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The earliest extant source of the work is an autograph manuscript[2] of the early 1740s, containing 12 fugues and 2 canons. This autograph is typically referred to by its call number of P200 in the Berlin State Library. Three manuscripts for pieces that would appear in the revised edition were bundled with P200 at some point before its acquisition by the library.

The revised version was published in May 1751, slightly less than a year after Bach’s death. In addition to changes in the order, notation, and material of pieces which appeared in the autograph, it contained 2 new fugues, 2 new canons, and 3 pieces of ostensibly spurious inclusion. A second edition was published in 1752, but differed only in its addition of a preface by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg.

In spite of its revisions, the printed edition of 1751 contained a number of glaring editorial errors. The majority of these may be attributed to Bach’s relatively sudden death in the midst of publication. Three pieces were included that do not appear to have been part of Bach’s intended order: an unrevised (and thus redundant) version of the second double fugue, Contrapunctus X; a two-keyboard arrangement[3] of the first mirror fugue, Contrapunctus XIII; and a chorale harmonizationVor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit” (“Herewith I come before Thy Throne”), derived from BWV 668a, and noted in the introduction to the edition as a recompense for the work’s incompleteness, having purportedly been dictated by Bach on his deathbed.

The anomalous character of the published order and the Unfinished Fugue have engendered a wide variety of theories which attempt to restore the work to the state originally intended by Bach.

Structure

The Art of Fugue is based on a single subject:

"<brwhich each canon and fugue employs in some variation.

The work divides into seven groups, according to each piece’s prevailing contrapuntal device; in both editions, these groups and their respective components are generally ordered to increase in complexity. In the order in which they occur in the printed edition of 1751 (without the aforementioned works of spurious inclusion), the groups, and their components are as follows.

  • Contrapunctus I: 4-voice fugue on principal subject
  • Contrapunctus II: 4-voice fugue on principal subject, accompanied by a ‘French’ style dotted rhythm
  • Contrapunctus III: 4-voice fugue on principal subject in inversion, employing intense chromaticism
  • Contrapunctus IV: 4-voice fugue on principal subject in inversion, employing counter-subjects

Counter-fugues, in which the subject is used simultaneously in regular, inverted, augmented, and diminished forms:

  • Contrapunctus V: Has many stretto entries, as do Contrapuncti VI and VII
  • Contrapunctus VI, a 4 in Stylo Francese: This adds both forms of the theme in diminution,[4] (halving note lengths), with little rising and descending clusters of semiquavers in one voice answered or punctuated by similar groups in demisemiquavers in another, against sustained notes in the accompanying voices. The dotted rhythm, enhanced by these little rising and descending groups, suggests what is called “French style” in Bach’s day, hence the name Stylo Francese.[5]
  • Contrapunctus VII, a 4 per Augmentationem et Diminutionem: Uses augmented (doubling all note lengths) and diminished versions of the main subject and its inversion.

Double and triple fugues, employing two and three subjects respectively:

  • Contrapunctus VIII, a 3: Triple fugue, with three subjects, having independent expositions
  • Contrapunctus IX, a 4 alla Duodecima: Double fugue, with two subjects occurring dependently, and in invertible counterpoint at the 12th
  • Contrapunctus X, a 4 alla Decima: Double fugue, with two subjects occurring dependently, and in invertible counterpoint at the 10th
  • Contrapunctus XI, a 4: Triple fugue, employing the three subjects of Contrapunctus VIII in inversion

Mirror fugues, in which a piece is notated once and then with voices and counterpoint completely inverted, without violating contrapuntal rules or musicality:

  • Contrapunctus XII, a 4
  • Contrapunctus XIII, a 3

Canons, labeled by interval and technique:

  • Canon per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu: Canon in which the following voice is both inverted and augmented.
  • Canon alla Ottava: Canon in imitation at the octave
  • Canon alla Decima in Contrapunto alla Terza: Canon in imitation at the tenth
  • Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta: Canon in imitation at the twelfth

The Unfinished Fugue:

  • Fuga a 3 Soggetti (“Contrapunctus XIV”): 4-voice triple fugue (not completed by Bach, but likely to have become a quadruple fugue: see below), the third subject of which begins with the BACH motif, B – A – C – B (‘H’ in German letter notation).

Both exist.  The interface between the public and private sectors of society need to be closely monitored, as the potential for nefarious ‘deep state’ activities is quite real.

