Should I do a contrapuntal analysis of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge?

Aug 25, 2019

This has been popping in the back of my head for a while, doing a contrapuntal analysis of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, perhaps one of his best fugues outside of his symphonies. There are only 2 things that have stopped me from that. Here they are:

1) Notation of grace notes after notes gets weird in Musescore. In the case of a quarter note trill followed by 2 sixteenth grace notes, as happens in the very first phrase of the piece, the sixteenths literally overlap the quarter note, making it hard to see the quarter note.

2) Tempo, I know there are at least 3 different tempos across the entirety of the fugue. First I googled "Tempo of Grosse Fuge" and I got this average tempo value:

Yeah, literally nothing. I got some research of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge but that's it, no tempo to go off of, unlike say in my Eine Kleine Nachtmusik orchestration where, I could very easily get a tempo value and then adjust as necessary. When Google doesn't help, I look at what has been uploaded to Musescore to see if a tempo marking like quarter note = 120 shows up. This usually works, even if I have to scroll quite a ways to find it. Still nothing on the tempo of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge.

Here a few performances of it that I have listened to:

Slower than average tempo performance:


Average tempo performance:


If the grace note notation gets weird, as I predict it will in the Musescore software, I can just use regular notation and write the grace notes as if they were full blown notes and then make the noteheads of the grace notes small to give the grace note appearance. That should work, right? But the tempo changes, without having any clue as to what the tempo is, how am I going to go about getting the right tempo? Do I have to do the metronome test? Or is there another way? Also, would you want to see a contrapuntal analysis of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge?


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