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Bach: Prelude & Fugue BWV 846 No. 1 in C Major

Piano Sheet Music to Download and Print or to View in Mobile Devices

Johann Sebastian Bach - WTC 1 :
Prelude & Fugue, BWV 846 No. 1
Prelude & Fugue BWV 846 No. 1  in C Major by Bach piano sheet music
Key: C Major Year: 1722
Level: 8 Period: Baroque
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext (77 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: Czerny edition (834 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: Bach-Gesellschaft edition (706 kB)
piano music mp3 recording Prelude & Fugue BWV 846 No. 1 Prelude - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)
piano music mp3 recording Prelude & Fugue BWV 846 No. 1 Fugue - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)

Indispensable Bach

J S Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier has been called the “Old Testament of piano music”. And if that is the case, then this prelude must be Genesis, chapter 1: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth…. In any case, this is not only one of the most popular preludes by Bach, it is one of the most indispensable pieces for anyone wanting to learn to play the piano. It has served as an inspiration for many composers throughout the years. For example, it was used as the accompaniment for Gounod’s setting of Ave Maria, and Chopin alluded to it in his first etude for piano, op. 10 no 1.

This is one of the rare pieces that you can listen to or practice thousands of times without tiring of it. In much the same way as the first verses of the Bible, it speaks a universal language, characterized by solemn simplicity and soothing repetitiveness.

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Practice & Performance Tips:
Bach   probably played this piece as a chorale first and then broke the chords   into arpeggios. In order to understand the harmonic structure of this   piece, play the chord progressions first. If possible, write down the   label for each harmony. Play each group of sixteenth-notes (semiquavers)   as a chord, making the piece sound like a chorale.
  While   you play this piece in chords, listen to the bass line. In fact, it is   useful to play, hear and also sing the bass line alone!
  Find   the highest note in each measure for the right hand. This will become   the “melody”. After you found this “melody”, play it many times alone   (without the other notes). Then, add the bass line (left hand). See how   the lines relate to each other. Are they in contrary motion? Parallel   motion? Or does the bass stay the same and the top line moves? This will   also help you memorize this prelude more easily.
  The   best musicians find different ways to interpret passages that sound   repetitive. How can you interpret this prelude, making it sound alive and... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

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