Find the word definition



In music, a fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (a musical theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and which recurs frequently in the course of the composition. A fugue usually has three sections: an exposition, a development, and a final entry that contains the return of the subject in the fugue's tonic key. Some fugues have a recapitulation. In the Middle Ages, the term was widely used to denote any works in canonic style; by the Renaissance, it had come to denote specifically imitative works. Since the 17th century, the term fugue has described what is commonly regarded as the most fully developed procedure of imitative counterpoint.

Most fugues open with a short main theme, the subject, which then sounds successively in each voice (after the first voice is finished stating the subject, a second voice repeats the subject at a different pitch, and other voices repeat in the same way); when each voice has entered, the exposition is complete. This is often followed by a connecting passage, or episode, developed from previously heard material; further "entries" of the subject then are heard in related keys. Episodes (if applicable) and entries are usually alternated until the "final entry" of the subject, by which point the music has returned to the opening key, or tonic, which is often followed by closing material, the coda. In this sense, a fugue is a style of composition, rather than a fixed structure.

The form evolved during the 18th century from several earlier types of contrapuntal compositions, such as imitative ricercars, capriccios, canzonas, and fantasias. The famous fugue composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) shaped his own works after those of Johann Jakob Froberger (1616–1667), Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706), Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643), Dieterich Buxtehude (c. 1637–1707) and others. With the decline of sophisticated styles at the end of the baroque period, the fugue's central role waned, eventually giving way as sonata form and the symphony orchestra rose to a dominant position. Nevertheless, composers continued to write and study fugues for various purposes; they appear in the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), as well as modern composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975).

Fugue (magazine)

Fugue is an American literary magazine based out of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. The journal was founded in 1990 under the editorship of J.C. Hendee. It publishes fiction, essays and poetry twice each year.

Fugue (film)

Fugue is a 2010 psychological thriller directed by Barbara Stepansky and written by Matt Harry. The film stars Abigail Mittel as a young woman who moves into a new house with her boyfriend ( Richard Gunn) and comes to believe her new home is haunted. But when she discovers the last eight months have been erased from her memory, she must unearth what caused the condition before the past destroys her present.

Fugue (disambiguation)

A fugue is a type of musical piece, as in ' Toccata and Fugue in D minor' by J.S. Bach.

Fugue may also refer to:

  • Fugues (magazine) for the Canadian gay magazine
  • Fugue (magazine) for the United States literary journal
  • Fugue state, a psychological term
  • Fugue (hash function), a cryptographic hash function
  • Fugue State Press, a small New York City literary publisher
  • Fuging tune, a variety of Anglo-American vernacular choral music
  • "Fugue", a song by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on their album Trilogy
  • Füge, the Hungarian name for Figa village, Beclean town, Bistriţa-Năsăud County, Romania
  • Fuge or Feudge, a surname found in England
  • Dr. Frederique Fugue, a fictional character from the children's animated series Arthur

Fugue (hash function)

Fugue is a cryptographic hash function submitted by IBM to the NIST hash function competition. It was designed by Shai Halevi, William E. Hall, and Charanjit S. Jutla. Fugue takes an arbitrary-length message and compresses it down to a fixed bit-length (either 224, 256, 384 or 512 bits). The hash functions for the different output lengths are called Fugue-224, Fugue-256, Fugue-384 and Fugue-512. The authors also describe a parametrized version of Fugue. A weak version of Fugue-256 is also described using this parameterized version.

The selling point of Fugue is the authors' claimed proof that a wide range of current attack strategies based on differential cryptanalysis cannot be efficient against Fugue. It is also claimed to be competitive with the NIST hash function SHA-256 in both software and hardware efficiency, achieving up to 36.2 cycles per byte on an Intel Family 6 Model 15 Xeon 5150, and up to 25 cycles per byte on an Intel Core 2 processor T7700. On 45 nm Core2 processors, e.g. T9400, Fugue-256 runs at 16 cycles per byte using SSE4.1 instructions. On the newer Westmere architectures (32 nm), e.g. Core i5, Fugue-256 runs at 14 cycles/byte.

Fugue's design starts from the hash function Grindahl, and like Grindahl uses the S-box from AES, but it replaces the 4×4 column mixing matrix with a 16×16 "super-mix" operation which greatly improves diffusion. The "super-mix" operation is, however, only slightly more computationally expensive to implement than the AES mixing strategy.

