Part 1 of Johann Sebastian Bach’s WellTempered Clavier has survived in a complete autograph fair copy dating from the year 1722. The title translates roughly as follows: The Well-Tempered Clavier, or preludes and fugues in every key, including those with the major third and those with the minor third, for the use and benefit of inquisitive young musicians and for the special diversion of those already wellversed in this study, set down and composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, chapelmaster and director of chamber music to the Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen, in the year 1722. This title, which, incidentally, only applies to Part 1, raises high claims for Bach’s collection, which sets out to be both a manual of instruction and a challenge to accomplished performers.
Bach composed this work at a time when efforts were being made to devise the system of tempered tuning still used on keyboard instruments today. This system allows performers to play in every key, whereas instruments tuned in accordance with earlier systems permitted only a limited number of keys. It is thus fully understandable that Bach was interested in exploring the entire range of major and minor keys.
Fugue C major BWV 846
Level of difficulty (Piano): medium (Level 6)
Prelude C major BWV 846
Level of difficulty (Piano): easy (Level 2)