The Well-Tempered Clavier

Collection of keyboard music by J.S. Bach / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, consists of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys for keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the composer's time, clavier referred to a variety of stringed keyboard instruments, most typically the harpsichord or clavichord, but excluding the organ, which is not a stringed keyboard.

Title page of Das Wohltemperierte Clavier, Book 1 (autograph)

The modern German spelling for the collection is Das wohltemperierte Klavier (WTK; German pronunciation: [das ˌvoːlˌtɛmpəˈʁiːɐ̯tə klaˈviːɐ̯]). Bach gave the title Das Wohltemperirte Clavier to a book of preludes and fugues in all 24 keys, major and minor, dated 1722, composed "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study". Some 20 years later, Bach compiled a second book of the same kind (24 pairs of preludes and fugues), which became known as The Well-Tempered Clavier, Part Two (in German: Zweyter Theil, modern spelling: Zweiter Teil).

Modern editions usually refer to both parts as The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (WTC 1) and The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (WTC 2), respectively.[1] The collection is generally regarded as one of the most important works in the history of classical music.[2]