Forging the Mold: Pachelbels Fugues as the model for the high baroque fugue

            The Bachian fugue is often considered the quintessential high-baroque fugue, and works from the Well tempered Clavier through his organ fugues have served frequently both as a scholarly model and the artistic standard in fugal practice of the baroque. Accepted literature draws a line from the compositional achievements of Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) as Bach's direct predecessor in fugal writing in Germany[1], and recent research has quite successfully traced the emergence of fugal practice from the ricercare of the renaissance to the emancipated fugue of the high baroque as a stand-alone genre.[2]

            A composer who has been discussed much less than Buxtehude et al in the context of being one of the fugue composers ultimately leading to the high baroque fugue as seen in Bach is Johannes Pachelbel (1653-1706). The purpose of this paper is to point out Pachelbel's contribution to the art of fugue composition and furthermore how much more his writing may have influenced Bach than what is documented and believed at this point. In order to illustrate Pachelbel's contribution to the art, his stylistics traits and elements of his fugues will be discussed in detail and compared both retrospectively as well as with the established fugal practice of his successors, most notably Bach. Most analytical attention will be given to the contrapuntal works of Pachelbel, as the scope of this paper is primarily his fugal writing. The analysis will furthermore focus much more on formal and structural elements of Pachelbel's writing rather than harmonic elements, as harmony is incomparable due to the different temperaments of the pre and post Bach era.

            In order to effectively discuss Pachelbel's contribution some background must be provided. While, as mentioned above, this paper will focus on formal and structural elements in Pachelbel's fugue writing, it is by no means an attempt to establish whether fugue is a process, technique or form, neither is the intent of this research to take a side in the ongoing discussion. It his however important to establish which formal or structural elements are typically found in fugues before Pachelbel and after.

            Interestingly, none of the treatises that were in circulation and likely known to Pachelbel and his contemporaries were prescriptive in terms of formal layout of a fugue. With fugue being understood rather as a technique than as an emancipated genre the focus of most treatises was the subject and answer protocol as well as contrapuntal procedures that could be employed by the fugal composers.[3]

            One of the aspects that make it especially problematic to clearly determine fugal practice is the total ambiguity of both term and genre. Until the generation of Pachelbel the term fugue was very much interchangeable with Ricercar, Fantasia, Canzone and numerous other imitative forms.[4] Even within the oeuvre of a single composer there could be a confusing similarity between the individual forms and they may differ only by the subtlest of differences. The fugues or fugal works until Pachelbel widely lacked consistency in terms of features and structure.

            In order to establish in what way Pachelbel's fugal style laid the path for the high baroque fugue, some points of reference have to be established. The quintessential baroque fugue is the fugue written in the style of J.S. Bach, and for lack of a treatise by Bach, the work Abhandlung von der Fuge[5], by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718-1795), published in 1753 shall be used as a freeze-frame of fugal praxis for the generation of Bach and immediately following him. Marpurg's Abhandlung is quite suitable for a number of reasons. First, no other treatise of the Bach and post-Bach generation, neither Fux nor Mattheson is so fixated on Bach's fugal style as the ideal, and secondly—as the more in depth analysis of the fugal components in Pachelbel will show—has very explicit aesthetic guidelines.

            A fact that is both surprising and in a way contradictory to the purpose for which this source is consulted is that although almost all fugue composers of name and rank are mentioned in the book and their work referenced as examples for the art, Pachelbel is not mentioned in neither part of the treatise. This fact becomes even more astonishing when one takes the following facts into account: Pachelbel had written a great body of fugal works. Pachelbel furthermore enjoyed a long career, spanning over 30 years and his works were of great popularity. Most importantly, as later analysis will show, it must be understood that Pachelbel's stylistic trademarks directly conform in detail with the stylistic prescriptions given in the Abhandlung.

            For the generation directly preceding Bach, the center of fugal development in Germany was Hamburg. The leading contrapuntists of the mid to late 17th century found themselves united in the Collegium Musicum, a concertant group of theorists, composers, and organists that was founded in 1660 by the composer and organist Matthias Weckmann (1616–1674). Other members were Theile, Reincken, and Bernhard. The youngest member of the Collegium was no other than Dietrich Buxtehude. The fugal exploits of the composers of the Collegium display a stylistic trend that is in some ways similar but in others quite contrary to what can be observed in Pachelbel. If one considers this Hamburg-cell of theorists and northern school of fugue composers as a stylistic trend, then the following general observations can be made.

