Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier

An Exploration of the 48 Preludes and Fugues


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About the Book

Through a musical language involving symbols, numbers, and tonality, J.S. Bach created emotional dimension in the preludes and fugues of The Well-Tempered Clavier. This book explores the use of that musical language, revealing how Bach used harmonic design and melodic and rhythmic motivic formulas to adhere to the basic doctrine of the Theory of Affects—i.e., that one mood will govern one piece.
The book examines the significance of key and the emotional dimension Bach discerned in each tonality; the symbolism of melodic and rhythmic motifs; and the symbolism of numbers. It considers the thematic and rhythmic links between a prelude and its companion fugue in each book, and between a prelude and fugue in Book One and those in the same key in Book Two. It also includes reference to other instrumental works by Bach in the same key and melodic patterns.

About the Author(s)

Marjorie Wornell Engels taught music professionally for 40 years, including 12 years on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto. She now lives in Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

Bibliographic Details

Marjorie Wornell Engels
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2544-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0475-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction      3

1. C Major      9

2. C Minor      15

3. C-Sharp Major      22

4. C-Sharp Minor      28

5. D Major      39

6. D Minor      46

7. E-Flat Major      56

8. E-Flat Minor/D-Sharp Minor      64

9. E Major      73

10. E Minor      82

11. F Major      91

12. F Minor      98

13. F-Sharp Major      107

14. F-Sharp Minor      115

15. G Major      121

16. G Minor      127

17. A-Flat Major      134

18. G-Sharp Minor      141

19. A Major      151

20. A Minor      158

21. B-Flat Major      167

22. B-Flat Minor      175

23. B Major      184

24. B Minor      194

Bibliography      207

Index      209

Book Reviews & Awards

“buy this book…this is a gem”—B.C. Registered Music Teachers Association Provincial Newsletter.