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The "Great Fugue" Op.

133: Beethoven's "Art of Fugue" Author(s): Warren Kirkendale Reviewed work(s): Source: Acta Musicologica, Vol. 35, Fasc. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1963), pp. 14-24 Published by: International Musicological Society Stable URL: . Accessed: 18/04/2012 14:15
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in M. Schneider: Verfahren der MelodikF. Landinos Gestalttypologisches

Der Zusammenhang des mediterranen Musizierens mit der indisch-persischen Praxis erweist sich weniger durch die fiir dieses weite Areal charakteristischenGemeinpl itze als durchdas V e r f a h r e n, Gemeinplitze zur Grundlage der Komposition zu machen.

"Artof Fugue" The "Great Fugue" Op.133:Beethoven's

WARRENKIRKENDALE(TORONTO) More than any other work of Beethoven, the Great Fugue op. 133 has aroused only extreme opinions, favorable and unfavorable. The first criticism, in 1826, was rather drastic: ,Aber den Sinndes fugirtenFinale"(op. 133 as the originalfinaleof the quartetop. 130) wie Wenn die Instru,,wagtRef. nichtzu deuten:fiir ihn war es unverstdndlich, Chinesisch. zu mentein den Regionendes Slid- und Nordpolsmit ungeheuern Schwierigkeiten kimpfen
haben, wenn jedes derselben anders figuriert und sie sich per transitumiirregularen unter

wenn die Spieler,gegen sich selbst miftrauisch, einerUnzahlvon Dissonanzen durchkreuzen, wohl auchnichtganz rein greifen,freylich,dannist die babylonische fertig;dann Verwirrung gibt es ein Concert,woransich allenfallsdie Marokkaner erg6tzenkinnen."1 Schindler agreed: zu scheintein Anachronismus seyn. Sie sollte jener grauenVorzeit ,Diese Composition bein welcherdie Tonverhiltnissenoch vermittelstmathematischer Berechnung angeh6ren, des als Unbedenklich solcheCombination die h6chsteVerwirrung specudarf stimmtwurden. wohl in alle Zeiten einer babylonischen betrachtet lativenVerstandes werden,derenEindruck zur wird.Hierbeikannnichtmehrvon Dunkelim Gegensatz Klarheitdie Verwirrung gleichen Redeseyn."2 T. Helm and J. de Marliave, in their books on Beethoven's string quartets, avoid the Great Fugue, W. Altmann and D. G. Mason pass negative judgements. The work was praised enthusiastically as early as 1826 by Anton Halm,3 in 1859 by Zellner4 and thereafter by Lenz ("der iber jede Beschreibung erhabene, namenlos geniale S. Riesen-Satz"5), H. Scherchen,A Grew,' and E. Ratz.8 The most recent evaluation is from no less a pen than Igor Stravinsky's: The now seems "Now,at so, I have foundnewjoy in Beethoven. GreatFugue,for example, to me the most perfectmiraclein music... It is also the most absolutelycontemporary piece
1 Anonymous, in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, vol. 28 (Leipzig 1826) col. 310. 2 ANTON Ludwig van Beethoven (Miinster 1860), vol. 2, p. 115. SCHINDLER, WHEELOCK THAYER, Ludwig van Beethovens Leben (Leipzig 3 Cf. the letter printed in ALEXANDER 1908-1917) vol. 5, p. 298 f. vol. 5, pp. 4 Quoted in WILHELMVON LENZ, Beethoven. Eine Kunst-Studie (Hamburg 1855-1860) 290-293. 6 Ibid., p. 253. SCHERCHEN, Beethovens Grofle Fuge, in: Die Musik, vol. 20 (1928) pp. 401-420. 6 HERMANN
SSYDNEY GREW, The Grosse Fuge, in: Music and Letters, vol. 12 (1931) pp. 140-147, 253-261.

8 ERWIN RATZ,Die Originalfassung des Streickquartettes Op. 130 von Beethoven, in: Osterreichische Musikzeitschrift, vol. 7 (1952) pp. 81-87.

