This fugue in C major, the first fugue from the first book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, presents several interesting aspects:

Some authors propose various numerological symbolism. The 14 notes long subject is said to be related to Bach's name:

B = 2, A = 1, C = 3, H = 8
2 + 1 + 3 + 8 = 14

It is also said that the subject appears exactly 24 times in this fugue representing the 24 fugues in the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier. But as you will see in our analysis, there are only 22 complete subjects. To be able to get to the total of 24 subjects you need to include two incomplete presentations of the subject. The first incomplete appearance is in measure 14:

The 4 last notes are missing, yet this voice enters in a stretto, so you really hear it as a subject entrance even if the 4 last notes are missing.

The second incomplete appearance is in measure 15 where only the first 7 notes are presented:

In the third incomplete appearance in measure 20, we only hear the first 3 notes (although you may find some relations between the sixteenth notes in the next measure with the 32ths notes of the subject):

It is up to you to decide...

Follows the complete analysis of the fugue. We have numbered the subject and answers appearance. Incomplete appearances, appear in green color:

©2005 José Rodríguez Alvira. Published by


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José Rodríguez Alvira.