The preludes and fugues of J.K.F. Fischer, J.S. Bach, Paul Hindemith, and Dimitri Shostakovitch



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In 1951 Dimitri Shostakovitch completed his Twenty- Four Preludes and Fugues, Opus 87, one in each of the major and minor keys. This work is unusual in that it is by one of the leading contemporary composers, and is in a form which although famous has been by no means widely used. The only other composer of the Twentieth Century, so far as I have found, who has used this form is Paul Hindemith, whose Ludus Tonalis was completed in October, 1942. The Well-Tempered Clavier, by J. S. Bach, is by far the most famous work in this form, and It was preceded by the Ariadne Musica, by J. K. F. Fischer. The latter Is thought to have had a more than incidental influence on the Bach work. The purpose of this paper is to compare these four works, two from the Twentieth Century and two from the Eighteenth Century, to examine and determine which devices each composer has used, and suggest how they may have influenced each other. [...]