Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





William Rothstein

Committee Members

Mark Anson-Cartwright

Geoffrey Burleson

L. Poundie Burstein

Subject Categories

Music Theory


Fugue, Saint-Saëns, Fugue d'école, Form


Drawing on the treatises of Cherubini (1835), Dubois (1901), and Gedalge (1901), this dissertation examines the relation between the fugue d’école and Saint-Saëns’s compositional practices with reference to his fugal works for piano and organ and sets out to answer the question: To what extent are the formal and tonal structures of Saint-Saëns’s fugues determined by the organizational conventions associated with the fugue d’école? While the scholastic fugue has been described as an artificial construct, this study argues that this tripartite model, with its variants and subtypes, can be considered as the parent model for most fugues composed during the nineteenth century. After outlining Saint-Saëns’s acquaintance not only with the scholastic tradition, but also with Bach’s compositional practices, the first chapter establishes the theoretical background to the study, building on the normative components that determine the stereotypical fugue d’école as presented in the aforementioned treatises. Chapter 2 presents a comprehensive discussion of fugal form in the wider context of the genre from the late nineteenth century to the present. Chapter 3 is devoted to a series of analyses organized around issues of design and structure in selected Saint-Saëns’s keyboard fugues from his opp. 52, 90, 99, 109, 111, and 161. The fourth and last chapter considers the implications of the previous analyses for developing a theory of fugal form and speculates on the broader applicability of this theory, using it to analyze keyboard fugues by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century composers.

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