Toccata & Fugue: The Epitome of the Baroque Organist
The young, earnest gentleman and the hapless damsel whose car ran off the road about 100 feet down the drive creak open the massive double mahogany doors. The wind howls outside and the lad closes the door behind them. “Hello?” he calls, “Anyone home?” No response.
As they walk further into the house they hear a low grumbling noise, quieter than the wind, but too regular for the creaking of an antiquated home. The gal hugs tightly the man’s arm as they walk towards an arched door where the noise is coming from. They can make out the sounds of an organ humming and whistling the notes of a ghastly tune behind the door. The man raises his shoulders to reassure the girl, but he doesn’t know what spectral musician lies beyond those planks. He creaks the door open, seeming to push against the droning notes of the organ. As the door swings all the way open, the organist stops and spins around, his satin coat tails whirling beneath him. As he reveals his pale face, a crash of lightning, the woman screams and faints. A scene that needs not words to describe when skillfully punched out on the pipes of an organ. The familiar piece, written by the baroque composer Johannes Bach, rings out a haunting air whenever its low rumbling chords are heard. The petering melody lines flutter wildly like bats, building suspense for grand crashing resolutions. The song begins with the familiar melody on parallel notes stretching the range of the keyboard, before breaking apart dissonantly before forming back into a clean resolution. Then the voices split apart each playing a similar flourish before joining together and repeating before crashing together. The rest of the Toccata section is wrapped together with the highest voice forming melodies with the support of the droning pedal tones of the lower voices. The next fugue section starts more innocently with a pleasant minor...