What is the difference between a short fugue and a versette?

Short Fugue example:


Versette example:



A versetto (Italian, mid-1500's) is a very short polyphonic composition, often using imitative entries much more closely spaced than would be found in a motet of that era (Palestrina gives each textual phrase its own block of imitative entries, spaced far enough apart to make at least the first few words comprehensible: "Agnus Dei, qui tol-[jabberwocky ensues]", oh, whatever, I know how the rest of those words go, let's just chill and enjoy the music).
(A long modern Italian list of musical terms equates versetto to nothing more or less precise than the English word verse. Not too helpful.)

A short fugue would have more than one set of imitative entries. Many of Fischer's examples even thin out the texture halfway through (look for the rests). There's no time for that in a versetto.

But the boundaries are blurry. A contemporary composer or listener, presented with one or the other out of context, might have trouble distinguishing a long versetto from an extremely short fugue. Within context, however: hey, this comes after a prelude in the same key, ergo it's a fugue.

I doubt that short fugue is a well-distinguished musical form. It's just a fugue that is short.

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