            None of the members of the Hamburg-cell wrote works that could be considered fugues in their purest form per se. The works of the northern school exhibited the stylistic ambiguities that create the murkiness of works that are fugal but not fugues. The works are sectional, feature meter changes and are in general stylistically indiscernible due to what appears to be a complete arbitrariness in naming them.

            The works of Weckmann as the founding member and Buxtehude as the culmination of the northern school deserve mention here as they may serve as the stylistic cornerstones of the Hamburg-cell. In Weckmann's music canzon, fuga, ricercar and fantasia are completely interchangeable and each points structurally much into the past by adopting the contrapuntal variation technique of Frescobaldi and the meter change and sectionalization that can be observed in the early ricercare of the Italians.[6]

            Buxtehude's fugal style, which will find more mention later features the sectionalization that can be observed in Weckmann but furthermore some stylistic dead-ends, such as the Toccatenfuge, as well as the Toccatenvariantenfuge, two terms coined by Hedar.[7] Especially the Toccatenvariantenfuge is in its design completely retrospective as it adapts the Frescobaldian variation-technique[8] that can be observed in his Primo libro delle Fantasie from 1608.

            The stylistic characteristics exhibited by the works of the Hamburg-cell cannot be observed in either Pachelbel nor Bach. One member of the Hamburg-cell however quite closely conforms with the aesthetic guidelines given in the Abhandlung: Johann Adam Reincken (1643-1722). Reincken's fugal works, of which unfortunately only two have survived and are featured in Keyboard music from the Andreas Bach book and the Möller manuscript,[9] exhibit the progressive clarity and mature, reserved treatment of episodic sections that can be observed in Pachelbel.

            While the composers of the Hamburg-cell were highly inconsistent in their descriptive practice, they regularly adhered to the stylistic traits described above, and one will search the Pachelbelian distinction between the improvisatory and the imitative in vain. Of the leading fugue composers in Germany in the generation directly preceding Bach, i.e Buxtehude and Pachelbel, the latter was the one who was stylistically more distinctive. Pachelbel's simple, cantabler style emancipated itself from what was developed in the rest of Germany. The relatively rapid rise and fall of the northern organ fugue style through the middle to late 17th century, which centered around the Hamburg-cell, emphasizes Pachelbel's role as a lone stylistic pole in central Germany.

            Apart from stylistic elements in Pachelbel's fugue writing and his historical significance, Pachelbel must be considered a driving force in fugal composition simply based on his output of fugal compositions. Pachelbel's fugal oeuvre consists of 94 organ fugues collected as 94 Fugen über das Magnifikat, 19 fugues in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern IV and 5 fugues in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern II. Considering these works just quantitatively exemplifies with how much weight Pachelbel should be taking into account when evaluating his importance for the evolvement for the high baroque fugue. The impressive number of works is certainly on a par with the quality of Pachelbel's fugues.

            One aspect of Pachelbel's fugues that must be considered a major contribution the genre is the element of consistency between content and nomenclature. All of the fugues mentioned above are clearly designated as such and the structural parameters can be observed in each work with sturdy consistency. It becomes clear that to Pachelbel the fugue had emancipated itself as a genre of its own; the nominal ambiguity that plagues the fugal works of the pre-Pachelbel generation appears to be absent at last.

            Recent literature has pointed out that Pachelbel was among the first to pair the prelude and fugue as a set. This may certainly be considered to be of historical significance, for the evolution of the fugue as a separate phenomenon however it should be pointed out that in doing so, Pachelbel actually promoted the understanding of prelude and fugue as two separate entities: the strict separation of the free genres and the imitative ones. This separation of fugue and prelude is important in a number of ways. First, it helps to reduce the ambiguity that was created in the past by elements of free genres bleeding in to the imitative ones. When considering the overall path that fugal practice took over the course of the late 17th and mid 18th century, it becomes apparent that works in which preludial and fugal texture were seamlessly interwoven are of a retrospective nature and did not persevere. Second, the separation of preludial and fugal movements emphasizes the possibility of the fugue as a stand-alone work. The high baroque fugue is a work of consistent contrapuntal texture from beginning to end. The fugal idea is at no time abandoned or trades off with improvisatory elements. Pachelbel's contribution is then that of genre-identity, of clarity versus ambiguity, which is an utmost necessity for the fugue to evolve in its own ways.

