In a very rounded form, Bach opens and closes the fugue in three statements of the subject in three voices and one more statement of the theme. The middle of the fugue is developed through reduction of three voice texture into two lines, by subsequent rather than concurrent interaction of the voices. As we look forward to the fourth prelude and fugue, which features 5 contrapuntal lines, the third set has struck a frustrating bone in my body.. It has suddenly occured to me that we are talking about vocal lines written for a very percussive instrument. Moreover, imitation and canon are at the heart of writing multi-voice fugues, which by definition reduces them back to a single subject accompanied by some counter-line. Will 5 voices make any difference to our minds?
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