Bach's Well-tempered Clavier: The 48 Preludes and Fugues by David Ledbetter

By David Ledbetter

Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" (the forty eight preludes and fugues) stands on the center of baroque keyboard tune and has been a version and proposal for performers and composers ever because it was once written. This consultant to the ninety six items explains Bach's a number of reasons in compiling the song, describes the wealthy traditions on which he drew, and offers commentaries for every prelude and fugue. In his textual content, David Ledbetter addresses the focal issues pointed out through Bach in his unique 1722 identify web page. Drawing on Bach literature during the last three hundred years, he explores German traditions of composition forms and Bach's novel enlargement of them; explains Bach's tools and suggestions in keyboard strategy within the normal context of early 18th-century advancements; reports instructive and theoretical literature on the subject of keyboard temperaments from 1680 to 1750; and discusses Bach's pedagogical cause while composing the "Well-Tempered Clavier". Ledbetter's commentaries on person preludes and fugues should still equip readers with the thoughts essential to make their very own evaluate and comprise information regarding the resources while information of notation, embellishes and fingerings have a referring to functionality.

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Additional info for Bach's Well-tempered Clavier: The 48 Preludes and Fugues

Sample text

The list of his works will shew, that they do not come under the denomination of his organ pieces; because they are deficient in his principal requisite for such pieces, being a part for obligato pedals. And consequently their effect cannot give an idea of his organ playing; unless an obligato part for the pedals be still selected from their bass part, and performed on a double bass stop. 35) The custom of playing them on the organ was merely transplanted from Germany. 487). We still have many of these ‘corrupt’ versions in manuscript collections where items from the 48, particularly early versions of pieces from Book II, are mixed in with undoubted organ works.

Griepenkerl (1820), though that in itself may have made it less than attractive to Bach as a virtuoso performer, however much he occupied himself with it as a teacher. 15 In addition, the instrument as he would have known it up to the 1740s had technical limitations which would have ruled out some at least of the 48. Yet Forkel’s words deserve consideration. Taken with other remarks of his about the clavichord, they give a subtler and more believable picture than just crude partisanship. Forkel certainly knew the best of late eighteenth-century clavichord playing.

493). It has been thought that the ‘3. 31 This is an attractive idea, but it is very noticeable how precise the terminology is in the inventory, with three grades of ‘Clavesin’, and also ‘Lauten Werck’ and ‘Spinettgen’, apart from various other instruments carefully graded in quality. The two older brothers from Bach’s first marriage were already making disapproving noises that Johann Christian should be taking an equal share in the estate having received this gift; it is unlikely that they would have acquiesced had there been anything as valuable as a harpsichord involved.

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