Little Fugue

Little Fugue (J.S. Bach)

A lesson plan by Gary Penkala, Saint Ireneus, Oakmont, PA

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments




Sibelius 2


15 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

General background of Baroque music;
Awareness of Bach as compser

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.

NAfME 2014: Responding 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture

NAfME 2014: Connections


Computer with projection device


Study fugal form by analyzing “Fugue in g minor” by J.S. Bach by singing simple mnemonic song and leading students through a part (age-relevant) of the score in “MIDI-track” form. Develop concept of “fugue” as a “musical conversation.”


Teach (or review) the mnemonic song “This Is Called the Little Fugue by J.S. Bach.” Introduce concept of “subject” as the main melody, “countersubject” as a companion melody. Look at occurrences of subject and countersubject in a score (displayed on Sibelius). Play score as students watch, pointing out subject and countersubject as music progresses.


Can students pinpoint subject and countersubject at siht and on hearing. Have them place a visual graphic (a “PacMan-style” mouth) on the board at each occurrence.

Follow Up:

Introduce concept of “episode” as a “commercial break” from the main subject/countersubject music.

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