Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Haiku Wednesday: The Great 48


View through a kaleidoscope

The Great 48
Await my attentive ears
And eyes: a wonder:

A stained glass window,
A kaleidoscope of notes
Gliding so smoothly.

Carefully crafted
Interlocking harmonies
Seamlessly progress

From key to key and,
Through light and shadow, we make
A splendid journey.

The Great 48 refers to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, two books of preludes and fugues in all the major and minor keys.

As I continue to work on my own fugue, I gain better understanding (and greater appreciation) for the form.  My plan today is to listen to and read through some Bach fugues.  This is an endeavor that is certain to instill some humility.  It reminds me of the “we’re not worthy!” scene from the movie Wayne’s World.

You can see the first book of preludes and fugues performed by Kimiko Ishizaka at this link.  If you would like to follow a scrolling score, you may do so at this link.  If the fugue has four voices, each is presented on its own staff to make it easier to follow each voice.

The score may be downloaded here.

Here is a page with a wealth of information and references on the Well-Tempered Clavier.

And let’s not forget!

I find myself incapable of leaving without giving you a video of Glenn Gould playing Bach.  Here is Glenn Gould playing the Prelude in B-flat Minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2.  Enjoy!


Image attribution:  Image through a kaleidoscope by Hide-sp, [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons,

2 thoughts on “Haiku Wednesday: The Great 48

  1. Great choices! Eager to hear the fugue-



  2. That Gould clip is fantastic. His (and Bach’s) direction never wavers in this monster of a fugue.


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