no. 4.

s' Nos. 6 and 7.
s8 Improbable but not impossible. Beethoven himself posses
a theme of FRESCOBALDI, divided by double bars into fo
(footnote), 241, 266.
*9 The term employed by WILHELM FISCHER in: GuIDo AD
furt 1924) p. 483. This variation technique is, of course,
"ricercare," as the above-mentioned works of Frescobaldi
40 Yet one may not go so far as to divide the whole wor
Beethoven himself declared that the fugato in his Eroic
werden kann" (letter of April 8, 1803, to Breitkopf & Hir
41 KIRKENDALE, Op. cit., p. 99.
1784-1785) p. 59.
4* Anonymous criticism of MONN'S and GASSMANN'S fugal quartets in the Allgemeine musikalische
Zeitung, vol. 10 (Leipzig 1808) col. 439. Even at the beginning of the nineteenth century, dynamic
variety was not expected in a fugue. In 1811 G. J. Vogler claims the alteration of "p" and "f," "was
in den Fugen nicht gew6hnlich ist," as his innovation (GEORG JOSEPH VOGLER, System far den Fugen-
bau, Offenbach c. 1817, preface dated s1811). During the composition of the fugue in the ('cello) sonata
op. 102/2 (1815) Beethoven still found it necessary to note an explicit reminder in the sketches:
"Bei allen Fugen piano u. forte" (NOTTEBOHM, Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 319). Beethoven's friend
Reicha, advocating the employement of dynamic nuances in fugues, deplored the traditional manner
of performance: "La maniere dont on ex&ute vulgairement les fugues.. . est une espice de barbarie:
c'est A qui criera ou jouera plus fort!" - ANTON REICHA, TraitC de haute composition musicale (Paris
1824-1826); p. 1097 in the edition of Carl Czerny (Wien c. 1832).

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge" 21

,,Wenn man aber die Zwischenstitze mit zirtlichen u

welche auch ein Piano leiden, 44 oder mit Liufern und Triolen, oder mit Gedanken
des Theater- und Kammerstyls, welche in vielen Terzen oder Sexten einhergehen, verfertigt:
so wird die Fuge eine Galanterie-Fuge genannt." 45

Beethoven accordingly provides the contrapuntal parts of his work, the two
fugues (sections A and D), with an unyielding "ff" throughout their entirety (128
and 141 bars respectively!). The homophonic sections, on the other hand, are
predominately "p". The "gallantry-fugato" in the first B-section, with its ac-
companiment of repeated sixteenth notes and "tender and blandishing ideas which
tolerate a piano," is played "pp"; but its reprise (B') is forte, for here the homo-
phonic accompaniment is omitted and the texture is radically thickened by the com-
bination of the x2-theme with its inversion, in double counterpoint. In a sketch of
this section (B') Beethoven noted: "in... [here he quotes the beginning of x2 and z]
forte kleiner contrepoint." 46
It is well known that Beethoven wrote the main theme of op. 133 for the first
time among sketches for the opening bars of the quartet op. 132,47 before he had
arrived at the final version of the latter.48 The obvious thematic relationship
between op. 132 (first movement, bars 1, 75), op. 133 (x-theme) and op. 131 (first
movement; seventh movement, bars 1, 22) has been unduly stressed by com-
mentators. After all, thematic community per se does not make a work better, for it
can be mere technical manipulation. Much more important is to recognize, as Erich
Schenk has done, that Beethoven returns here to the baroque art of varying theme-
types. It has long been generally acknowledged that in the baroque period thematic
conception is "vielfach nichts anderes als variative Ausgestaltung der Universal-
Thementypen."49 One of the most widespread of these universal types is that
which Schenk designates as "Hymnentyp."50 This motive-type or theme-type
consists of the first and fifth scale degrees in minor, framed by the diminished
seventh of the sixth and seventh degree, in any melodic succession (the most com-
mon are 5~ 1-6-7 anrid 5-6-7-1) or rhythmical variation. In vocal music it is
inseparable from words expressing sorrow, affliction, and grief. A vast number of
examples could be given. It is especially common as a fugue theme.51 Beethoven
employs it in the Great Fugue in an entirely new manner. For the first time in its