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W.Kirkendale: Beethoven's"Art of Fuge"


of music I know, and contemporary forever... Hardlybirthmarked its age, the Great by Fugueis, in rhythmalone,moresubtlethan any musicof my own century... I love it beyond everything."9 The unprecedented difficulty and recklessness of the work have made it a challenge for commentators. Arnold Scheringgave a poetic explanation as the Walpurgis Night, 9a highly imaginative but without convincing evidence. Those fond of metaphysical interpretations, so frequent in the literature on Beethoven, have inevitably regarded it as a transcendental struggle.10 Even more writers limit themselves to formalistic and aesthetic analysis, explaining the work out of itself." A favorite solution has been to press it into the form of the sonata-cycle or sonata-movement. The composer's point of departure and intention, the two most important aspects of any investigation, are to be found neither in abstract formal schemes, forced arbitrarily upon the work from outside, nor in vague philosophical speculation, but, as we shall demonstrate, in the nature of counterpoint, and the explanation is based on biographical and philological facts. The present article attempts to show also, for the first time, to what extent the Great Fugue is rooted in historical tradition. 12 The discussion may be preceded by a brief outline of the formal structure:1
quotes the four main forms of the first theme (x) in the reverse order of their appearance in the fugue (x4, x3, x2, x1). (b. A-SECCTION 31-158): double fugue on x1 and the dotted second theme (y). (b. B-SECTION 159-232): double fugato on x2 and a new countersubject (z), framed and interrupted by homophonic entries of the z-theme. (b. C-SECTION 233-272): march-like episode on x3 (diminution of x2), scarcely fugal. (b. D-sECTION 273-492): fugue on x4 (augmentation of x2); followed by a free phantasy on x and y (b. 414). (b. B'-SECTION 493-510): reprise of B; followed by a transitional section (b. 511). (b. C'-SECTION 533-564): reprise of C. CODA(b. 565-741): free homophonic section followed by the coda proper (b. 657) with reminiscences of everything which has preceded.
OVERTURA 1-30): (b.
' My Reflections on Being Eighty, in: The Observer (London) June 17, 1962. 9a Beethoven und die Dichtung (Berlin 1930) p. 351ff. o10,,Und das ist die Bedeutung der ,Grossen Fuge': in ihr ist der Gegensatz, in dem das Idch zur Welt erlebt nunmehr in sich das Walten jener geistig-g6ittlichen Krifte, zunichst steht, iiberwunden; das Idch die auch in der gesamten sichtbaren und unsichtbaren Welt wirksam sind. Aber diese Einheit muB immer neu errungen werden. Und Beethovens Leben ist ein immerwiihrendes Ringen..." - RATZ, op. cit., pp. 85-86. and u SCHERCHEN GREW have written the most extensive studies of this kind (op. cit.). 12 The article is extracted from W. KIRKENDALE, und Fugato in der Kammermusik des Rokoko Fuge und der Klassik. Eine historische, quellen- und stilkundliche Studie zum Repertoire in den Liindern der habsburgischen Krone (Diss. Wien 1961) pp. 302-315. (The page numbers quoted here refer to the manuscript in the Viennese libraries; the dissertation is to be published by Hans Schneider, Tutzing/ Miinchen). Cf. also the versions of Scherchen 13 A more detailed outline is given in my dissertation, pp. 306-308. and Grew. The analysis of V. D'INDY,followed by all French writers and D. G. MASON, misleading, is for it does not recognize the D-section (see below) as a fugue. D'INDY,E. RATZand 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 justified.


