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Book II          Scores available at Patreon

Bach transcribed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and replaced the text with a paraphrase of Psalm 51. The lyricist had to take affective logic into account. Lively musical word paintings can be found in Pergolesi's Stabat mater.

In versus 16 the word “wounds” (in the Latin of Pergolesi's text: plagas) is central. With Bach that has become “fame” (German: Ruhm). No words that at first glance seem logically and affectively interchangeable.

Both words “Wunden” and “Rhum” have been set to music by Bach more than thirty times, sometimes with great emphasis.

Here is a brief inventory of the affective qualifications that Eduard van Hengel gave to Cantate pieces in which these words occur, (this music also sometimes involves new text on existing music):

How to bring this together?

There are opposites:
lament - joy,
archaic - modern,
rest - festive,
balance - disturbance.

The relationship between words and emotions is complex. There is a wide range of expressions. There can be logic, but the result is not always clear. As a listener you are sometimes puzzled. This is not art with unambiguous meanings. Just as life and the world itself.

On this page you can find the preludes and fugues of Bach's second compilation of pieces in all keys, of which I reversed the signature key from major to minor and vive versa.


BWV 5 - 2 Intimate, tormented
BWV 7 - 1 Solemn, rippling
BWV 12 - 4 Serious, laborious
BWV 31 - 4 Solemn, with dignity
BWV 46 - 6 Lamentable
BWV 78 - 5 Difficult harmonies, with passion, trembling motives.
BWV 101 - 6 Sweet and plaintive
BWV 103 - 3 Desperate, ambivalent
BWV 113 - 8 Gloomy
BWV 136 - 5 Music dances with cheerful tone, text serious.
BWV 145 - 2 Passionate Liberation
BWV 159 - 5 Calmness, balance, solitude, absence of any tension.
BWV 164 - 2 Disturbing
BWV 168 - 6 Serious
BWV 182 - 7 Includes the paradox that suffering is a joy.
BWV 199 - 6 Consolation song, sorrowful heart.
BWV 199 - 7 Mystical discourse - merry song
BWV 244 - 51 Bewilderment, powerlessness
BWV 244 - 52 Aggressive
BWV 244 - 54 Adoration
BWV 245 - 11 Parody, extremely surprising is the place where we find this aria with this text in the passion. Musicologists owe a statement.


BWV 26 - 3 Rest
BWV 36b - 8 Long drawn out cheerful gavotte
BWV 41 - 6 Fanfare
BWV 51 - 1 Spectacular bravura aria, exuberant joy
BWV 69 - 3 An intimate and personal song of thanksgiving, a pastoral character.
BWV 94 - 3 Serene rest and a busy world
BWV 120 - 2 Exuberant
BWV 125 - 6 Simple, full of expectations
BWV 135 - 6 Thoughtful praise
BWV 167 - 1 Quiet pastoral creates an atmosphere of settled gratitude.
BWV 171 - 1 In strict archaizing motet style.
BWV 190 - 3 Relaxed, a cheerful hymn in dance form, a polonaise.
BWV 190a - 3 Parody, festive
BWV 193 - 4 Peace and Justice
BWV 195 - 3 Light and accessible music, it is one of Bach's most modern compositions.
BWV 207a - 2 Parody, rippling
BWV 210 - 5 Music is more powerful than love and death.
BWV 213 - 2 Uncertainty
BWV 214 -7 Praise and glorification
BWV 215 - 7 Generous character
BWV 245 - 1 Fierce, dramatic choirs in which Bach expresses the effects of hateful people, hypocritical scribes, indifferent soldiers and teasing bystanders.
BWV 248I - 1 Parody, symbolizing royal grandeur and rulership
BWV 515 Pleasure and contentment

Prelude BWV 881 & Fugue BWV 998 sheet music

Anna Magdalena

BWV 875 Prelude 6 Handwriting Anna Magdalena Bach

The handwriting here is by Anna Magdalena Bach, in an early draft of the sixth prelude.

Her calligraphy is very similar to that of Bach, who is renowned for its clarity, efficiency, beauty and musicality.
There are several copyists where it is difficult to distinguish between their handwriting and Bach's, especially when it comes to advanced students.

Bach's earliest manuscripts are very similar to that of his older brother.

So it is possible: writing in Bach's handwriting is certainly on my list of ambitions to learn by imitation.

At first I am in awe of Anna Magdalena's achievements.
She made copies for sale of Bach's scores, and Bach trusted her to make neat copies of the second WTC.

At second glance, the experience is different: it's like suddenly realizing that you've eaten the wrong mushrooms.
Anna Magdalena does not take vertical alignment into account.

It is a feature that allows you to instantly recognize her writing.

Her time-space continuum reminds me of marbled paper.
This is very disturbing, how can you hear such a score in visual reading?

How did this lack survive?

Why has she not been corrected?

What did she hear when she copied, did she actually play?