            The consistency with which Pachelbel constructs his fugues is further exemplified when comparing his non-liturgical with his liturgical fugues. It has been suggested that the Magnificat-fugues served the purpose of intonation rather than functioning as a substitute for psalm verses in an alternatim setting[10]. Regardless of the intended function of the works, Pachelbel's writing is consistent across the spectrum of liturgical and non-liturgical music. It has to be pointed out though, that considering Pachelbel's life long tenure as church organist, the performance context of the Magnificat-fugues and the other fugues may have been the same, which on the other hand in no way diminishes the consistence of Pachelbel's fugal writing.

            If one were to construct an anatomy of the high baroque fugue, then certain key components should be included. With the inconclusiveness surrounding the idea of classifying fugue as either a form or a process, it is best to understand formal elements that entered and were maintained in the fugal praxis until the post-Bach era as part convention, and part evolution.         

            Few components of the fugue are as exhaustingly documented in treatises as the opening exposition of voices. The subject-answer protocol is well explored in the earliest comprehensive treatises beginning the 16th century until the post-Bach generation.[11] It would exhaust the limits of this paper by far to present a comprehensive summary of fugal answer practice until Pachelbel and for the purpose of this paper, only aspects of Baroque fugal answer convention directly pertaining to Pachelbel are necessary to be examined. To be clear, Pachelbel did not offer radical changes in the subject-answer protocol, his opening expositions are as a matter of fact a picture of conformity. The tonal versus real answer, as well as the prima prattica and seconda prattica conventions had been explored by the generations preceding him and practically applied and Pachelbel does not offer any new trends in the area of fugal answer theory. The same stylistic consistence that can be observed across his entire fugal oeuvre can be seen in the way he composes the opening expositions.

The two main aspects that do set Pachelbel stylistically apart from his contemporaries are his use of the codetta and his progressive choice of the interval at which the answer is placed.

First, all of Pachelbel's fugues feature in their initial exposition a brief connective contrapuntal passage, spanning the length of a half measure to up to two measures at the longest which connects the ending of the second entrance with the restatement of the third. This passage is frequently also referred to as bridge in modern theory, whereas the term codetta can be found primarily in European literature on the subject. Pachelbel's use of the bridge cannot be classified as either retrospective or progressive, but it is noteworthy that Bach maintained this convention in his fugue writing which he most certainly observed in Pachelbel's fugues as opposed to Buxtehude's fugues, which rarely feature a bridge. Once again the great consistency with which Pachelbel featured the bridge in his fugal expositions adds to his achievement of solidifying the aesthetic standard of the German fugue that the generations after him adhered to.

            The second stylistic aspect of Pachelbel's expositions, the choice of the answer interval,   however points towards the progressive, simply for the fact that Pachelbel avoids a stylistic trait of the imitative music of the late renaissance and early baroque. The imitative momentum of the fugue is derived from the basic confrontations of tonic and dominant, and it should come as no surprise to the reader that until the generation after Bach no strict convention had been established on whether this tonic dominant relationship needed to be established in any particular order. In pratice, this meant that examples of imitative works that begin with the dominant mode and progress into the tonic are as numerous as there are pieces that do the exact opposite. Until the 18th century there furthermore was no strict protocol concerning whether tonic and dominant entrances had to occur in an alternating fashion or if a pairing by mode was permissible.

            It can however be asserted, that there is something distinctly retrospective about the dominant to tonic entrance as well as the non-alternating entrances, simply by studying the opening expositions of the fugues by composers of the pre-Pachelbel generation. From Sweelinck (1591-1652) through Weckmann (1616-1674) through Buxtehude there is no consistency for the choice of interval at which the subject is answered, and more importantly especially in Sweelinck there is a great arbitrariness in choice for alternation or pairing of entrances. What can be observed is that the evolution of the fugue phased out the dominant to tonic form and was dominated by the tonic to dominant answer form following Pachelbel. Of the 120 fugues by Pachelbel, only 22 are answered at the fourth and the others are answered at the fifth.

