Fugue in G minor, BWV 578

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Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, (popularly known as the Little Fugue), is a piece of organ music written by Johann Sebastian Bach during his years at Arnstadt (1703–1707). It is one of Bach's best known fugues and has been arranged for other voices, including an orchestral version by Leopold Stokowski.[1]

Early editors of Bach's work attached the title of "Little Fugue" to distinguish it from the later Great Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, which is longer in duration and more challenging to play.


The fugue's theme (or subject), presented in musical notation of its first 4 1/2 bars

The fugue's four-and-a-half measure subject in G minor is one of Bach's most recognizable tunes. The fugue is in four voices. During the episodes, Bach uses one of Arcangelo Corelli's most famous techniques: imitation between two voices on an eighth note upbeat figure that first leaps up a fourth and then falls back down one step at a time.[2]

In Other Music[edit]

Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton uses the beginning of the piece in the song the Red Baron from their album The Great War. The piece is transposed to C minor, and the first voice is lowered an octave relative to the second voice.


  1. ^ Kimberly Marshall, "Bach on the organ", Early Music (2008) 36 (4): 661–664. doi:10.1093/em/can100
  2. ^ Schnorr, K. [de] (2001). "Litanei und Ostinato in Bachs Passacaglia c-moll BWV 582." Anuario Musical, 0(56): 163–172, p. 167

External links[edit]