Prelude, pop tune and fugue

by Erkki Salmenhaara

Empty sheet

Erkki Salmenhaara

Prelude, pop tune and fugue

Fennica Gehrman


Prelude, Pop Tune and Fugue for solo flute was composed in 1967 as a commission from Samtida Musik, the Swedish society for contemporary music. In part at least, the context provided the impulse for replacing the Adagio in the Bachian conception of Prelude–Adagio–Fugue with a pop tune: contemporary music lovers are fonder of melodies than lovers of modern music — this is said in the spirit of Erik Satie!

More seriously: a piece for a monodic instrument is in effect a long, long melody — even if harmony and polyphony are implied. It was Bach himself who created the unsurpassable ideal for this type of composition and, deeply conscious of this, I quote in the fugue of Bach’s themes from Die Kunst der Fuge.

Prelude, Pop Tune and Fugue is one of the very first works in a style that has been called neo-tonal, a style that developed in the middle of the 1960s after a radical youthful period — a style that in my own personal view is at least equally radical. After writing tunes is — or at least was — strictly forbidden.

© Erkki Salmenhaara




Works for Solo Instrument


Sanfrid Schön, Stockholm, March 31, 1968.

Commisioned by / dedications

Commissioned by Samtida Musik, Stockholm.

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