I'm looking for a thorough, perhaps measure-by-measure, analysis of Bach's Art of the Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080). Is there a book, journal article, thesis, or dissertation which does this?

  • 1
    store.doverpublications.com/048649764x.html, maybe.
    – user16935
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 20:09
  • What's to analyze? It's a fugue.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 21:29
  • 2
    @Ricky It's considerably more than one fugue...
    – Andy
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 7:58
  • 2
    Just for information: Apparently Douglas Hofstadter's book "Gödel, Escher, Bach"... has a lot to say about this piece. But it's not a conventional analysis as such, and goes into many other things apparently unconnected with music...
    – Andy
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 8:03
  • 3
    Ah. Bach lacked excellence? I'm curious about those developments since, especially in opera. I'm fairly familiar with contrapuntal writing up to, say, Dallapiccola. I would have said that there was very little new in contrapuntal technique, and none of it any better handled than in Bach (although not necessarily handled worse), but I can stand to learn something new.
    – user16935
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 13:24

2 Answers 2


Laurence Dreyfus, Bach and the Patterns of Invention (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996)

David Yearsley, Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Peter Schleuning, Johann Sebastian Bachs Kunst der Fuge: Ideologie, Entstehung, Analyse (Munich: DTV, 1993)

Heinrich Adel, Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge: a living compendium of fugal procedures, with a motivic analysis of all the fugues (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1993)

Göncz, Zoltán; Laki, Péter; Mészáros, Erzsébet, Bach's testament: On the philosophical and theological background of The art of fugue (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013)

For hundreds more citations, visit http://www.rilm.org, the international catalog of literature about music.

  • 1
    And don't forget Donald Tovey's Companion - he was very shrewd about how the counterpoint worked.
    – user16935
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 17:05

if you are looking for something you can source, maybe https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~repercus/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/repercussions-Vol.-9-No.-1-Markham-Michael-The-Usefulness-of-Such-Artworks.pdf

a website that might be informative, http://www.flagmusic.com/aof.php?r=aof_c_ii

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.