            Much like the answer protocol, Pachelbel's subject design does not offer anything radically new. In the treatises most likely available to Pachelbel, subject design had been thoroughly discussed and put into practice by previous generations of composers, especially in the music of Wecker (1632-1695) whom Pachelbel succeeded and to whose music he was very likely exposed.[12] The spectrum of Pachelbel's subjects is however stylistically broad, ranging from angular ricercare subjects to repetitive canzona-like themes. The length of Pachelbel's subjects ranges from one to six measures. With the focus of this paper being rather how Pachelbel shaped the structure of fugue, rather than the fugue subjects of the high baroque, a detailed discussion of his subjects is not necessary at this point. [13]

            The following analysis of a representative Pachelbel fugue exposition shows the aspects discussed above in praxis:

Example 1:



The example above is taken from the collection of 19 fugues in Denkmäler der Tonkunst Bayern IV. Pachelbel's fugal style is so consistent that almost all of his fugues are representative, the Fuge 33 in C major has merely been chosen because it is of suitable proportions, as well as its inclusion in a collection that includes a piece that very likely inspired Bach's C major two-part invention.

As it can be observed, the entrances take place at alternating intervals: Tonic, Dominant, Tonic. Of particular importance is the presence of the codetta, or bridge, in m.5. The codetta in this case is of a mere connective nature, it is not modulatory, but in fact rather prolongs the dominant key area of G. The melodic material contained in the codetta is directly developed out of subject material, and one should note the fluent, natural way in which the contrapuntal thought is carried through the codetta until the reentrance of the subject in the following measure. Both parts of the codetta, tenor and alto contain material that directly flows out of subject and countersubject. The one bar length of the codetta in this particular fugue is quite representative of the average length of Pachelbel's codettas which can be as short as a beat, for instance in No. 46 or as long as two bars, such as in No. 48.

Concerning the episodes in Pachelbel's writing in comparison to Bach's use of the episode an important distinction has to be made: Once equal temperament, or Bach's personal Wohl-temperament had been established, the episode assumed an additional responsibility. With the prescribed modulatory potential of subjects rarely leading to key areas other than the dominant it is typically during episodic moments in a fugue that modulation to the other key areas takes place. the fugues in Das Wohltemperierte Clavier in particular explore a variety of key areas, which was simply not possible during Pachelbel's career. The modulatory aspect of the episodes in Bach is thus clearly a major difference between Pachelbel's use of the episode and its use in Bach's writing. With the fugue however being a linear process by design, the contrapuntal workings and textural character of the episodes in Pachelbel and Bach are of more interest for this paper than their harmonic progressions.

            It may appear contradictory to focus on the non-imitative components of an imitative form, but it is within the episodic passages that the retrospective makes way for the progressive understanding of fugue in Pachelbel. Basically put, and episode technically occurs whenever the composer chooses to alternate thematic material with a contrapuntal passage that will be of connective character, lasting until the next entrance of the subject, or thematic phase. It is however in the detail and contents of these non-thematic passages that the progressiveness of Pachelbel and the retrospection of his contemporaries comes out.

            Before a detailed analysis of Pachelbel's episodic conventions, some general observations should be made. Pachelbel's episodes are in character with the affect of the respective fugue. The texture within the episodes remains the same, no additional voices enter, nor does the texture experience any radical reduction. The contrapuntal thought is carried on until the next thematic entrance. The design of Pachelbel's fugues is a clear indicator that Pachelbel understood the fugue as continuous piece that is to flow uninterrupted from beginning to end. The episode in Pachelbel does not sectionalize the work but rather maintains the interest of the theme by preventing oversaturation.

            The motivic content of episodes in Pachelbel is often derived from subject or contra-subject material through fragmentation or permutations thereof. A Pachelbelian episode will not feature any sudden contrasts or new material that would imbalance the affect of the fugue.

Pachelbel at no time succumbs to the temptation of virtuoso display in his fugues. If virtuosity is featured at all in his fugues, then this is often contained within the subjects. This resilience of Pachelbel has possibly the following reasons: Pachelbel's contrapuntal composition had an underlying principle – the singability of lines. Michael Kube relates the majority of Pachelbel's fugue writing to this principle and he correctly remarks that "Contrast, the spectacular or virtuosity one will search in vain in his compositions."[14]

            Another reason for the maturity with which Pachelbel approached his episodic writing may certainly be contained within the earlier mentioned notion that he sought a clear distinction between the improvisatory-fantastic and imitative genres. There are Pachelbel fugues that feature somewhat distinct passages of ornamentation for which a case of textural emancipation within the fugue could be made. These are however always, without exception to be found in the final bars of the fugue, succeeding the final statement of the subject. Improvisatory material or florid runs of any kind are never interpolated between thematic sections.

