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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"When I meet a man I ask myself, 'Is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?'" - Rita Rudner

***

"Why is the harpsichord the perfect instrument for fugue? Cos it is. It's the perfect marriage of instrument and genre.

Might I suggest that the clarity of line we hear in a harpsichord, the extremely rapid decay, avoids any sort of smear. The melodies stand in high relief, the other thing about a harpsichord is you really can't make one melody louder than the other, it's what we call a non-dynamic instrument: much more on that later.

But the beauty of a fugue is you *don't want to make* one version of the subject longer or louder than the others, because that would create a homophonic-sounding texture.

So the harpsichord balances melodies beautifully, it doesn't smear melodies and it's beautifully suited, then, for the polyphonic writing of the Baroque.

--- Robert Greenberg, How to Listen to and Understand Great Music: Fugue
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