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 middle of baroque keyboard tune and has been a version and suggestion 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 track, 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 name web page. Drawing on Bach literature over the last three hundred years, he explores German traditions of composition varieties and Bach's novel growth of them; explains Bach's tools and strategies in keyboard approach 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 reason while composing the "Well-Tempered Clavier". Ledbetter's commentaries on person preludes and fugues may still equip readers with the innovations essential to make their very own review and contain information regarding the resources whilst info of notation, adorns and fingerings have a relating functionality.

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Birnbaum, who was probably writing with Bach’s assistance, many times talks of Bach’s prowess on ‘organ and clavier’. 79). 445). It is most unlikely in this instance that clavier can mean anything other than harpsichord. In its general sense the main question is to what extent the term clavier included the organ. ’, which is obviously meant to cover every available keyboard instrument. This is the range of the term also in various Clavier-Übung collections,5 including Bach’s own, which embrace organ (III), two-manual harpsichord (II and IV), and unspecified clavier (I).

Some sources include pedal indications, notably for the E and E flat major Fugues of Book II, and many pieces have the heading ‘manualiter’, including a source of Book I very close to Bach 26 Clavier (P 401) which has it on each folio. If these two fugues from Book II seem suitable candidates, performance on the organ seems to have been by no means limited to alla breve fugues. One of Bach’s last pupils, Johann Christian Kittel, who studied with him between 1748 and 1750 and was one of the most important transmitters of the Bach tradition into the 19th century, envisages what many would regard as quintessentially stringed-keyboard textures as examples of the harmonic type of prelude for organ: Pieces in this style demand a very fine harmonic instinct and insight.

Book II is a more tempting candidate. 204). 459). This is presumably on account of features of galant style in these pieces. But they have nothing of a lute texture and would be more at home on the unfretted clavichord or pianoforte if a keyboard instrument with dynamic nuance is desired. A more convincing candidate is the E flat prelude, which has striking similarities to the prelude in the same key ‘pour la Luth. ’ BWV 998/1. The Book II prelude was entered slightly earlier than the ones Franklin proposes (probably 1739), while BWV 998 dates from the early 1740s.

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