Goldberg Variations, BWV 988


Kleine Präludien 1 BWV 926

Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (original title Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,often shortened to Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann) is a collection of smaller compositions Bach put together as an aid in the teaching of his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach . The piece is written for various keyboard instruments , mainly clavichord and harpsichord .

Inventio 4 BWV 775

Inventio 8 BWV 779

Inventio 13 BWV 784

Inventio 14 BWV 785

The Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772–801, also known as the Two- and Three-Part Inventions, are a collection of thirty short keyboard compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): 15 inventions, which are 2-part contrapuntal pieces, and 15 sinfonias, which are 3-part contrapuntal pieces. They were originally written as musical exercises for his students.

Bach titled the collection:

Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only (1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition.

The two groups of pieces are both arranged in order of ascending key, each group covering eight major and seven minor keys.

The inventions were composed in Köthen; the sinfonias, on the other hand, were probably not finished until the beginning of the Leipzig period.

WTC Book 1 – Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C major BWV 846

WTC Book 1 – Prelude No. 2 in C minor BWV 847

WTC Book 1 – Prelude and Fugue No.16 in G minor, BWV 861

The Well-Tempered Clavier (German: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier), BWV 846–893, is a collection of solo keyboard music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. He gave the title to a book of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, dated 1722, composed "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study". Bach later compiled a second book of the same kind, dated 1742, with the title Twenty-four Preludes and Fugues. The two works are now considered to make up a single work, The Well-Tempered Clavier, or "the 48", and are referred to as The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I and The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II respectively. This collection is generally regarded as being among the most influential works in the history of Western classical music.

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826

The Six Partitas (BWV 825–830) were the first of a series of works for keyboard instruments that Bach published under the general title of Clavier-Übung (Keyboard Practice). With them Bach effectively engraved his name in the long and proud tradition of German composers. J.N. Forkel describes it’s the impact which the partitas had in the world in his pioneering biography of Bach (1802):

“This work caused quite a sensation among his contemporaries in the world of music; such splendid keyboard compositions had never previously been seen or heard. Whoever learnt to perform any of these pieces to a high standard could make his fortune in the world”.

Bach’s contemporaries such as J. Mattheson (1731), J.C. Gottsched (1732) and L.C. Mitzler (1738) seem to agree with Forkel, particularly on the second point—the extreme technical demands. It was the time when keyboards—in particular the clavichord, spinet and harpsichord—had become the favourite family instruments among the growing number of middle-class amateur musicians. For them, suites like these were valued highly, except perhaps by some less technically-competent amateurs who might have considered Bach’s virtuosic writing off-putting. Whether the technical demands were due to Bach’s unwillingness to compromise for the sake of art or whether he was deliberately demonstrating his compositional powers, it is difficult to tell. What is certain is that, for Bach, the Six Partitas had a special significance for his career at this particular point in time.

WTC Book 2 - Prelude and Fugue No. 12 in F minor, BWV 881 

The prelude is 70 bars long, and is written in theme and variations form. The theme is 28 bars long and written in binary form. It is followed by several variations in different keys, and ends with a variation in the home key. Below is the opening sentence of the prelude:


The first four measures of this sentence has two voices leading the melody in thirds, and another voice leading the bass line. After four measures, only two voices continue. One voice plays the root of a chord, while the second voice plays a broken chord around it. This continues like so for another four measures, and ends with an imperfect cadence. After this, the sentence is repeated, except modulating to Eâ™­ major at one point and ending on a perfect cadence. Together, these two sentences create a compound period, and the first part of a small binary.

Following the compound period, the second part of the small binary starts. It consists of one voice playing broken chords and two other voices leading a melody, and is eight measures long. A perfect cadence in Aâ™­ major concludes the small binary, and thus ending the theme of the prelude.

The prelude ends with a two-measure codetta, which consists of a perfect cadence in the home key.

The fugue is 85 bars long, and is written for 3 voices. Below is the 4-measure subject of the fugue:


Just like most fugues in the baroque period, the subject is then repeated in the middle voice in the dominant key (C minor), and then repeated once more in the lowest voice, again in the home key. This final repetition of the subject is followed a small episode that consists of a descending fifths sequence. This is followed by the development of the fugue, which has many additional repetitions of the subject in various voices and keys, and occasionally episodes with the same descending fifths sequence as before in between. After the final repetition of the subject in the tonic key, the descending fifths episode is repeated as a codetta, which concludes the fugue.