W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

The arrangement Overtura-A-B-C-D-B'-C'-Coda may not, of course, be regarded as a succession of closed sections, for all components are developed from the same thematic material (x) and the seams are concealed. For example, x3 from the C-section is further employed in D, and the reprise of B (B') still belongs tonally 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 departurefor an independent, large-scale fugal movement. Somehow he had to orient himself. Is it not likely that he referredto his contrapuntal studies15 with Haydn and Albrechtsberger (1792-1795) and those preparedfor 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 recommendedthe 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. 17The style of the fugal sections in the finished composition is still determined of various uniform ostinato by the species principle: the juxtaposition 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 instrumental works. VON 15 A corrupted was and exercises studies published IGNAZ SEYFRIED, of selection Beethoven's by (Wien, Ludwig Beethovens und Contrapuncte in derCompositions-Lehre Studien Generalbasse, im van vol.1: Beethovens c. 1832);a critical selection GUSTAV NOTTEBOHM, by UnterBeethovens Studien, and 1873).Although SEYFRIED'S (Leipzig richtbei J.Haydn, Albrechtsberger Salieri inaccuracies iund have long been exposedby NOTTrEBOHM comments (Beethoveniana. Leipzig1872, supposititious andNOTTEusedby SEYFRIED The as quoted authentic. source pp.154-203), theyarestill frequently
der Musikfreunde, Vienna.Further 75 BOHMis the Beethoven-Autograph in the Archivder Gesellschaft 14 KIRKENDALE, Op.cit., p. 271 (chart) lists 52 fugatos, fugues and projectedfugues in Beethoven's

are theoretical works listedin mydissertation, 252 (footfrom exercises extracts and pp. contrapuntal

OREL,Ein "Dona nobis pacem" von der Hand Ludwig van note) and 256-259. See also ALFRED Beethovens in: FestschriftKarl 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. DE iii) CECILIO RODA, Un Quaderno di Autografi di Beethoven del 1825 (Torino 1907) pp. 79-82.

of 18 Letter July 1, 1823, to

Leipzig 1906-1908)

Mh Bonn, 101,pp.1-14. collection, iv) Bodmer CHR. Rudolph ALFR. KALISCHER, Briefe(Berlin, siimtliche BeetlhoveMs
vol. 4, pp. 281-282.

also the in op. examples RODA, cit.,pp.80-81. Beethoven triedcombining joy-theme 17 Cf.themusical with no. (RODA'S (in example 99). of the NinthSymphony its 6/8-form) the x-theme

W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"


of the contemporary critic, quoted above: "wenn jedes derselben [= Instrumente] anders figuriert."The y-theme too, which was first sketched in uniform eighth notes,'18 belongs in its final form to a particular species, called "contrappunto puntato.""1 Although the rhythmic combinations change with each section (A, B, C etc.) and even with each entry of the theme, they affect the texture rather than the form. For the whole conception of the work the following passage from Albrechtsberger's treatise on musical composition was of greatest significance: ,,Die Die Verkleinerung (Augmentatio) (Diminutio)Die Abkiirzung (AbVergr5Berung breviatio)Die Zerschneidung (Syncope)Die Engfiihrung (Restrictio)des Fugenthemas sind die Hauptfiguren und Kiinste in einer Fuge. Doch kann man selten alle (Zierlichkeiten) 20 in zugleich einereinzigenFugeanbringen." Beethoven was especially interested in this passage, for he copied in his sketches almost all of the musical examples which Albrechtsberger gives for the "Hauptfiguren." (These sketches, unknown to Nottebohm, were identified for the first time by the present author).21 In the last sentence Beethoven obviously found a challenge: "to employ all of them at once in a single fugue." He made this his principle of composition, his means to build up a large-scale fugue. Mainly in this way is the unusual length of the work to be explained. All of the contrapuntal artifices listed by Albrechtsberger are employed here: augmentation (x4 or D), diminution (b. 139; x3 or C),22 abbreviation (b. 308, 378 etc.), syncopation (b. 111, 139, 716) and stretto (b. 193 and many free or fragmentary strettos, including those with one part augmented or diminished). Of these artifices the syncopation is very rare in fugues for instrumental ensemble from the second half of the eighteenth century (we have examined over 400oo).Only Albrechtsbergerhimself seems to have followed the recommendation of Fux to employ the theme in syncopation towards the end of the fugue23 (e. g. in his quartets op. 2/3 and 52"). Beethoven employs it both in the normal values (b. 111; since xt is itself a form of syncopation, this is actually double syncopation) and in diminution (b. 139). The final, incontestable proof that Albrechtsberger's treatise was the point of departure for the Great Fugue, is given by the continuation of the passage quoted above:


(Leipzig 1887) p. 6.

