Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Music An imitative polyphonic composition in which a theme or themes are stated successively in all of the voices of the contrapuntal structure.
  • n. Psychiatry A pathological amnesiac condition during which one is apparently conscious of one's actions but has no recollection of them after returning to a normal state. This condition, usually resulting from severe mental stress, may persist for as long as several months.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A contrapuntal piece of music wherein a particular melody is played in a number of voices, each voice introduced in turn by playing the melody.
  • n. Anything in literature, poetry, film, painting, etc., that resembles a fugue in structure or in its elaborate complexity and formality.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A polyphonic composition, developed from a given theme or themes, according to strict contrapuntal rules. The theme is first given out by one voice or part, and then, while that pursues its way, it is repeated by another at the interval of a fifth or fourth, and so on, until all the parts have answered one by one, continuing their several melodies and interweaving them in one complex progressive whole, in which the theme is often lost and reappears.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, a polyphonic composition based upon one, two, or even more themes, which are enunciated by the several voices or parts in turn, subjected to various kinds of contrapuntal treatment, and gradually built up into a complex form having somewhat distinct divisions or stages of development and a marked climax at the end.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who they are and leaves home to creates a new life; during the fugue there is no memory of the former life; after recovering there is no memory for events during the dissociative state
  • n. a musical form consisting of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below its first statement
  • n. a dreamlike state of altered consciousness that may last for hours or days

Etymologies

Italian fuga (influenced by French fugue, from Italian fuga), from Latin, flight.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian fuga ("flight, ardor"), from Latin fuga ("act of fleeing"), from fugere ("to flee"); the spelling is from the French version of the Italian term. Apparently from the metaphor that the first part starts alone on its course, and is pursued by later parts. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And knowing what a fugue is can make you fall in love with Bach.

    Tunes For Thought

  • And the art of the literary fugue is "vain," that is, unapologetically aesthetic, without pretense to psychological enlightenment or social commentary (although the occasional image of a tank rolling through the streets of Bucharest does certainly evoke Communist-era realities).

    Experimental Fiction

  • The reasons for his fugue are mysterious, and they need to stay that way for at least half of the novel.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Creating the Care Factor

  • June 19th, 2006 at 1:25 am spiderpaws, a fugue is a musical structure based on permutations of a melody.

    Firedoglake » Head of Household

  • The ground bass of the fugue is my progress as a musician, slow but steady like a pulse; the line above it is the more complex progress of the band and the interrelationships that both weld us together and threaten to separate us.

    Broken Music, A Memoir

  • But the patterns were clear, and by the end of the recording, which was not even a half-hour long, Christian had mastered the idea of fugue, and the sound of the harpsichord preyed on his mind.

    Unaccompanied Sonata

  • The fugue was a glorious, sturdy thing, like a great solid body inhabited by a big, noble, unquestioning soul -- a soul free from hesitations, that knew its way to God and would not be hindered from taking it.

    In the Wilderness

  • Its most Gothic form, the North German fugue, which is the instrumental descendant of the Netherlands church music, is the most closely organized of musical types.

    Some Forerunners of Italian Opera

  • If not, we shall see each other again at Weymar, for you owe me a compensation for your last fugue, which is no more to my taste than Kuhmstedt's counterpoint.

    Letters

  • The fugue was the creation of this epoch, and while based upon the general idea of canonic imitation, after the Netherlandish ideal, it differed from their productions in several highly significant respects.

    A Popular History of the Art of Music From the Earliest Times Until the Present

Comments

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  • "What you are describing can be considered a fugue or flight reaction. During fugue states, the individual suddenly and unexpectedly leaves, traveling some distance away from home. A fugue state can last hours or even weeks. During the fugue state, you would have acted normally and would have interacted with others in a normal manner. Fugue states are almost always linked to the presence of severe stress at the time of the fugue experience. There are several causes for fugue reactions."
    - Joseph Carver, 'Fugue: A Mental Urge To Leave Immediately', counsellingresource.com, 24 Oct 2008.

    February 22, 2009

  • i'll have to keep this in mind.

    November 28, 2008

  • The dialectic of music.

    November 28, 2008