Jun. 12, 2019
How To Learn A Fugue, Part II
(con't from Part I)
Regardless of how many steps the student adopts in learning an organ fugue, the watchword is "SUBDIVIDE," and the strategy involved is to permit "DIVIDE AND CONQUER" to guide the learning process [See Part I].
Human beings learn very early in life that any kind of food too large to eat all at once first has to be broken down into smaller bites.
Four voice organ fugues, especially those with multiple countersubjects written in triple and quadruple counterpoint, can be thought of as the Dagwood sandwiches of the standard repertoire -- they cover the whole plate so-to-speak and are stuffed just as high and wide with all sorts of chewy stuff.
Listeners who keep track of all of the parts when a Bach fugue is performed are going to be BUSY; while we perform it, we organists are going to be BUSI-ER.
To digest our way through something like this we need to come at it the same way, i.e., little by little, a bite at a time, which is substantial time gained; we also have patience with the process and with ourselves knowing that, even if we don't seem to "get it" right off the bat, even if we think "I can't do this," even if we run into something that has us thinking "this isn't working for me," it doesn't mean that we're NEVER going to chomp our way through it, that we're NEVER going to get this Dagwood sandwich down (photo).
It means nothing of the kind.
It simply means that we don't get it, YET ... we can't do this, YET ... it isn't working for us, YET.
With respect to this kind of learning, everyone's time-table is their own.