augmentation

The opposite of diminution, a transformation of the subject (theme or a motive) where the note values are larger, the movement slower and the overall subject entry longer.

Extended counterpoint often transforms its primary material, a recurring subject or motive in a variety of ways. Transformations retain something of the original to maintain coherence, but, through modification, add diversity, perhaps even a new perspective on the nature of original material. For additional commonly used transformations, see inversion and diminution. These devices are not unique to fugue, but occur frequently in other compositions using imitative counterpoint including invention, and classical forms such as string quartet and symphony.

Since it slows the melody and lengthens presense, augmentation imparts to the original material a new gravity, grandeur, or, somehow, a more profound significance. This is often compounded by the effect of simultaneity when an augmented line runs in parallel with its shorter, standard form in other voices. Augmentation can be used to make the line standout against a context of strong counterpoint, especially in the case of a double fugue where it must compete with contrasting material of equal important, e.g. a second subject. Of the various transformations, augmentation is perhaps the most obvious: it always seems to stand out. It is used far less than inversion however.

Here is an example of a subject in its original and augmented from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, No. 2 in C minor:

Subject

Augmented subject

Fugues using augmentation:

Bach
Book 2 - No. 02 - C minor
Book 2 - No. 03 - C sharp major
Book 1 - No. 08 - D sharp minor
Shostakovich
Op. 87 - No. 11 - B major
Op. 87 - No. 17 - A flat major

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