vol. 2, p. 10. o20JOHANNGEORGALBRECHTSBERGER, Griandliche Anweisung zur Composition (Leipzig 1790) p. 189. 21 KIRKENDALE, cit., pp. 258, 261, 263. The sketches are in the Bodmer collection, Bonn, Mh op. 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. In the sketches Beethoven designated the x3-theme as "abbreviatur" (Marburg, Beethoven-Auto-2 graph 9, book 2, fol. 4r). 23 JOHANN Fux, Gradus ad Parnassum (Vienna 1725) p. 149. Cf. also Mozarts Fugato KV JOSEPH 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.

Lehrbuchder Tonsetzkunst (Offenbach 1832-1843)


W. Kirkendale:Beethoven's"Art of Fuge"

wo ,,Es giebt nocheine Zierlichkeit, man nimlich die Noten des Satzes [= des Themas] mit einem Suspirtheilt, welcheaber nicht so schdnund minnlich ist, als die fiinf vorherzu gehenden.Sie konnte Interruptio, teutsch:Unterbrechung genanntwerden.Man sehe ein
Beyspiel:" 25 Ex. 1 Albrechtsberger: GriindlidceAnweisuwHg...,p.195.

Satz [Themel [Interruption] Unterbrechung etc.

Here we discover the source of the peculiar rhythmisation of Beethoven's xtone theme,26" of the most puzzling aspects of the Great Fugue: Ex.2 Beethoven: op.133, xl-theme (A-section)



This "Zierlichkeit" is mentioned in no other treatise on counterpoint.27 It is significant that Albrechtsberger must suggest the name himself ("kannte... genannt werden").28 The device is extremely rare in fugal repertoire. I know of only one example: Albrechtsberger's quartet-fugue op. 2/1. Albrechtsberger was no longer able to take his musical examples for "syncopation" and "interruption" from fugues of Bach and Handel, as he did for the other "Hauptfiguren",but had to draw upon his own works. His example of "syncopation" is taken from his quintet-fugue op. 3/6,29 that of "interruption" from op. 2/1. Beethoven was determined to leave none of the devices listed by Albrechtsbergerunused, not even the most exceptional. The word recherchlie in the heading of the first edition (Grande Fugue, tant6t libre, tant6t recherchlie30)has always been interpreted merely as strict as opposed to libre, at best with reference to the obvious derivation from the Italian ricercare. But in Beethoven's time the word had a special meaning. It no longer signified the historic organ ricercares of the seventeenth century, which had long since sunk into oblivion. As a vague reminiscence of a by-gone contrapuntal era, the term now
25 26

ALBRECHTSBERGER, cit., p. 194. op.

The x1-form of the theme is relatively infrequent in the sketches. It appears for the first time in the sketch-book Marburg Beethoven-Autograph 9, book 2, fol. 6r. 27 I examined c. 60 printed and manuscript theoretical treatises from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (listed op. cit., pp. 333-336). Only Andre gives a rhythmically similar example (but not as a device for altering a theme), calling it "contrappunto alla zoppa" or "hinkenden Kontrapunkt" (op. cit., p. 10). 28 The term is related to the "tmesis" of the "Figurenlehre" (Vogt, Spiess), which, however, designates only the general procedure of incision and not this special case. 29 Manuscript parts in the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, sm 4722, and the Archiv der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, IX 29419 (as "op. 4") and IX 127. so Vienna, Artaria, 1827. The English translation as Great Fugue is inadequate, for, unlike the German Grofle Fuge, it conveys an idea of "greatness," very welcome to the admirers of the work, but not at all in keeping with the composer's meaning of "large."