44 E. g. the lulling thirds, piano, in the B-flat quartet of G. M. MoNN (1717-1750), Albrechtsberger's
teacher (Vienna, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, c. 1803).
45 ALBRECHTSBERGER, op. cit., p. 172. Spacing by the present author.
46 Marburg, Beethoven-Autograph 9, book 2, fol. 4r.
47 Tiibingen, Beethoven-Autograph 11, book 2, fol. 26v-27r.
48 Ibid., fol. 29r.
'9 ERICH SCHENK, Ober Begriff und Wesen des musikalischen Barock, in: Zeitschrift fiur Musikwissen-
schaft, vol. 17 (1935) p. 391.
50 Review of ROBERT HAAS, Die Musik des Barocks in: Zeitschrift fiir Musikwissenschaft, vol. 16 (1934)
p. 559. - Barock bei Beethoven in: Schiedermair-Festschrift (Bonn 1937) p. 210ff. Both articles give
a large number of examples of the type.
51 KIRKENDALE, op. cit., pp. 114 f and 132 f lists 26 examples from the second half of the eighteenth
century in fugues for instrumental ensemble.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
22 W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

long history, the type is used as the main theme o

transferred to the supertonic (the fifth framed
see ex. 2). The framing seventh itself is framed by
to the theme that, from the third note onward, it
this reason the version of the theme at b. 416ff can be considered either as the
inversion or as the normal form).
The fact that Beethoven allows both of his themes (x and y) to appear simultane-
ously in the first entry (b. 31) is not to be interpreted as "eine Steigerung gegeniiber
den vorangegangenen Fugen,"53 an "intensification" in relationship to the fugues
of the piano sonatas op. 106 and 110. It is simply determined by the instrumentation.
Unlike keyboard fugues, which nearly always begin with a single theme, it had been
customary in the Austrian quartet-fugues from Werner (1695-1766) to Albrechts-
berger (1736-1809) to begin with two themes. (Haydn too adheres to this tradition
of the multiple fugue in his quartet fugues op. 20 "con due," "tre" and "quattro
In its indebtedness to Austrian fugal tradition andparticularly to Albrechtsberger's
theory and practice the Great Fugue is, of course, not an isolated phenomenon
among Beethoven's late works. To show it in this context we may indicate here
other direct and indirect influences of the teacher. In the sketches for the fugue of
the ('cello) sonata op. 102/2 Beethoven tried out strettos with entries of the thema at
intervals of three, two and one bars respectively,54 for he had been taught by
Albrechtsberger to write strettos with entries at increasingly shorter time intervals. 55
In the last section of the Heiliger Dankgesang in the lydian mode in the quartet
op. 132 he returned to a special type of fugue which he had practised with him:
the chorale fugue.56 For the use of an ecclesiastical mode and a chorale theme in a
fugue for string quartet he could have found precedents in the works of Albrechts-
berger. (It is not generally known that by far the greater part of the instrumental
music of Beethoven's teacher consisted of fugues: 99 for keyboard57 and about 150
for string instruments.) s58 Albrechtsberger composed a fugal quartet "modi phryggi";
his keyboard fugue op. 1/6 on the chorale "Christus ist erstanden" was arranged for
string quartet; the string trio op. 8/4 has a fugue on "Herr, ich glaube." 59 In keeping
with his teachings60 is the overlapping of the last and first notes of the thematic

52 RIEMANN'S "correction" (THAYER, op. cit., vol. 5, p. 296, footnote) of the variant readings of the
theme in bars 28 and 33 is not justified; the notation of the autograph is unambiguous.
53 RATZ, op. cit., p. 84.
54 Designated "erste Enge", "2te Enge" and "3te Enge" (Miller sketch-book, Koch collection, p. 47).
55 Cf. SEYFRIED, op. cit., pp. 204-206 (the passage is authentic).
56 KIRKENDALE, op. cit., p. 300 f.- Cf. ALBRECHTSBERGER, op. cit., chapter 27: "Von der Fuge mit einem
Chorale." Beethoven had written three such fugues on themes given to him by Albrechtsberger.
57 ALEXANDER SCHRAMECK-KIRCHNER, J. G. Albrechtsbergers Fugen fifr Tasteninstrumente, Diss. (Ms.)
Wien 1954.