 

(Rebecca Gordon writing for Tom’s Dispatch writes) “McLaughlin told National Public Radio’s Greg Myre and Rachel Treisman that he had received some “blowback” from his joke, and added:

“I think it’s a silly idea. There is no ‘deep state.’ What people think of as the ‘deep state’ is just the American civil service, social security, the people who fix the roads, health and human services, Medicare.”

I’ll give one cheer for that kind of deep state: not a secret, extra-official shadow government, but the actual workings of government itself for the benefit of the people it’s meant to serve. Personally, I’m all for people who devote their lives to making sure our food is as safe as possible, the cars we drive won’t kill us, our planes stay up in the air, and roads and railways are built and maintained to connect us, not to speak of having clean air and water, public schools and universities to educate our young people, and a social security system to provide a safety net for people of my age — all of which, by the way, is in danger from this president, his administration, and the Republican party.

But there’s another way of thinking about the deep state, one that suggests an ongoing threat not to Donald Trump and his pals but to this democracy and the world. I’m thinking, of course, of that vast — if informal, complex, and sometimes internally competitive — consortium composed of the industries and government branches that make up what President Dwight Eisenhower famously called the “military-industrial complex.” This was exactly the “state” that I think President Obama encountered when he decided to shut down the George W. Bush-era CIA torture program and found that the price for compliance was a promise not to prosecute anyone for crimes committed in the so-called war on terror. January 2009 was, as he famously said, a time to “look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

Here is Mike Lofgren, a long-time civil servant and aide to many congressional Republicans, writing in 2014 about that national security machine for BillMoyers.com. In “Anatomy of the Deep State,” he described the power and reach of this apparatus in chilling terms:

“There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol…

“Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”

Lofgren was not describing “a secret, conspiratorial cabal.” Rather, he was arguing that “the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day.” This has certainly been the experience of those who have, in particular, opposed U.S. military adventures abroad. They discover that many of the lies, deceptions, and crimes of that “state within a state” are openly there for all to see and are being committed in the equivalent of broad daylight with utter impunity.”

As always, we in our democracies need to be vigilant and aware of the potential for collusion and skullduggery and do our best to make sure terrible things do not happen in our name.

 

 

 

 

This is going to be one of my choir’s first body percussion songs. Memorizing is challenging, but adding actions and neat stuff happening on the off-beats…well…its next level stuff. When it gets all together though, it will be amazing. :)

Is the cost of embracing the reality of our existence sadness and misery?  These are excerpts from an insightful essay found over at Aeon magazine by Julie Reshe. I would recommend you follow the link and go read the full essay, as Reshe’s writing and conclusions she has reached seem to be quite compelling.

For instance, this passage eloquently speaks to the emotional fracture I felt back in 2018 when my wife decided to end our long term relationship and marriage.  It’s like, ‘whoa, right there with you Julie’…

 

“The reason for my depression was a breakup. But what led to depression was not so much the reaction to our split, but the realisation that the one you believed loved you, who was closest to you and promised to be with you forever, had turned out to be someone else, a stranger indifferent to your pain. I discovered that this loving person was an illusion. The past became meaningless, and the future ceased to exist. The world itself wasn’t credible any more.”

[…]

 

“Although the depression following my breakup doesn’t rise to the level of existential angst, it was the strongest perspective-shifting experience of my life. It irreversibly changed and traumatised me at the core of my being, and I am now generally sadder and more withdrawn than I used to be.

Alas, what if this is the cost of losing our illusions and learning infinitely more about reality itself? We might be getting there. Some studies suggest that existential suffering and mental distress is rising worldwide, but particularly in modern Western culture. Perhaps we chase happiness precisely because it is no longer attainable?

The vicious cycle in which we find ourselves – the endless pursuit of happiness and the impossibility of its attainment – hurts us only more. Perhaps the way out is actually accepting our raised level of consciousness. In our melancholy depths, we find that superficial states of happiness are largely a way not to be alive. Mental health, positive psychology and dominant therapy modalities such as CBT all require that we remain silent and succumb to our illusions until we die.

In closing, I must address you, my dear reader. I realise that, as you were reading this essay, you must have experienced a ‘yes, but…’ reaction. (‘Yes, life is horrible, but there are so many good things too.’) This ‘but’ is an automatic response to negative, horrifying insights. Once exposed to these forces, our positive defence mechanisms kick in. I myself was caught in the drill while writing this essay (and pretty much during the rest of my life). Without this protective measure, we would all probably be dead already, having most likely succumbed to suicide for relief.