            With all of the important fugue-composing contemporaries of Pachelbel having been organists by trade, one could assert the notion that the Pachelbelian episode lacks virtuosity due to a lack of virtuosity within Pachelbel's own organ playing. Pachelbel was however widely regarded as a master organist and enjoyed tremendous popularity during his lifetime. Across his career, Pachelbel occupied posts of tremendous responsibility and demand, which rules out any kind of sub par elements in his craft as an organist.[15] Pachelbel's episode design was a completely deliberate stylistic decision that directly molded the style and makeup of the episodes featured in the fugues of the generations succeeding him, namely and foremost Bach.

            To illustrate how Pachelbel's episodic writing is more progressive than that of his contemporaries of the generation immediately preceding Bach it will be helpful to observe some of the general tendencies that can be observed in the northern composers, especially those of the aforementioned Hamburg-cell. Quite in contrast to Pachelbel's tendency to not blend imitative and improvisatory elements or to avoid significant textural contrasts, the fugues of the northern school of composers preceding Bach's generation quite often used non thematic sections in fugues for textural excursions and in extreme cases somewhat aimless treble dominated meandering. In examining especially the episodes in the fugues of Buxtehude one can begin to understand the different function and meaning the episode had to Buxtehude as compared to Pachelbel. In the Buxtehudian fugue, the episode is both a primary vehicle for sectionalization and display of virtuoso technique. In Buxtehude's fugues, the textural contrasts between episodes and thematic phases can be so harsh, that a clear relationship to the sectional toccata can be observed. Willi Apel quite fittingly remarks that Buxtehude's fugues featured in the toccata and fugue pairing are basically not fugues but rather toccatas as well. [16] In direct contradiction to what can be observed in the smooth continuation of the contrapuntal texture in Pachelbel, Buxtehude appears to use the fugal passages as brief structural anchor-points in between the tirades of florid improvisation.[17] What can be observed then is almost an inversion of function as compared to the Pachelbelian episode. This difference in hierarchy of improvisatory versus imitative elements also serves to shed light on how strongly Pachelbel's and Buxtehude's understanding of fugue differ: In Buxtehude's non-self-contained fugues, which are rather fugal passages thrown in between improvisatory, virtuosic outbursts, it becomes clear that Buxtehude in no way sought out the fugue to be an emancipated product to stand on its own. To Buxtehude, fugue clearly is a process, a color on his palette that he uses for alternating the textural spectrum of his toccatas. In Pachelbel, and subsequently Bach, and thus in the quintessential high-baroque fugue quite the opposite is the case, with just the mere fact that there is agreeably a standalone genre of the high baroque fugue, despite the inconclusiveness regarding form or process.

            Marpurg's Abhandlung von der Fuge as a reference point of fugal praxis after Bach lists very clear aesthetic, and functional requirements for the episode, which is in Abhandlung… referred to as Zwischenharmonien. In detail, Marpurg has the following requirements:

§1 Sie muß also ebenfals, wie die Gegenharmonie, aus der Natur des Hauptsatzes fliessen, und mit der bereits demselben entgegen gesetzten harmonie überein kommen.[18]

Most importantly, Marpurg lists all stylistic traits and elements which should be avoided:

§2. Hieraus folgt, daß alle Passagen, die in den verschiedenen Stimmen nicht vermittelt der Nachahmung und Versetzung bequem durchgeführt warden können, alle Griffbrüche, harpegemens, Batterien, weitläufige tiraden, generalbassmäßige Sätze, allerhand buntscheckigte und in die fantastische Schreibart gehörenden figuren, Gänge mit unisonen oder Octaven, arienmäßige Wendungen und sogenannte galante Sätze daven ausgeschlossen bleiben.[19]

Regarding the motivic contents of the episodes he writes:

§3. Wo nimmt man aber die Passagen zu den Zwischensätzen her? Aus dem Haupsatze; aus der schon demselben entgegengesetzen harmonie…"

"But where does one take the passages for the episodes? From the subject; out of the countersubject…

Marpurg's comprehensive thou shalt and thou shalt not of episode construction exemplifies furthermore the position which Buxtehude as culmination of the northern school and Pachelbel as a central German composer take in the aesthetic spectrum. It almost appears as if Marpurg had been studying the episodes of both Pachelbel and Buxtehude and set their stylistic traits as the two anchor-points for his chapter. Looking at Buxtehudian episodes, one can find with surprising consistency frequent deviation from Marpurg's rules, and Pachelbel's fugues are a model of conformity to the Abhandlung von der Fuge.