5s The sources are given in KIRKENDALE, op. cit., pp. 25-30.

"9 Ibid., pp. 30, 26, 297, 299.
60so The second voice "fingt also gleich fiber oder unter der letzten Note der vollendeten ersten
an" (ALBRECHTSBERGER, op. cit., p. 183) in almost all of Albrechtsberger's fugues.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge" 23

entries in Beethoven's op. 132 and 133 (A and D). In

piano sonata op. 110 Beethoven may have recalled A
op. 2/4:

Ex.3 Albrechtsberger: op. 2/4


V. 1

Ex.4 Beethoven: op. 110

Allegro ma non troppo

(The quartet-fugue in C-major,61 written by Beethoven for Albrechtsberger in 1795,

had already used the theme of another fugue from the same collection):

Ex.5 Albrechtsberger: op. 2/3

Allegro Moderato

Ex.6 Beethoven: Fugue in C-major

#' 1 -. , , ,, , k

Further thematic relationships to fugues of Albrechtsberger are found in th

Beethoven's op. 102/2 (Albrechtsberger op. 19/5), op. 124 (Albrechtsber
8/1, 24/5) and op. 125 (Albrechtsberger op. 8/6). (In these cases there is
of direct quotation or imitation, but merely similarity of theme-type). Th
"con alcune licenze" of the fugue in the Hammerklavier Sonata op. 106, syn
with the "tant6t libre" in op. 133, is a reminiscence of Albrechtsberger
writing the word "Licenz" (or "Lic.") over the permissible exceptions t
of strict counterpoint in the fugues of his pupil.62
In many respects, the fugue op. 106 is to be interpreted in the sam
op. 133. Peculiar to both is the unprecedented, almost exaggerated emp
contrapuntal artifices; this is a cause of the excessive length. (The fu
even makes use of the extremely rare device of retrograde motion; Bee
this directly from Marpurg's treatise on fugue,63 as is proven by hi

61 Nagels Musik-Archiv, no. 186 (Kassel 1955).

62 Cf. NOTTERBOHM. BeethoveN's Studien. Albrechtsberger often uses the word in his An
63 FRIEDRICH WILHELM MARPURG, Abhandlung von der Fuge (Berlin 1753/1754) vol.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to
24 W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

Marpurg's examples of retrograde motion among

respect, both fugues have no connection with
from the second half of the eighteenth century
of contrapuntal artifices.65
Without the suggestion of a great theoretical c
the Great Fugue would never have been writt
roots in the tradition of the baroque Kunstbuch
type is J. S. Bach's Art of Fugue. We know t
work.67 The Great Fugue was his Art of F
fugal techniques-hence the subsequent dedic
Archduke Rudolph, for whom he had original
berger, the clue to our interpretation.
The differences between the two compositio
in the world of thought are obvious: Bach's work
hoven's dynamic and emotional, etc. Beethove
most subjective of all Kunstbichler; "imagin
have asserted their rights."68 The fact that h
point of departure (and no more) from theory,
of his powers, from writing an extraordinary a
the background of tradition can its uniquenes
the composer be determined.

Spatial Perception
and Physical Location as Fa


It may not seem possible for spatial perception to play any role in an auditory
art, but hearing is not the only sense involved in music, and-surprising as it may
seem-even hearing is capable of providing considerable spatial information on its
own account.

64 Boldrini sketch-book, p. 8 (NOTTEBOHM, Zweite Bee

op. 110 even employs double diminution.
65 KIRKENDALE, op. cit., p. 96.
66 Cf. ERICH SCHENK, "Das Musikaliscde Opfer" von J
reichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch
67 He copied a few bars from contrapunctus 4 in a sket
1817 (NOTTEBOHM, Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 351). A m
Nigeli 1802) were found in his library--A. W. THAY
Ludwig van Beethovens (Berlin 1865), nos. 207 and 235
*s Cf. Beethoven's words quoted above, p. 19.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:39:09 UTC
All use subject to