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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Piano Sheet Music to Download and Print or to View in Mobile Devices
Johann Sebastian Bach :
Goldberg Variations
Goldberg Variations   in G Major by Bach piano sheet music
Key: G Major Published: 1741
Level: 8+ Period: Baroque
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext (1310 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: Scanned score (6431 kB)

The relentlessly intricate architecture of the Goldberg Variations still engage scholars after hundreds of years, while the soothing, noble poetry and formidable technical demands of the piece continue to captivate players and listeners.

A number of legendary performances of this monumental work have been recorded on piano as well as on harpsichord and organ - two of the most popular and highly regarded ones were recorded on the piano by Glenn Gould in 1955 and 1981.

Bach wrote the work with a two-manual harpsichord in mind, which makes the challenge for the pianist even greater – the many hand-crossings, possibly inspired by Scarlatti’s keyboard music, is much easier to perform on two manuals.

Johann Nicolaus Forkel wrote in his Bach biography (1802) that the Variations had been commissioned by the Russian Ambassador to Saxony Count Kaiserling, who suffered from insomnia. Goldberg was a young musician, who according to Forkel’s (probably spurious) version of events, was supposed to play from the Variations during the Count’s sleepless nights to cheer him up a little.

Rather than just varying the melody of the Aria, the thirty variations are built upon its bass line. Every third variation is a canon at increasing intervals, except the final, thirtieth variation, a so-called quodlibet, mixing a number of popular tunes - including one that goes "Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, had my mother cooked meat, I'd have opted to stay". After this the heavenly Aria with its elusive beauty returns to close the work.

Members who like this piece have also downloaded:

Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - BWV 147 in G Major:

Beethoven - Für Elise - in A Minor:

Debussy - Clair de Lune (moonlight) - No. 3 in D-flat Major:

Chopin - Fantaisie-Impromptu - Op. 66 in C-sharp Minor:

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Posts in the piano forum about this piece by :

xx Goldberg variation 1 complete fingering.
May 22, 2011, 09:01:47 PM by mikejmck

anybody know the proper fingering for this piece?

xx Goldberg variations
May 21, 2011, 09:40:22 PM by sxsx

I recently started trying to play Bachs goldberg variations, and I am mostly interested in variations 1 and 3, but it is insanely hard for me.
I have just a little more than 1 year of piano lessons, and I am not having lessons right now.
Should I just continue trying or this is omsething only for more experienced players ?

xx Goldberg Variation: Two Keyboard Variations
May 18, 2011, 10:06:41 PM by aeryck

Does anyone have suggestions for a playable approach to these crossing hands variations in the Goldberg where notes are quickly (and seemingly impossibly) repeated?

xx Aria (Goldberg) and Nuages Gris
February 13, 2011, 07:31:10 PM by fred792k


I'm quite new to a piano, half a year so far.
My repertoire consists of

Of Foreign Lands and People
Chopin prelude 7
Chopin Largo E-flat major
Bach prelude C major
Moonlight Sonata mvt. 1.

The next pieces I'm looking at is Goldberg Variations "Aria", and Liszt's Nuages gris. I can play a minute of each of them so far, but am I good enough to finish them both?

xx Favorite Goldberg Variation?
August 07, 2010, 12:31:18 AM by extremelyfatchicken

what is your favorite variation in Bach's goldberg variations?

xx I'd love to to see someone's RH fingering for Goldberg Variation 6
May 02, 2010, 02:27:16 AM by dtmowns

Hello, I am having trouble with the RH part of the 2nd Canon, I would be eternally greatful if someone sent me their RH fingering for the first Half.


xx Ideas on fingering for the end of the first half of Goldberg Var 3 (RH)
January 17, 2010, 04:23:45 AM by dtmowns

Hello, I was wondering what different fingerings you guys used for the last Treble Clef Measure of the first Half of Var. 3 ; specifically the first B (under the tied D)


xx Help with Kirkpatrick edition of Goldberg Variations
January 02, 2010, 09:37:36 AM by dtmowns

Hello, I've noticed that in this edition, in his modified scores above the original text, sometimes he transposes and flips things to different clefs etc.... but I don't understand sometimes they are actually different notes!

For instance look at page 22 (Variation eight) Bar 20 and see if you can make sense if the alternate text above the original, the notes don't match!

Forgive my ignorance...as I am sure there is an explanation

xx Goldberg Variation no 1
June 10, 2009, 01:06:26 PM by beethoven_fan

Hi, everybody !

I'd like to know the grade (I know that grades are all subjective) for the first variation. I like it so much, so beautiful. I have looked at the score, it doesn't seem that hard. Is it harder than it looks ? I'd love to play it, but I don't want to mess it.

I'm not very adavanced. Here's what I have played by Bach (besides the Aria from the Goldberg and Prelude in C major that everyone plays) :

Inventions no 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, ,8 , 9, 10, 13, 14
Sinfonia no 15
Menuet from French Suite no. 2 in C minor
Menuet from French Suite no. 4 in Eb major
Gavotte from French Suite no. 5 in G major
Menuet from French Suite no. 6 in E major

I can play those very fine, I'm very comfortable with them.

I have tried about a year ago to play Prelude in C minor from WCT 1, but could not play it at tempo. That's all I have I played from the WTC. No fugue yet.

Is Variation no 1 around my level ? Or is it too advanced for me ?

xx goldberg variations no.21
December 15, 2008, 03:16:27 PM by ryanyee

i've recently recorded the 21st variation from the goldberg variations. i'd like to get everybody's comments on them. although it doesn't sound very colorful to me. thanks all. this is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j81J1HE7pzs

xx VIDEO: Bach: Goldberg Variations #1
October 22, 2008, 10:11:50 PM by kard

So, this is it Smiley 
I've been recording my practices recently. I usually mess around and try and perform something every once in a while and this came out pretty decently (in my opinion...). And yes, I'm still cringing at the crossing hands flub, but, nothing's perfect :-/.

Critique please!! I would really appreciate it. It's only been recently that I've moved past technique problems for the most part to listening.

Recorder: Audio- Laptop Mic, Video- Generic webcam software.

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