What is a fugue?

This week Catherine Bott explores one of the most common and inventive musical devices. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music, Sunday 26 October 9pm.

fugue Bach manuscript

The fugue was much loved by J.S. Bach – think Toccata and Fugue in D minor

The term is related to the Latin fugere which means 'to flee' and fugare which means 'to chase' and this ingenious knitting of musical patterns has kept composers excited for centuries. 

There is music tonight of course by the fugue-master, Bach, as well as a Fantasy and Fugue in C minor by Elgar, the fugue that ends Benjamin Britten's A Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra as well as works from Respighi, Haydn and Mozart.