W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"


designated a fugue which makes excessive use of contrapuntal artifices. In a short treatise on fugue Johann Anton Andre recommends that before a fugue is begun the theme should be tested for its capacity to be used in contrapuntal artifices (augmentation, diminution, stretto etc.): "derenmehr oder wenigerjede Fuge enthalten soil, und wenn sie a11e enth il t, [sie] eine Ricercata(Kunstfuge) genanntwird." 81 Heinrich Christoph Koch writes in 1802: ,,Wenndie strengeFuge noch mit verschiedenen und Nachungewbhnlichern kiinstlichen vermischt wird, so pflegt man sie alsdanneine Ricercataoder eine Kunstfugezu ahmungen

(J. S. Bach had hidden the word Ricercar in an acrostic33 used as a heading for his Musical Offering, a work extraordinarily rich in contrapuntal devices). The historical term has become a theoretical one. With the word recherchlie Beethoven underlined his intention "to employ all" the artifices "at once in a single fugue." This plan resulted, as is evident from the analysis given above (p. 15), in a compound movement. While it is to be regarded as a single fugue, it actually consists of two fugues (A and D), a fugato (B) and several more or less homophonic sections. Altogether not more than 45 per cent is fugal. The freer sections, which we do not need to examine here, serve to relax tension and constitute perhaps part of the "poetic element" which Beethoven required of the fugue: ,,EineFugezu machen keine Kunst,ich habe derenzu Dutzenden meinerStudienzeit ist in Aberdie Phantasie will auchihr Rechtbehaupten, heut' zu Tage mussin die alt und gemacht. Formein anderes, wirklich Element kommen." hergebrachte poetisches ein 34 The divison of the work into several sections, each with its own tempo, time and key signature, is interpreted by Lenz as a particular innovation (when he quotes Zellner's analysis, adding his own commentary in parenthesis): Sinn ,,,In schulgerechtem keine Fuge, dem widerspricht formelleDehnung,die Gliededie Abschnitte'(das ist eben die Beethovensche Neurung in mehrererhythmisch selbstlindige 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 capriccio 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

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, cit., pp. 233-235. op. 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". op. 94 LENZ, cit., vol. 5, p. 219. 35 Ibid., p. 290.


W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

compare, for example, the easily accessible fantasia of Sweelinck printed in Das with its gigantic length, the diminution, single and double augmenMusikwerk,"36 tation of the theme, the continual succession of new counterpoints; or the canzone of Frescobaldi and the capriccio of Froberger in the same volume37 with their sections consisting of variations of the theme with different time signatures. If it were not so improbable that Beethoven knew this repertoire,38 one would be inclined to believe that he was indebted to the ancient variation-ricercare39and that the word recherchlie in the heading had not only a theoretical, but also a historical meaning. The extensive employment of variation and fugue has long been recognized as characteristic of Beethoven's late works. Common to both are the exploitation of a single theme or thematic complex, and the general lack of formal periodicity. The thematic economy and formal freedom of these two procedures explain Beethoven's preference for them in his most mature works. Of the latter, the Great Fugue is especially characteristic, for it combines both principles. Not only the variation of the themes themselves, but also the differentiation of the sections by means of new contrapuntal figures corresponds to the practice of variation.40 The contrapuntal and homophonic sections are also differentiated consistently in their dynamics. Here Beethoven adheres to a traditional fugal practice which we have observed in the rococo period.4' At that time dynamic indications were still generally limited to homophonic movements and, in fugues, to occasional homophonic episodes. Fugues seldom had more than a "f" at the beginning, for they required "Kraft und Nachdruck,"42 "einen festen, kriftigen Bogenstrich."43Gentler dynamics were considered "gallant" and associated with homophonic episodes:
36 ADAM ADRIO, Die Fuge, Vol. 1 (Kbln 1960) no. 4. s' Nos. 6 and 7. REICHA Beethovenhimselfpossesseda fugue of his friendANTON but on s8 Improbable not impossible.

a theme of FRESCOBALDI, divided by double bars into four sections --KIRKENDALE, Op. cit., pp. 239 (footnote), 241, 266.

der FISCHER GuIDo ADLER, in: Handbuchd Musikgeschichte (Frank*9 The term employed by WILHELM furt 1924) p. 483. This variation technique is, of course, by no means restricted to pieces entitled "ricercare," as the above-mentioned works of Frescobaldi and Froberger show. 40 Yet one may not go so far as to divide the whole work into numbered variations, as D'INDYdoes. Beethoven himself declared that the fugato in his Eroica-Variations op. 35 "keine Variation genannt werden kann" (letter of April 8, 1803, to Breitkopf & Hirtel - KALISCHER, cit., vol. 1, p. 112). op.
41 KIRKENDALE, cit., p. 99. Op. 42 CHRISTIAN Ideen zu einer Alsthetik der Tonkunst (Wien 1806, written FRIEDRICH DANIEL SCHUBART,


p. 59.

