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JS Bach

Instrumental Works

Goldberg Variations

In the Goldberg Variations, Bach summarized the characteristic species of Baroque keyboard music, the theme and variations. The Aria with (thirty) Different Variations, published (probably) in 1742 as Part IV of the Clavier-Übung and known as the Goldberg Variations, is organized in the complete fashion of many of the compositions from the latter part of Bach's life. The theme is a sarabande in two balanced sections, the bass and harmonic structure of which are preserved in all thirty variations. The form of the whole is that of a chaconne or passacaglia. The variations are grouped by threes, the last of each group being a canon, with the canons at successive intervals from the unison to the ninth. The thirtieth and last variation, however, is a quodlibet, a mixture of two popular song melodies combined in counterpoint above the fundamental bass; and after this the theme is repeated da capo. The noncanonic variations are of many different types, including inventions, fughettas, a French ouverture, ornamental slow arias, and, at regular intervals, bravura pieces for two keyboards. The diverse moods and styles in these variations are unified by means of the recurring bass and harmonies and also by the symmetrical order in which the movements are arranged; the entirety is a perfectly organized structure of great proportions. 

Organ Music. Bach's early works, pre-Weimar, through his late works at Leipzig.

String Keyboard (clavier) music. Covers the Bach's significant pieces.

The Well-Tempered Clavier. The best known of Bach's clavier works.

Suites and Partitas. Bach's clavier suites and partitas.

Goldberg Variations. This aria with thirty variations is representative of Baroque theme and variations.
Solo music for other instruments. Compositions primarily from Bach's period in Cöthen including his cello suites.

Orchestral music. Examples of Baroque concertos and suites, including Air on the G String and the Brandenburg Concertos.

Inventions and Sinfonia. Two sets of fifteen contrapuntal pieces written for teaching purposes.
Canons. Bach's canonic variations.

Musical Offering. Based on a theme given to Bach by Frederick the Great.

Art of Fugue. Bach's final collection of fugues and canons.

Unfinished fugue. Last in the Art of Fugue, this fugue is formed from the letters of Bach's name.