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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.

Members who like this piece have also downloaded:

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.

Posts in the piano forum about this piece by :

xx J.S.Bach Praeludium-1
March 05, 2012, 03:18:40 AM by bateria

Took me about 2 hours to learn and memorize this piece. The easiest piece for keyboard I've learned yet. First I play at slow tempo. Then comes a funny dialogue about it being "boring" so I play it a second time faster w/ added special effects (this is for a kid who's taking his first piano lessons!).

xx Prelude & Fuge No.1 WTC Book 1
May 10, 2011, 02:51:45 PM by feliszt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmh1uyiPbNU     Hi i hope you like it! Wink

xx J.S. Bach's Prelude & Fugue I BWV 846 in C Major - request for Score & guidance
January 20, 2011, 01:15:24 AM by niewue01

Re: J.S. Bach's Prelude & Fugue I BWV 846 in C Major - request for Score

Dear All,


I am new on the piano and (also seeking to learn the b flat trumpet) wondering if anyone might want to help on the aspects related to piano and music theory, per chance? I would be most grateful for your thoughts on the following:

1. I am seeking the music score for the above mentioned piece by Bach and cannot find it anywhere on this site.  I am only a silver member, and cannot justify getting a gold membership.  Would anyone be able to help?

2. I am new on learning music theory, and have commenced on a beginner's piano course, which comprises of a block of ten lessons, that's all.  Book prescribed is : The Classic Piano Course Book1: Starting to Play, by Carol Barratt.  And want to be able to learn more at a deeper level and hope to continue to do so, but have become extremely frustrated at the scope of the lectures already, as it does not cover off the music theory and essentials.  Hence, I have embarked on making a discovery on topics related to major and minor scales and music theory.  Topics such as: Cycle of fifths (which I am struggling on and would greatly appreaciate some help on assisting me to grasp the concepts and the system). 

Basically, I have commenced on reading the following text:  The AB Guide to Music Theory Part1 by Eric Taylor, ABRSM.

3. Also struggling on the follwoing topics:  Tonics and Triads, Key Signatures; Name of scale degrees.

I look forward to hearing from you.  If you have any scores and soft copies of materials, then my address is :neeraj64@hotmail.com

Thanking you in advance.

Kind regards,


xx Prelude in C Major, Bach
November 23, 2009, 10:03:08 PM by superdominus

I have just recently started practicing the prelude in C major from book I of the WTC. There's a footnote in my book about a measure that may be omitted. Its authenticity has not been verified. I'm sure you guys know which measure this is. I'm not sure whether should I play this measure or not. My teacher told me to play the measure. However, I don't want to play it if Bach didn't wrote it down, and in my opinion, omitting this measure makes that part more dramatic.

I am eager to hear your opinions on this measure. Do you play it or leave it out? 

xx Bach - Prelude in C and inventions (VIDEO)
May 26, 2009, 06:15:10 PM by feddera


My first Bach-pieces on youtube!  Cheesy

xx Bach BWV 846 (Fugue in C major) comment please!
August 20, 2008, 08:33:12 PM by lelle

Hello there!
My name is Leo, and I am 15 years old.
I looooove playing Bach, his WTC fugues are really fun to play. It's so fun that I sometimes can sit down with a fugue that I am not really practising, and play it badly, but still love it. They are so amazing to just sit and watch, and when YOU are behind the keys and play, it is wonderful no matter how godawfully bad you actually play (for me it feels like that at least).
However I have picked a number of fugues that I am gonna really work on until I play them well. It is the C major, C minor, C# minor, d minor (maybe D major also, havent decided), maybe Eb major, F# major, g minor, G# minor, maybe a minor though it is almost too difficult, and maybe also the h minor Fugue. (I would love to play Bb major also, but it feels too difficult. Same applies to C# major).

I would be happy if someone could watch my performance (though the sound isnt very good) and tell me what I need to work the most on, and also what is good since only negative feedback wont do any good except putting me off from playing the piece.

Since I did the recording 4 hours ago I have already spotted thousands of unforgivable errors but I want to hear your opinion also. Despite the most apparent one, hitting the wrong key at a place, I sometimes feel that I am not bringing out some voices as much as I should and want sometimes. The tempo is also waving around a bit, since I am pretty tired of playing the piece today (I played it 15 times and recorded it but there always was some error, this one has the least errors except the waving tempo WHY CANT I EVER RECORD SOMETHING WITHOUT ERRORS???++ sigh). There is also some lol background noises from my family at the end... well well...

I am playing from the notes since I don't know the piece by heart yet.

Well here is a link to the C major fugue played by me at youtube anyway:

I repeat:

I would be happy if someone could watch my performance (though the sound isnt very good) and tell me what I need to work the most on, and also what is good since only negative feedback wont do any good except putting me off from playing the piece

Comments plix Tongue

xx J.S. Bach - Prelude in C [WTC, Book I]
May 07, 2008, 03:15:07 AM by aewanko

sorry if it's the prelude only, i'm still learning the fugue.

xx Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
October 12, 2007, 07:47:29 PM by sewillis

I am very much a beginner at piano and was wondering how to use the pedal when playing the Bach Prelude in C.  The music I've seen of it never has pedal markings.  I tend to have the pedal down through the whole piece (at least as much as I can play so far).  But that seems to be a bit too much.  Unless I am just playing to loud and too slow.  I could play quieter, but I'm not ready to be able to play much faster yet.  Any thoughts?

xx Bach Prelude in C Major WTC I on Bechstein No. 5796
July 29, 2007, 02:29:23 AM by iumonito

You know how you take before and after pictures?

