Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier

Errata and addenda 14/11/16


The following are for the 2002 printing. The book was reprinted in 2006 with a few of these corrections, marked here with an asterisk *.

It is not possible to use in-text music symbols in this programme, so read # for sharp, b for flat, h for natural.

p.xiii para.3 line 13   < published; to Klaus Hofmann and the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut at Göttingen; and to Yo >

p.5 para.2 line 11   < audience who had >

p.7 para.3, 6 lines from end   < his collection L’ABC >
A copy of Kirchhoff’s l’A.B.C musical has surfaced in Russia.  The title is l’A.B.C Musical / Contenant / des Preludes et des Fugues de tous les Tons / POUR L’ORGUE, OU LE CLAVECIN / fort utile aux disciples pour aprendre accompagner de la Basse Continue / et faire des Preludes et des Fugues….
The hitherto known German version of the title stems from Marpurg, who mistakenly suggests that the collection goes through 24 keys. It has only 16, and the exercises are on a par with Mattheson’s Mittel-Classe. It does not contain BWV 907 or 908.  A facsimile and edition by Anatoly Milka is published by Musikverlag ‘Compozitor’, St. Petersburg, 2004. For further details, see A.P. Milka, ‘Zur Herkunft einiger Fugen in der Berliner Bach-Handschrift P 296’, Bach-Jahrbuch lxxxix (2003), 251–258.

p.9 para.1 line 6   < 1741), and >   insert comma

para.3 line 2   < durch alle Tone >   + e

—line 6   < Altnickol’s >   + apostrophe

p.23 para.3 line 2   < the 48, perhaps because >

—line 13   < no fewer than three >

—line 14   < as Thomas-Organist in >

p.25   For some 19th-century organ performances of items from The Well-Tempered Clavier see Russell Stinson, J.S. Bach at His Royal Instrument (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

p.26 six lines from end   <architectural >   + r

p.27 *para.1 line 5   delete curious dash after ‘Instrument’

p.29 para.3 lines 2-3   < to c’#, and >

p.31 para.3 line 11   < the Stadtschloss with the king >

p.33 para.3 line 4 from end   < appoggiatura-laden >   insert hyphen

p.34 para.1 line 7   < 1720–40 that can >

p.35 Chapter Two.  This chapter was written before Andreas Sparschuh, of the Technische Universität Darmstadt, proposed an interpretation of Bach’s temperament based on the decorative patterns at the top of the 1722 title-page (paper read at the Deutsche Mathematiker Vereinigung Jahrestagung, Mainz 1999, for which he earned the Golden Tuning Fork of the German Tuners’ Association). A different interpretation was subsequently proposed by Bradley Lehman (Early Music 2/2005 and 5/2005, with replies 8/2005). Two responses to Lehman’s conjecture were published in Early Music 11/2006, by Mark Lindley and Ibo Ortgies, and by John O’Donnell. While all these conjectures are of great interest, I see no reason to revise my fundamental points: 1) that it is most unlikely that Bach stayed with a single temperament throughout his career, and 2) that as a practical musician he is unlikely to have adhered rigidly to a mathematically formulated tuning at any stage of his career. The story of Johann Nikolaus Bach’s competition with Neidhardt and his monochord (see pp.39–40) would seem to corroborate this.

p.39 para.5 line 4   < remain uncultivated >   not unrefined

p.40 para.3 line 7   < –95) described >   delete comma

p.41 para.1 line 2   < used (all keyboard players have their >

—line 3   < best-informed >   add hyphen

—n 31: Kerala Snyder has subsequently withdrawn her proposal that the Marienkirche organs were tuned to Werckmeister III in 1683 (Dieterich Buxtehude, Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press, 2/2007, pp.84–6).

p.44 para.1 line 4   < on g’b ; the >

—para.2 last line   < published a few months >

p.49 para.2   Move the final sentence to the end of line 6, which should read
< …Marpurg. Even so knowledgeable…(Türk 1787 p.201). Kirnberger’s temperament III… >

p.59 para.3 line 12   < Partita >   cf 3rd last line of page

p.68 para.1 4th last line   < sonatafication >   not -tif-

p.72 para 2 lines 2–3   < holds good >

p.73 para.3 lines 4–5   < chapel, and he was later to make keyboard arrangements of four of Johann Ernst’s string concertos. Walther’s >

p.74 para 2 line 3   < Dictionaire >   one n (original spelling)

p.75 para.1 line 6   < whole Bach rarely >

—line 8: Capriccio is also the title for the final movement of BWV 826

p.78 second last line   < eighteenth >   delete h

p.80 para.1 line 8   < delivery or pronuntiatio/executio >

p.89 para.1 last line   < 1701 >   1 not l

—In n.20 I point out that Walther’s demonstrations are considerably less accomplished than Fux’s; I now think that I should have made this point in the main text.

p.90 para.1 table: numbers should be spaced so as to align and show correspondences:

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10
10  9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

p.91 para.1 table: ditto

1   2    3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12
12 11  10  9   8   7   6   5   4    3    2    1

p.96 *para.1 line 8   < Bach also begins >

—Bach’s copy of the Documenti armonici evidently belonged at one stage to Carl Friedrich Zelter, from whom it passed into the Berlin Sing-Akademie collection.  It has not so far re-emerged with the rest of the collection (see Wolfram Ensslin and Hans-Joachim Schulze, Die Bach-Quellen der Sing-Akademie zu Berlin. Katalog (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2006).