            The following example, taken from a representative fugue will show that it is clearly in the Pachelbelian episode that the standard for the fugue of later generations was established.


Example 2.


The episode's melodic material is directly derived out of motivic material from the subject, marked as Motive A and later experiences some fragmentation into the sub-motive a. The motivic resourcefulness of Pachelbel creates lines which naturally grow out of the contrapuntal texture preceding the episode, and the affekt of the fugue is maintained.

Much as in the fugues of Bach, the use of sequence in combination with motivic fragmentation foreshadows the idea of Fortspinnung. The episode does not feature any embellishments or virtuoso runs as one would observe in the fugues of the northern school, every compositional maneuver is completely in tune with the overall idea of the fugue. The construction of Pachelbel's fugues is in fact so organically flowing, that a demarcation within the fugue can only be made based on thematic or non-thematic content; deliberate sectionalization as in the works of the northern school one will not find in Pachelbel.

            The sum of stylistic elements that can be observed in Pachelbel's fugues quite clearly shows how his aesthetic parameters persevered over those of the northern school. Pachelbel's fugues feature a continuous form, organically growing contrapuntal lines, a continuous texture, and metric unity. All of these traits can be observed in Bach's fugues and have found their way into Marpurg's Abhandlung. How Pachelbel's fugal style found its way into Bach's oeuvre is not as important as the manifestation of it therein. Bach consciously chose not to include the stylistic elements of the northern school in his fugues. The availability of the scores of the northern school to Bach is unquestionable, as is the fact that he was most certainly exposed to Pachelbel's music through his brother Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703) who was Pachelbel's student from 1677-78.

            The DdTB IV collection of 19 fugues contains one particular piece that bears so much resemblance with Bach's C major two-part invention, that a familiarity of Bach with the piece is almost certain:


Example 3.


            At this point, Pachelbel seems to suffer the destiny of being possibly one of the most influential but least researched fugue composers of the baroque. And the current standard literature on the topic does not offer much information on his fugal works, despite his impressive output.[20] This paper in no way attempts to belittle the achievements of the northern school, as their theoretical works drove the art of counterpoint in Germany to new heights, but rather tries to emphasize that stylistically the work of the Hamburg-cell was a dead end.

The Forkel anecdote of the young Bach's travel to hear his role-model Buxtehude may also be to blame for the tendency to connect Bach's fugal style to that of Buxtehude, but upon closer inspection the Buxtehudian fugue bears much less resemblance to the high-baroque model than that of Pachelbel. If Buxtehude was in fact a role model for Bach then it was in the area of the free, improvisatory works, where Buxtehude stands alone at the top of his generation in terms of virtuosity and output. Yet his fugal oeuvre is regarded inferior to his toccatas or choral preludes, as to him fugue was rather a light relief between strands of improvisation.

Pachelbel's fugal oeuvre may represent one of the most important stages of stylistic development of the German fugue before it was ultimately absorbed and completely overshadowed by that of Bach. Pachelbel wrote fugues at a time when the technique had been thoroughly established. There were no radical contrapuntal feats or tours de force that he embarked on. Pachelbel's fugues as a matter of fact likely feature the least use contrapuntal devices in fugues directly preceding Bach's generation. Pachelbel's main achievement is simply that of creating a genre-identity by withstanding any temptation towards the spectacular or improvisatory in favor of a pure, emancipated model of fugue.



Apel, Willi. Geschichte der Orgel und Klaviermusik bis 1700. New York: Bärenreiter, 1967.

Burkholder, Peter J., Donald Jay Grout, and Claude Palisca. A History of Western Music 8th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.

Hedar, Josef. Dietrich Buxtehude's Orgelwerke. Frankfurt: Wilhemiana, 1951.

Kube, Michael. "…daß man cantabel setzen soll." Anmerkungen zu Pachelbels Fugenstil, in: Ars Organi 40 (1992: 125 - 131.

Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Abhandlung von der Fuge. New York: Georg Olms Verlag, 1970. First Published 1753, Berlin.

Nolte, Ewald. "The Magnificat Fugues of Johann Pachelbel: Alternation or Intonation?" Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring, 1956): 19 – 24.

Pachelbel, Johannes. "Klavierwerke" in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern II, edited by Adolf Sandberger and Max Seiffert. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1901.

———. "Orgelwerke" in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern IV, edited by Max Seiffert. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1903.

