\ ˈfyüg How to pronounce fugue (audio) \

Definition of fugue

1a : a musical composition in which one or two themes are repeated or imitated by successively entering voices and contrapuntally developed in a continuous interweaving of the voice parts The organist played a four-voiced fugue.
b : something that resembles a fugue especially in interweaving repetitive elements a story that … is as rich and multilayered as a fugue— Heather Vogel Frederick
2 : a disturbed state of consciousness in which the one affected seems to perform acts in full awareness but upon recovery cannot recollect the acts performed

Other Words from fugue

fugue verb
fuguist \ ˈfyü-​gist How to pronounce fugue (audio) \ noun

Fugue and Bach

Bach and Handel composed many fugues for harpsichord and organ in which the various parts (or voices) seem to flee from and chase each other in an intricate dance. Each part, after it has stated the theme or melody, apparently flees from the next part, which takes up the same theme and sets off in pursuit. Simple rounds such as "Three Blind Mice" or "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" could be called fugues for children, but a true fugue can be long and extremely complex.

Examples of fugue in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another can take the harmony of a pop song from, say, Justin Bieber or Drake and combine it with the melody and rhythm of a fugue by Schubert or Bach, if that’s your thing. Bill Hochberg, Forbes, 29 June 2022 There was even an organ-like quality to his account of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31, particularly to the fugue in the third movement. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 25 Apr. 2022 Hebrew Prayer features the complete music of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor – considered the greatest work in the choral repertoire and featuring many early music styles such as Italianate Baroque, German fugue, and Polonaise. Hartford Courant, 21 Apr. 2022 The first play is built around a Bach fugue, which DeBoard described as melodic and cohesive in style. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2022 Sri spent the next days in a knotted fugue of grief, grappling with the paradox that Mama was everywhere and nowhere. Noy Thrupkaew, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2021 For Bartók, the universe is a structural masterpiece to be represented in the fugue and dance. Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2022 Tawada has always had a talent for ventriloquizing eccentrics, following singular minds through fugue and limbo. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 Camille Gardener lives in a fugue state of grief since her only child, Emily, was murdered five years ago, after the 15-year-old attended a fraternity party at an upstate New York college. Oline H. Cogdill, sun-sentinel.com, 25 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fugue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fugue

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fugue

probably from Italian fuga flight, fugue, from Latin, flight, from fugere

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Dictionary Entries Near fugue



fuguing tune

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Last Updated

9 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fugue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fugue. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for fugue


\ ˈfyüg How to pronounce fugue (audio) \

Medical Definition of fugue

: a disturbed state of consciousness in which the one affected seems to perform acts in full awareness but upon recovery cannot recollect them

More from Merriam-Webster on fugue

Nglish: Translation of fugue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fugue


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