—*para.3   delete curious mark before first word

p.106 last para line 2   < works that circumnavigate >

p.123 caption for facing page, line 4   < Fa >   cap

p.125 para.1 four lines from end   < playing) which >   delete comma

p.127 para.3 line 5  < in a way that recalls>

—para.4 lines 4–5   divide < Michaelis-schule >

p.219 para.2   The competition nature of this fugue is suggested by C.P.E. Bach’s comment on the Marchand episode in his obituary for his father: ‘Ob aber Marchands Müsetten für die Christnacht, deren Erfindung und Ausführung ihm in Paris den meisten Ruhm zu Wege gebracht haben soll, gegen Bachs vielfache Fugen vor Kennern würden haben Stand halten können; das mögen diejenigen, welche beyde in ihrer Stärcke gehöret haben, entscheiden.’ (Dok.VII pp.97-8).

—para.3 line 2   < Orgel-Büchlein may date >
The terminus ante quem non for the Orgelbüchlein depends on whether the paper of the autograph is identical with that of Cantatas 61 and 152 (December 1714), something that has been argued both ways; for a summary of views and assessment see Sven Hiemke, Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelbüchlein (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007) pp.36–48.

p.131 para.1 line 9   < then practise >   s

p.134 para 1:  More precisely, Kirnberger says that Bach prescribed the thumb before and after the leading note, no matter whether this fell on a black note or not (BR p.450).

p.135 para.2: For a detailed study of the evidence relating to this touch see Menno van Delft, ‘Schnellen: a quintessential articulation technique in eighteenth-century keyboard playing’, The Keyboard in Baroque Europe, ed. C. Hogwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) pp.187-97; also Part I:3 of Ewald Demeyere, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of Fugue (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013).  It has to be said that Forkel was unable to demonstrate it convincingly to Zelter in Berlin in 1801 (Dok,VII p.195).  The retraction of the fingers is slight.

p.148 para.2 lines 2-3   < the product being the totality >

p.152 last para. line 1   note values should be: 1 x 64th, 1 x 32nd, 2 x 64th

p.157 para.2 line 4   < tensest 3rd >

p.160 para.2 line 9   < a’# >

p.164 para.1 line 7   < perforatum >

p. 165 For further uses of this subject see David Ledbetter, Unaccompanied Bach: Performing the Solo Works (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2009) p.63.

p.174 para.2 line 4   < after b.21 >

p.179 para.1 second last line   < top c”‘b >

—para 2 line 11   note values should be: dotted eighth, 2 x 64th, 2 x 32nd, 1 x 16th

p.182 para.1 line 2   < flute >   l.c.

p.191 para.2 line 2   < to the C time signature >

p.192 line 4   < with 9/7 >   slash not en-dash

p.198 para.5 line 3   < made to convey an >

p.200 para.3 line 12   < with 24/16 on the upper >

p.204 para.1 line 7   < 1730–36 (Ex.7.21b). > delete semi-colon, add bracket

p.210 The discussion of the G sharp minor fugue needs some further nuance in that an ordinary tonal answer for Kerll’s subject would deform it to d c# fh e f# g fh eh d.  Bach’s modulating version very neatly makes a circle of subject and answer, beginning and ending on G, truly a connoisseur’s engagement with Kerll’s Fuga.

p.211 Ex.7.25 b.5 in b) version, tenor third note should be eb

p.212 para.1 line 3   < modal subject >   a

p.216 para.3: Further connexions with the partimento tradition are pointed out by Robert O. Gjerdingen, ‘Partimento, que me veux-tu?’, Journal of Music Theory li/1 (Spring 2007) pp.94–5; see also Michael R. Dodds, ‘Columbus’s Egg: Andreas Werckmeister’s teachings on contrapuntal improvisation in Harmonologia Musica (1702), Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music xii/1 (2006).

p.218 *para.2 line 1   < criticised on >   delete full stop after ‘criticised’

p.226 para.2 line 10   < C minor >  not major

p.236 para.1 line 12   < clavessin >   lower case cf line 17

p.246 4th last line   < psychophonia >

p.252 para.1 line 6   < to give a single >

p.256 para.2 line 9   < and 12/8 values >

p.258 para.4 line 8   < been partly to ensure >

p.267 para.1 last line   See also Langloz Fugue 11 in D minor (ed. Renwick p.45).