———. "94 Magnificat Fugen" in Denkmäler der Tonkust in Österreich VIII, edited by Max Seiffert. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1905.

Pauly, Hans-Jakob. Die Fuge in Orgelwerken Dietrich Buxtehudes. Regensburg: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 1964.

Reincken, Johann Adam. "Suite in G Major" in Keyboard music from the Andreas Bach book and the Möller manuscript, edited by Robert Hill, 134 – 141. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Walker, Paul Mark. Theories of Fugue – From the Age of Josquin to the Age of Bach. New York: University of Rochester Press, 2000.



[1] J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude Palisca: A History of Western Music 8th ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010)

[2] Paul Mark Walker, Theories of Fugue – From the Age of Josquin to the Age of Bach (New York: University of Rochester Press, 2000)


[3] See here Zarlino (1558) through Mattheson (1739). A great summary of these treatises is given in Walker, Theories of Fugue.

[4] Until the 17th century and in some regions even thereafter, fugue typically referred to any kind of imitative construct.

[5] Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, Abhandlung von der Fuge. (Berlin: 1753)


[6] One may observe here for comparison: Gabrieli, Sweelinck, Frescobaldi.

[7] Josef Hedar, Dietrich Buxtehude's Orgelwerke (Frankfurt: Wilhemiana, 1951),151 – 154.

[8] See here also Willi Apel, Geschichte der Orgel und Klaviermusik bis 1700 (New York: Bärenreiter, 1967) ,441.

[9] Johann Adam Reincken "Suite in G Major" in Keyboard music from the Andreas Bach book and the Möller manuscript, ed. Robert Hill (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), 134 – 141.

[10] Ewald Nolte, "The Magnificat Fugues of Johann Pachelbel: Alternation or Intonation?" Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring, 1956): 24.

[11] Paul Mark Walker's Book Theories of Fugue, features great summaries of the contents of the most important treatises on fugue, ranging from the renaissance until the mid 18th century. Especially chapter 8 should be of great interest to anyone wishing to explore the subject in depth.

[12] See here also: Michael Kube, "'…daß man cantabel setzen soll.' Anmerkungen zu Pachelbels Fugenstil", in: Ars Organi 40 (1992: 125 – 131), 127.

[13] Willi Appel offers some remarks on Pachelbel's subject design in his Geschichte der Orgel und Klaviermusik bis 1700.

[14] Kube, 126.

[15]         1673, Deputy organist at Stephansdom, Vienna

            1677, Court Organist in Eisenach

            1678, Predigerkirch in Erfurt

            1695, St. Sebaldus, Nuremberg


[16] Apel, 596 writes: "…weil alle die sogenannten Preludien und Toccaten Buxtehude's in Wirklichkeit Toccaten sind, jedenfalls diesem Typus näherkommen als was man gemeinhin unter Präludium und Fuge versteht. Wir wollen sie also als Toccaten bezeichen, gleichviel wie sie in dieser oder jener Handschrift benannt sein mögen." - "…because all the so-called preludes and toccatas of Buxtehude are in fact toccatas, at least are much closer to this type than what is generally regarded as prelude and fugue. We want to therefore classify them as toccatas, regardless of what they are referred to in this or that manuscript."


[17] Ibid., 599 "…erfüllen daber doch meistens in angemessener Weise die ihnen zukommende Rolle, den freien Flug der Fantasie von Zeit zu Zeit zu unterbrechen, ihm gewissermaßen einen Stützpunkt zu bieten, von dem er sich wieder erheben kann." – "…but do fulfill in a suitable way the role that is assigned to them, to once in a while interrupt the free flight of the fantasy, to basically give it a point of support, from which it can re-ascend."


[18] "It must therefore just like the counterpoint (countersubject) flow out of the nature of the main subject, and has to fit with the counterpoint that is already set against it."


[19] "Therefore follows, that all passages, that in the various voices cannot be executed comfortable in a manner of imitation or offset, all rolls, arpeggios, block chords, long runs, figured bass like textures, all sorts of colorful figures which belong into the fantastic style of writing, lines with unisons or octaves, aria like turnarounds, and so called gallant writing shall be excluded."


[20] Walker's Fugal Theory is a thorough account of fugal theory up until the 18th century, but even here Pachelbel finds only limited mention. Willi Apel's Geschichte der Orgel und Klaviermusik bis 1700, offers the most comprehensive information on Pachelbel as a fugue composer, but does not necessarily connect him as a stylistic model to later generations.