A small proposal of mine would be to explore disillusionment and refuge from positivity as a new space to experience life, hopefully before a suicidal reaction follows. Next time, before you plunge into alcohol, or make appeals to loved ones, friends, psychotherapists or to any other of the many life-affirming practices, remember that almost all constructions of meaning – from work to sport to opening our hearts to Jesus – are inherently illusory. An alternative to running away from life through illusion is to explore an illusion-free space for as long as possible, so as to become more capable of bearing the reality of a disillusioned and concrete life. If successful, you’ll free yourself from your faux-positivity and your chains.

In the end, of course, we might not be able to liberate ourselves, either from suffering or from illusions. Life is hell, and it looks as though no heaven awaits us, to top it off. This, in itself, might be a path to liberation since, after all, we have nothing to lose.”

Age old question really, ignorant and happy or informed and discontent?  Which is better?

 

 

 

The American people do not have an appetite for war and the suffering it causes.  The same cannot be said about those who directly benefit when tensions rise and the likelihood of war increases.  The arms industry and their associated lobby are firmly on board with the idea that adding another disastrous imperial venture to the already overloaded table of lost wars and failed rearguard actions would be a good thing.

 

“Experts predict as many as a million people could die if the current tensions lead to a full-blown war. Millions more would become refugees across the Middle East, while working families across the U.S. would bear the brunt of our casualties.

But there is one set of people who stand to benefit from the escalation of the conflict: CEOs of major U.S. military contractors.

This was evident in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian military official on January 2. As soon as the news reached financial markets, these companies’ share prices spiked.

Wall Street traders know that a war with Iran would mean more lucrative contracts for U.S. weapons makers. Since top executives get much of their compensation in the form of stock, they benefit personally when the value of their company’s stock goes up.

I took a look at the stock holdings of the CEOs at the top five Pentagon contractors (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman).

Using the most recent available data, I calculated that these five executives held company stock worth approximately $319 million just before the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani. By the stock market’s closing bell the following day, the value of their combined shares had increased to $326 million.

War profiteering is nothing new. Back in 2006, during the height of the Iraq War, I analyzed CEO pay at the 34 corporations that were the top military contractors at that time. I found that their pay had jumped considerably after the September 11 attacks.

Between 2001 and 2005, military contractor CEO pay jumped 108 percent on average, compared to a 6 percent increase for their counterparts at other large U.S. companies.

Congress needs to take action to prevent a catastrophic war on Iran. De-escalating the current tensions is the most immediate priority.”

The negligent spreading ‘peace & democracy’ in foreign lands is a supremely profitable venture.

Funny how that works.

 

 

  It would be strangely terrible if the beginning of humanities decline was prefaced with something known as the “Big Burp”.  The methane in the arctic is a super green house gas, and if the facts are correct, it is going to over salt our soup sooner than later.

 

“Wadhams puts to rest the common criticism by many in the scientific community that say not to worry about ESAS starting a bout of dangerous runaway global warming (RGW) because subsea methane deposits oxidize and dissolve in the seawater as released and never make it into the upper atmosphere, to wit: “The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is exceptionally shallow — more than 75 per cent of its entire area of 2.1 million square kilometres is shallower than 40 metres — so most of the methane gas avoids oxidation in the water column and is released into the atmosphere.” (Wadhams, pg. 123)

With ESAS getting more and more active as of recent, it is important to evaluate the risks of further breakout. For example, Wadhams says that Natalia Shakova, the leading expert on ESAS, believes it contains up to 700 GT of CH4. The risk is rapid release, a big burp of 8% of the deposit or 50GT, which, in turn, would crank up worldwide temperatures by 0.6°C over two years. This would have an extremely negative impact on the overall global climate system with unknown but likely horrific results as temps crank up to, or beyond, the IPCC danger zone of 2°C much sooner than anybody expects. Wadhams believes this is society’s biggest climate threat because at 2°C above pre-industrial crop yields start going down, very rapidly. An ESAS big burp would do the job.

The risk of an ESAS methane big burp alone should be enough of a threat to motivate global governments to call an emergency meeting at the UN to do whatever it takes to halt excessive greenhouse gas emissions on a worldwide basis as soon as possible.”

 

What a time to be alive!

 

 

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