fugal quartets in the Allgemeine musikalische 4* Anonymous criticism of MONN'Sand GASSMANN'S

of vol. dynamic century, 1808)col.439. Evenat the beginning the nineteenth Zeitung, 10 (Leipzig of the claims alteration "p"and"f,""was In in was variety not expected a fugue. 1811G.J.Vogler in den Fugennicht gew6hnlich JOSEPH ist," as his innovation(GEORG Systemfar den FugenVOGLER, in of sonata the dated Offenbach 1817,preface c. bau, During composition the fugue the ('cello) s1811).
op. 102/2 (1815) Beethovenstill found it necessaryto note an explicit reminderin the sketches: Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 319). Beethoven's friend "Bei allen Fugen piano u. forte" (NOTTEBOHM, 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 criera ou jouera plus fort!" - ANTON REICHA,TraitC de haute composition musicale (Paris qui 1824-1826); p. 1097 in the edition of Carl Czerny (Wien c. 1832).

W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"


,,Wenn man aber die Zwischenstitzemit zirtlichen und schmeichelhaften Gedanken, welche auch ein Piano leiden, 44 oder mit Liufern und Triolen,oder mit Gedanken des Theater-und Kammerstyls, welchein vielen Terzenoder Sexteneinhergehen, verfertigt: so wirddie 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 accompaniment 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 homophonic accompaniment is omitted and the texture is radically thickened by the combination 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 commentators. 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 themetypes. It has long been generally acknowledged that in the baroque period thematic conception is "vielfach nichts anderes als variative Ausgestaltung der UniversalThementypen."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 common are 5~ 1-6-7 anrid5-6-7-1) or rhythmical variation. In vocal music it is from words expressing sorrow, affliction, and grief. A vast number of inseparable 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),


teacher (Vienna,Bureaudes Arts et d'Industrie, 1803). c.

op. cit., 45 ALBRECHTSBERGER, 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 ERICHSCHENK,Ober Begriff und Wesen des musikalischen Barock, in: Zeitschrift fiur Musikwissenschaft, 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, cit., pp. 114 f and 132 f lists 26 examples from the second half of the eighteenth op. century in fugues for instrumental ensemble.


W. Kirkendale:Beethoven's"Art of Fuge"

long history, the type is used as the main theme of a work in a major key (Bb), being transferred to the supertonic (the fifth framed by the diminished seventh is c'-g'; see ex. 2). The framing seventh itself is framed by the octave (bi-b'i).52 It is peculiar to the theme that, from the third note onward, it contains in itself its inversion. (For 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 simultaneously 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 determinedby 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 Albrechtsberger (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 soggetti"). 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 Albrechtsbergerto 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 Albrechtsberger. (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 Albrechtsbergercomposed 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
296, footnote) of the variant readings of the (THAYER, op. cit., vol. 5, p. 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). op. 55 Cf. SEYFRIED, cit., pp. 204-206 (the passage is authentic). op. 56 KIRKENDALE, op. cit., p. 300 f.- Cf. ALBRECHTSBERGER, cit., chapter 27: "Von der Fuge mit einem Chorale." Beethoven had written three such fugues on themes given to him by Albrechtsberger. SCHRAMECK-KIRCHNER,G. Albrechtsbergers Fugen fifr Tasteninstrumente, Diss. (Ms.) J. 57 ALEXANDER
52 RIEMANN'S "correction"

Wien 1954. op. cit., pp. 25-30. 5s The sources are given in KIRKENDALE, "9 Ibid., pp. 30, 26, 297, 299.

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

W. Kirkendale:Beethoven's"Art of Fuge"


entries in Beethoven's op. 132 and 133 (A and D). In writing the fugue theme of the piano sonata op. 110 Beethoven may have recalled Albrechtsberger'squartet-fugue op. 2/4: Ex.3 Albrechtsberger:op. 2/4
1 V.


