A polyphonic composition, developed from a given theme or themes, according to strict contrapuntal rules. The theme is first given out by one voice or part, and then, while that pursues its way, it is repeated by another at the interval of a fifth or fourth, and so on, until all the parts have answered one by one, continuing their several melodies and interweaving them in one complex progressive whole, in which the theme is often lost and reappears.
(a late 16th century term coming from the Latin word "flight") a highly developed contrapuntal form, in which the subject (theme) is first stated, then imitated in all parts, the first (and third, etc.) imitation being the "answer", usually in or at the dominant (at the fifth above or fourth below). The subject is then used throughout the fugue as a source of musical development, the subject varied with accompanying contrapuntal lines. [JAS, LF
A contrapuntal piece of music for a given number of voices, in which the voices enter successively in imitation of each other, the most famous operatic example is the great comic fugue Tutto nel mondo è burla which ends Verdi's Falstaff.