Definition of countersubject in US English:



  • A second or subsidiary subject, especially accompanying the subject or its answer in a fugue.

    • ‘There remains one composition by Buxtehude, a canzonetta in A minor that is clearly similar to the opening of the first fugue of the A major toccata in both the shape and treatment of its subject and countersubject.’
    • ‘Normally there is a dynamic interplay between subject and countersubject in a fugue, but here the energy is concentrated in the subject, with the countersubject limply shadowing it in thirds and sixths.’
    • ‘Additional counterpoint is called ‘free’, but such material may be restated in an identical form, as if it were a second countersubject.’
    • ‘He excelled the skills even of Frescobaldi in the manipulation of fugal devices such as countersubject, stretto and sustained pedalpoint.’
    • ‘In both pieces a fugue follows without a break and the fugue is created by stating the subject at the tonic and the fifth, with little in the way of a countersubject.’