—para.2, 5th last line   the three quavers should not be divided over line end

p.269 para.2 line 7   < Silvius >   i

p.270 para.1 line 8  < that they cannot >

p.278 para.2 line 3   < e (London >   add space after e

p.292 para.3 line 5   < 1974 p.4 >   delete c

p.302 join paras 2 and 3

p.303 para.1 line 6  < 10th at b.69 >

p.305 para.3 line 10   < this is the most >   add is

p.318 para.3 last line: numbers should end   < 1 2 :| >   colon before line

p.319 join paras 2 and 3

p.343 join last 2 paras

p.346 n.21: The Heinitz unfretted clavichord of 1716 has now been discussed in much more detail by Andreas Hermert, ‘Drei bundfreie Clavichorde aus dem 18. Jahrhundert im Kloster Marienthal/Ostritz’, Fundament aller Clavirten Instrumenten—Das Clavichord (ed. C. Ahrens and G. Klinke) pp.89–99 (Munich: Katzbichler, 2003); and Richard Troeger, ‘Bach, Heinitz, Specken, and the early bundfrei clavichord’, Music and its Questions: Essays in Honor of Peter Williams (ed. T. Donahue) pp.143–66 (Richmond VA: OHS Press, 2007).  Lothar Bemmann has published on the website of the German Clavichord Society a list of 491 anonymous clavichords from all over Europe, with dates from the 16th to the 19th centuries.  The list as published in August 2016 adds one further completely chromatic, unfretted clavichord from before 1740 (254: Hamburg? range C-f”‘, with a lid painting datable to 1715-1720).  A Swiss instrument of around 1700 (73) has the C/E short octave.  Other possibilities are not securely datable: (313) Spain 1734-1745; (372) Norway? 1730-1770; (389 and 455) Germany, 18th century.

p.347 n.21, top line   < FF–d”‘ >

—line 3   < C/E–c”‘ >

p.349 n.15 line 2   < comma (Werckmeister 1697 p.36). >

p.351 n.39   < ¶ 14 >

p.353 n.6 line 1   < Parnassus was published by 1736 at the latest, but >
end the n. at < earlier. >   delete ‘than their publication date’.

p.355 n.30 line 3   < fugues in 16 keys: l’ABC musical (Amsterdam c.1734); ed. A. Milka (St Petersburg: Musikverlag ‘Kompositor’, 2004). >

p.356 n.5 line 11   < p.31) and Bernhard (c.1649); it chimes >

p.363 n.48   < Chafe 1991 >

p.366 n.1 line 4:   delete ) after 1ff.

p.369 n.60: add   < The writer of the partimento has ‘cheated’ in the inversion by putting the first countersubject notes in b.1 beat 4 and b.2 beat 2 up a 3rd to avoid the 7th, effectively inverting just these notes at the 10th. >

p.374 Fischer, line 4   < 1736 >

p.376 Bach, line 2   < Cassel, 1949 >

—Brossard   < Dictionaire >   1 n

—Buttstett   < (Erfurt [1716]) >

p.378 Praetorius   < Syntagmatis >

p.382 Butler   < Gregory G. >

p.383 reverse order of Cooper and Constantini

p.387 Heller line 3   < des jungen Bachs >

—Hermlink line 2   < Preußischer >   r

p.389 Kreutz   < Hinrichsen >   + s

—Kunze   < Fuge >   cap.

p.390 < Lange, Helmut K. >

—Lindley   < Lutes, Viols and Temperaments >

p.394 Snyder 1987   < Dieterich >   + e

p.397 Williams, C.F.A.   < ‘The rhythmical’ >   cap.

p.399 augmentation line 2   < 181–2 >   en dash

p.400 Bach, J.S. line 2   VOCAL WORKS heading should be left-aligned, as ORGAN WORKS etc. are

p.403 Buxtehude   < Dieterich >

p.404 < Couperin, François >   add comma

p.405 Fischer, J.C.F. second last line   < [n.d.] >   not 1738

p.414 Weiss   < Silvius >   i


In July 2003 I received a letter from the late Madame Denise Restout, who was Wanda Landowska’s personal assistant and published a translation of Landowska’s writings on music in 1965.  She has put me right about some of Landowska’s views.  Those of us not privileged to have known Madame Landowska have to rely on written records, which can be misleading.  You could say the same of Bach.

‘One point in particular I would like to refute and rectify.  In Chapter One Clavier you wrote: “Wanda Landowska added (1907–1911) an element of her own hysterical prejudice against the clavichord…” and later: “her dislike of the clavichord was lifelong and passed on to generations of students”.   This is TOTALLY FALSE.  Landowska loved the clavichord for what it was and what it could do – she owned two beautiful ancient ones, and in 1942 Challis built a new one for her (on which I still teach today!).  She played many types of clavichords….  What Landowska objected to was playing on that instrument music that obviously was not meant for it.  The clavichord’s tonal limitations do not allow important contrasts of sonority, nor of timbre coloration, as does the harpsichord, and which are needed for many of  J.S. Bach’s works….

You also quote her as having said of Kirkpatrick’s recording of The Well-tempered Clavier on the clavichord: “it is a pity that he could not afford a harpsichord!”  She certainly never said that – the type of hostile gossip I mean.  Kirkpatrick, who was her student for a few years, openly had a great dislike for Landowska’s personality.  Yet he had to admit in his memoires how great she was and how much he had learned from her.’