This is the "before" for my new Bechstein.  New to me.  The piano is from the 1870s.

It is set to arrive next Friday.  After it settles and gets tunned I'll post an "after" recording of the same piece on this same thread.  I have no plans to do a full rebuild at this time, but my heroes at Pianocraft are fixing it up a little bit for me anyway.  This is why I like them so much and will never buy a piano from anyone else: they just can't let a bad piano leave their shop.


xx Bach: WTC I C Major - preliminary recording for comments
June 23, 2007, 08:24:14 AM by iumonito

I plan to post this again in a few weeks.  Comments are welcome.

xx 2 WTC Preludes and Fugues: Bk 1 No. 1 and Bk 2 No. 5
October 19, 2006, 04:29:44 PM by glk


I have just discovered Pianostreet and it is a wonderful resource.  Posting for comments is a bit intimidating but here goes. 

By way of background, I'm and older piano student (now 48).  I played, but not seriously, when 5 or 6 years when I was growing up and, in retrospect, did not have the best of instruction.  About 3 years ago, I began looking for a piano teacher/program for my 5 year old son, and became interested in starting lessons again myself.  (In addition to hoping to finally learn properly, I thought my son would have more motivation to practice if he saw me doing so as well.)    As it turned out, I discovered that the spouse of one of my colleagues at work is wonderful pianist who teaches at a university nearby, and she agreed to take me on as a student.  Of course, I've become totally addicted and generally practice a couple hours a day (usually after my family is asleep!).  (Note:  My son still takes lessons, but my theory of motivation didn't really work, since it is a still a struggle to get him to practice.  My younger son though has just started, and he seems a bit more inclined/enthusiastic).

Anyway, both my teacher and friends have encouraged me to play a recital, but I have a very hard time with memorization and a hectic work schedule, which would make it difficult to prepare for one.  (Besides, its too scary!!).  As an alternative, I've decided, with my teacher's encouragement, to make a quasi recital CD, which I hope to complete by years' end. (The nice things about a CD are that I can use my music and prepare 1 or 2 pieces at time for recording.)  (I also invested in some recording gear, so I could record at home as my schedule permits.)

 I'm planning on including 3 WTC Preludes and Fugues (Book 1 No. 1 and 2 in C major and c minor, and Book 2 in D major), Schubert Impromptu No. 4 in Ab minor, Op. 899, 2 Chopin Nocturnes (No. 1 in Bb minor, and No. 15 in F minor) and finally Chopin Waltz in C# minor.    The Bach pieces have been the most difficult for me, so I thought I would work on them first.  So here goes 2 of them!

Your thoughts will be appreciated (but be nice!).  In addition to comments on the music, any recording advice would be appreciated as well.  (I spoke with a recording engineer last night who suggested a different microphone configuration, slightly further away from the strings.)


Gary K

xx Re: Music that has brought tears to your eyes
September 19, 2006, 01:50:15 AM by leucippus

To me, it's not the piece of music that does it, but rather it's how it's performed.

I don't recall the performer unfortunately, but I once heard Beethoven's Waldstein played so beautifully that I will never forget it.  It was quite emotional.  I forgot the name of the pianist because at that time in my life I wan't really into piano, I was just moved by that particular performance.

I also heard someone play a very simple elementary Bach Prelude (the first one in the Well-Tempered Book I), but it was played with such feeling that it was almost unrecognizable as the simple piece that so many beginners start out playing.  I think most people never really learn to play that prelude well.  They learn it early, and then put it behind them as a "beginner's piece".  But it can be extremely beautiful when played by an accomplished pianist who puts sincere emotion into it.

So for me, it's definitely in the performance, not the piece.

xx Prelude in C major from WTC I
July 14, 2005, 02:34:40 PM by stormx

Hi !!  Smiley Smiley

i am learning Bach Prelude in C major from the WTC book 1. I find it easy, but a nightmare to memorize  Undecided Undecided
What makes memorization difficult for me is that all bars are identical (except last 2) but indeed different (RH arpeggios vary all the time). Moreover, the piece does not have a clear melody (tough it is beautiful).

Any hints?

By the way, i didnt know Gunod added a melodic voice above this piece to make a famous "Ave Maria"  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

xx WTK bk 1 prelude 1 (BWV846) tempo
June 01, 2005, 04:22:18 PM by tenn

I downloaded a version of this from pianostreet and it's marked M.M. crotchet = 112
The version I have on CD seems to be more like 66.
Is it ever played that fast?

xx Bach's BWV 846 need help with harmonic analysis
January 07, 2005, 09:36:10 PM by aznviolet

Hi everyone!  just found this forum and i think it's great!

anyway, i've been trying to figure out how the b diminished 7th chord fits in mm.14 (if it's a b diminished 7th chord at all).

i was thinking maybe the chord in mm. 14 is just a b diminished (vii) which flows nicely to I in mm. 15 and maybe the a-flat is just a chromatic passing tone between mm.13 and 15.

am i thinking too hard?

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