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Johann Sebastian Bach: WTC 1

Each of the two volumes of the Well-tempered Clavier contains one prelude and one fugue in every major and minor key. Often called “the 48”, or the “Old Testament” of piano music (the new being Beethoven’s sonatas) it is perhaps the most important keyboard work of all time, and something that every pianist and every composer must tackle in one way or another – Chopin’s obvious allusion to the C major prelude BWV 846 in his Study Op. 10 no 1 is but one illustration of this.
The preludes are very varied in style and often deal with a specific technical feature, while the fugues are remarkable for their wide range of contrapuntal techniques and modes of expression.
The title suggests that Bach intended a well-tempered tuning system which gives a single instrument the ability to play in all 24 keys.
The opposing system in Bach´s day was meantone temperament in which keys with many accidentals sound out of tune.


Sheet Music Downloads:

TitleASTKey Composed Type Level
Prelude & Fugue BWV 846 No. 1C Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 847 No. 2C Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 7
Prelude & Fugue BWV 848 No. 3C-sharp Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 7
Prelude & Fugue BWV 849 No. 4C-sharp Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 850 No. 5D Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 851 No. 6D Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 7
Prelude & Fugue BWV 852 No. 7E-flat Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 853 No. 8E-flat Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 854 No. 9E Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 855 No. 10E Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 856 No. 11F Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 857 No. 12F Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 858 No. 13F-sharp Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 859 No. 14F-sharp Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 860 No. 15G Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 861 No. 16G Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 862 No. 17A-flat Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 863 No. 18G-sharp Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 864 No. 19A Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 865 No. 20A Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 866 No. 21B-flat Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 867 No. 22B-flat Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 868 No. 23B Major 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8
Prelude & Fugue BWV 869 No. 24B Minor 1722 Polyphonic, Piece 8



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