The Collaborative International Dictionary


Fugue \Fugue\, n. [F., fr. It. fuga, fr. L. fuga a fleeing, flight, akin to fugere to fiee. See Fugitive.] (Mus.) A polyphonic composition, developed from a given theme or themes, according to strict contrapuntal rules. The theme is first given out by one voice or part, and then, while that pursues its way, it is repeated by another at the interval of a fifth or fourth, and so on, until all the parts have answered one by one, continuing their several melodies and interweaving them in one complex progressive whole, in which the theme is often lost and reappears.

All parts of the scheme are eternally chasing each other, like the parts of a fugue.
--Jer. Taylor.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary


type of musical composition, 1590s, fuge, from Italian fuga, literally "flight," also "ardor," from Latin fuga "a running away, act of fleeing," from fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)). Current English spelling (1660s) is from the French version of the Italian word. \nA Fugue is a composition founded upon one subject, announced at first in one part alone, and subsequently imitated by all the other parts in turn, according to certain general principles to be hereafter explained. The name is derived from the Latin word fuga, a flight, from the idea that one part starts on its course alone, and that those which enter later are pursuing it.

["Fugue," Ebenezer Prout, 1891]

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


▪ All three suites contain a fugue, while there is a chaconne in the Second and a passacaglia to end the Third.
▪ But how dull a poorly constructed fugue can be.
▪ But you can not go from the reed-pipe to the art of fugue in one day.
▪ He is a grammarian, a swordsman, a musician with a predilection for the fugue.
▪ In the fugue, at once elated and exhausting, Mullova was staggering technically.
▪ Now he was out of his Richie Quick fugue, he seemed to have a perspective on the City.


  1. n. dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who who they are and leaves home to creates a new life; during the fugue there is no memory of the former life; after recovering there is no memory for events during the dissociative state [syn: psychogenic fugue]

  2. a dreamlike state of altered consciousness that may last for hours or days

  3. a musical form consisting of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below its first statement



n. 1 (context music English) A contrapuntal piece of music wherein a particular melody is played in a number of voices, each voice introduced in turn by playing the melody. 2 Anything in literature, poetry, film, painting, etc., that resembles a fugue in structure or in its elaborate complexity and formality.

Usage examples of "fugue".

I know that life is andante and presto and adagio, all entwined, a fugue of sorts, the promise and the sadness often separated by mere moments, tragedy and serenity not nearly so discrete as I once believed.

When they did start talking again de Bono began to parade his knowledge of the Fugue, more for the pleasure of belittling his fellow traveller than out of any genuine desire to inform.

And the cetic arts: hallning, zazen, meditation, fugue and the interface with the cybernetic spaces.

He, the troubled, nervous, modern man, wrote with fluency fugues and double fugues, chaconnes and passacaglie, concerti grossi and variations.

Just as Mister Chicago predicted, a handful of deadheads came out of their fugue with their minds severely impaired, their personalities little changed from the way they had been before they were taken off the drugs.

If anything, his playing grew more insistent, more convoluted, evolving into the didgeridoo equivalent of a fugue.

As in the development of a fugue, where, when the subject and counter subject have been enounced, there must henceforth be nothing new, and yet all must be new, so throughout organic life - which is as a fugue developed to great length from a very simple subject - everything is linked on to and grows out of that which comes next to it in order - errors and omissions excepted.

A second point: Whereas a Bach fugue cannot do without any one of its voices, we can easily imagine the Hanna Wendling short story or the essay on the disintegration of values as separate, freestanding texts whose deletion would cost the novel none of its meaning or intelligibility.

The difficulty of satisfying the constraints of variation within the bravura of overture or the rigor of fugue is considerable.

In the direction of the musically elaborative element we have the schools of the Netherlands and of Italy, in which absolutely everything of this kind was realized which modern art can show, saving perhaps the fugue, which involved questions of tonality belonging to a grade of taste and harmonic perception more advanced and refined than that as yet attained.

They use the words counterpoint, fugue, symphony, oratorio, polyphony, the mode of Beethoven, the orchestration of Mahler, but their essential point is that, like a musician, the novelist seized time and reconstructed it according to his own laws, which were very close to those of orchestral music.

He, the troubled, nervous, modern man, wrote with fluency fugues and double fugues, chaconnes and passacaglie, concerti grossi and variations.

He writes fugues for organs and sonatas for violin solo under the influence of Bach, concerti grossi under the influence of Haendel, variations under that of Mozart, sonatas under that of Brahms.

It is not that fugues and concerti in the olden style cannot be written to-day, that modern music and the antique forms are incompatible.

In the spring of 1883 he began to compose music, and in 1885 we published together an album of minuets, gavottes, and fugues.