Music theory: fugue writing

Course Dates: 16/01/23 - 27/03/23
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Online
Study the structure of basic fugues from the 18th century and learn to write your own fugue. This course balances analysis with practical compositional techniques. break week: 20th February 2023.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00

This course has now started

Course Code: MG449B

Started Mon, day, 16 Jan - 27 Mar '23

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

So you want to write a fugue? Learn basic procedures and study 3- and 4-part textures on this ten-week course. Be warned: practice makes perfect, so expect short but delightfully fiddly homework tasks each week that will include both analysis and practical composition tasks. You must be confident with Grade 7 theory topics for this course (although you do not need to have taken the exam).

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- basic structure and terminology of 18th century fugues
- basic analysis methods for studying fugues
- fugue writing building blocks: how to plan your subject and countersubject
- fugue writing methods: inversion, diminution, stretto etc…
- planning your fugue as a whole.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- analyse fugues using appropriate music theory terminology eg: subject, counter subject, diversionary episode
- recognise standard fugal procedures eg: inversion, diminution, stretto
- write your own 3- or 4-part fugue in a major key arranged for piano/keyboard or in open score.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Suitable for anyone with knowledge of music theory at a confident Grade 7+ standard. You will need to be able to read music fluently (treble and bass clef) and have confidence with the structure of major and minor scales and chords including 7th chords and the principles of counterpoint (e.g. you must be able to correctly label the chords in a Bach chorale using roman numerals and figured bass). Ideal for those who have already studied City Lit’s Music theory: counterpoint courses.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This is an online course:
- Sessions will be held via video-conference (zoom) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study.
- Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos, homework assignments) will be shared via Google Classroom.
- You will need to upload your homework tasks to Google Classroom to share with the tutor/class: you may work with your own music notation software (e.g. Sibelius) or simply write on manuscript paper and upload a scan (pdf or photo) of your fugue. Either way please consider how you might do this before the course begins.
- You will be encouraged to do extra reading and complete homework tasks outside class time.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

All study/example scores will be sourced from and links will be posted on google classroom for you to download your own copies. You will need to access these on your own laptop/tablet during and between classes. There will also be class handouts/notes provided in google classroom. Several textbooks will be recommended and you may wish to buy your own copies or borrow them from local libraries. Many examples will be drawn from The Examination Fugue by William Lovelock.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This course is an excellent introduction to fugue writing for anyone studying music theory at higher levels (Grade 7 and above. You may wish to progress to higher-level Music Theory classes. For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.

Karl Lutchmayer

I have spent my professional career balancing performing as a concert pianist with teaching academic music courses. I was formerly a lecturer at the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire, but have found that I enjoy teaching non-professionals far more, so a great deal of my work over the last three years has been with adult amateurs and the general public. Born to Indian parents (the name is a long story, but I and my forbears are Indian as far as records go back!), I now also spend a few months each year in India working with teachers and advanced students with the aim, ultimately, of opening India's first conservatoire. My research work has largely been in the area of 19th and 20th century performing practice, although for the last three years I have been investigating approaches to performance creativity, first at New College, Oxford, and now at Hughes Hall, Cambridge. In my spare time you may occasionally me performing as a founder member of the prog rock band, The Connoisseur.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.