Show off your theory chops with my weekly challenge! You’ll find a new question here every Monday. Please comment to post your reply.
This week’s challenge:
Below is one of Beethoven’s last and greatest utterances: the opening fugue from his C-sharp Minor String Quartet, Op. 131. The subject melody is in blue, and the answer is in red. What’s unorthodox about this fugue’s answer?
Reply to post your answer, and check back on Friday, October 15 to see if you’re right!
ANSWER for 10/11/21
This fugue’s answer is in the key of IV, the subdominant. It’s in F-sharp minor. The more standard key for an answer would be V, the dominant (G-sharp minor in this case). But by having the answer in the subdominant, Beethoven avoids a more typical emphasis on the V–I relationship. J. S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor is an even more famous example of an answer in IV instead of V.
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