This video will discuss one of the most unorthodox and remarkable fugues from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier: The C-sharp major fugue from Book II. A typical, well-behaved fugue begins with an exposition consisting of a subject followed by spaced-out, non-overlapping answers in the other voices. This fugue bucks convention from the very first measure, beginning with a three-part stretto of the subject, (highlighted in red) and its inversion (highlighted in blue). Just to review a n inversion is the vertical reflection of the subject and a stretto is when entries of the subject are squeezed together so they overlap temporally. The main subject of this fugue mostly reappears as fragments of the original — most commonly just its first four notes. Notice that immediately after the already-close stretto from the exposition, Bach squeezes the entries of the subject even closer together in this stretto. The four note motif from the original subject appears in its inverted and non-inverted forms throughout the fugue, but also in diminution (meaning in this case rhythmically twice as fast) and later in augmentation (meaning in this case rhythmically twice as slow). To complicate matters even further, this fugue also has a second subject, making it a double fugue. This second subject will be highlighted in green and its inversion will be highlighted in orange. Near the end of the fugue it also appears once in diminution. The climax and most complex moment of this fugue is when the two augmented entries of the subject appear in a colorful sea of inverted and non-inverted entries of both subjects. Now listen to the entire fugue, but stay tuned at the end of the video for a surprise. The surprise is a possible additional augmented entry of the subject that I didn’t originally highlight. I say possible because it only exists as a combination of notes from two different voices, making it very questionable whether it was ever intended to be played or heard as an actual entry of the subject, but my contrapuntally-biased brain hears it this way, especially in this recording, so I thought I’d share.