Ex.4 Beethoven: op. 110

Allegro ma non troppo

(The quartet-fugue in C-major,61written by Beethoven for Albrechtsbergerin 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 Albrechtsbergerare found in the fugues of Beethoven's op. 102/2 (Albrechtsbergerop. 19/5), op. 124 (Albrechtsbergerop. 1/2, 8/1, 24/5) and op. 125 (Albrechtsbergerop. 8/6). (In these cases there is no question of direct quotation or imitation, but merely similarity of theme-type). The heading "con alcune licenze" of the fugue in the HammerklavierSonata op. 106, synonymous with the "tant6t libre" in op. 133, is a reminiscence of Albrechtsberger'scustom of writing the word "Licenz" (or "Lic.") over the permissible exceptions to the rules of strict counterpoint in the fugues of his pupil.62 In many respects, the fugue op. 106 is to be interpreted in the same way as op. 133. Peculiar to both is the unprecedented, almost exaggerated employment of contrapuntal artifices; this is a cause of the excessive length. (The fugue op. 106 even makes use of the extremely rare device of retrograde motion; Beethoven took this directly from Marpurg's treatise on fugue,63 as is proven by his copy of
61 62 63

Nagels Musik-Archiv, no. 186 (Kassel 1955). Cf. NOTTERBOHM. BeethoveN's Studien. Albrechtsberger often uses the word in his Anweisung. FRIEDRICH WILHELM MARPURG, Abhandlung von der Fuge (Berlin 1753/1754) vol. 2, tab. 16, fig. 1-6.


W. Kirkendale: Beethoven's "Art of Fuge"

Marpurg'sexamples of retrograde motion among the sketches for op. 10664). In this respect, both fugues have no connection with those of the Austrian chamber music from the second half of the eighteenth century, which make almost no employment of contrapuntal artifices.65 Without the suggestion of a great theoretical compendiumthe "giant movement," the Great Fugue would never have been written. As a practical composition it has roots in the tradition of the baroque Kunstbuch (skill-book) 6. Here its direct prototype is J. S. Bach's Art of Fugue. We know that Beethoven was familiar with this work.67 The Great Fugue was his Art of Fugue, his summary of the various the subsequent dedication to his pupil in counterpoint fugal techniques-hence Archduke Rudolph, for whom he had originally copied the passage from Albrechtsberger, the clue to our interpretation. The differences between the two compositions separated by momentous changes in the world of thought are obvious: Bach's work relatively static and didactic, Beethoven's dynamic and emotional, etc. Beethoven wrote his version, the freest and most subjective of all Kunstbichler; "imagination" and the "real poetic element" have asserted their rights."68The fact that he, unlike Bach, was obliged to take his point of departure(and no more) from theory, in no way prevented him, at the height of his powers, from writing an extraordinary and highly original work. Only before the background of tradition can its uniqueness and the personal accomplishment of the composer be determined.

Spatial Perception

and PhysicalLocation asFactorsin Music

EDWARDA. LIPPMAN (NEW YORK) OF 1. THESPATIAL CAPABILITIESHEARING 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.
Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 351 f.). The fugue of the sonata 64 Boldrini sketch-book, p. 8 (NOTTEBOHM, op. 110 even employs double diminution. 65 KIRKENDALE, cit., p. 96. op. SCHENK, 66 Cf. ERICH "Das Musikaliscde Opfer" von Johann Sebastian Back in: Anzeiger der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Jg. 90 (1953) p. 55. 67 He copied a few bars from contrapunctus 4 in a sketchbook for op. 106 and the Ninth Symphony, Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 351). A manuscript copy and a printed edition (Ziirich, 1817 (NOTTEBOHM, Chronologisdies Verzeicdnis der Werke Nigeli 1802) were found in his library--A. W. THAYER, Ludwig van Beethovens (Berlin 1865), nos. 207 and 235 in the inventory of Beethoven's estate. *s Cf. Beethoven's words quoted above, p. 19.