Johann Sebastian Bach (German, 1685-1750): Sonata in C Major for unaccompanied violin, mvt. 2 (Fuga)
We're at the halfway point, so let's look at one of the most epic, intense works in the violin repertoire!
"Fugue" is a kind of composition in which a short musical idea called a "subject" is passed around in at least three different voices--low, medium, high--as it is accompanied by the voices NOT playing the subject. (This means that sometimes a higher voice will "accompany" a lower one.) Fugue is common in keyboard music, where each hand can play one line, or two simple lines, and it is also common in ensemble music. But, amazingly, you can also play a fugue on the violin, though it is very difficult. It is also difficult to compose fugue for the violin, but Bach's longest fugue for any instrument--and he wrote a LOT--is written for solo violin!
Listen carefully to the first few measures of the piece, which introduces the subject, and then follow that subject in the low, medium, and high registers on the violin.
YouTube (Fugue at 4:42)
In May 2017 I challenged my students to practice every day for 30 days in a row. In addition, I asked them to listen to 30 bite-sized musical selections I emailed daily. I collected my picks in this blog for posterity. So these are works I find particularly fun, interesting, or important, including a handful by composers who were born or who died in May. Please enjoy!