Six Little Preludes (Bach)
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Six Little Preludes Bach

The Six Little Preludes (BWV 933-938) are a group of preludes written by the composer Johann Sebastian Bach for harpsichord. They are all short, pedagogical efforts written in or around the period of 1717-1720, but they were not published until 1802. These pieces are all short but require a strong understanding of technique.[] This is one of a series of 18 preludes[which?] Bach sporadically produced around 1717-1720, primarily for instructive purposes, and were not intended for public performance.[clarification needed][]

Little Prelude in C major, BWV 933

Little Prelude in C major, BWV 933 being played on a harpsichord by Gérard Janot

The C major prelude consists of two brief sections, repeated as a pair, followed by a variation on each section, again repeated as a pair.[][1] The first segment demands complete independence of the right and left hands, with the left hand providing a busy accompaniment.[] The bass material becomes more rudimentary in the second segment, as the treble adopts f of this prelude makes minimal changes to the basic material, mainly brightening it by lifting the slightly altered melody into a higher register.[]

Little Prelude in C minor, BWV 934

Prelude BWV 934 being played on a harpsichord by Gérard Janot

This C minor effort is similar to a minuet.[][2] It features a lively angular theme.[] The theme and second subject are played through twice and vary considerably on their third appearance.[] This piece generally lasts just over a minute.[]

Little Prelude in D minor, BWV 935

The Little Prelude in D minor contains features that are similar to a two-part invention.[][3] This work generally lasts about a minute and a half.[]

Little Prelude in D major, BWV 936

This Prelude has features associated with a trio sonata: it contains two upper lines and a roving bass part underpinning them.[][4] The work opens with a lively theme.[] It is played through twice, then varied on its third appearance, showing much development.[]

Little Prelude in E major, BWV 937

This E major Prelude follows a left hand staccato pattern which the right hand then follows along with, which is a common Bach pattern used in his pieces.[5][] Unlike Prelude in E minor, this piece is interpreting a more lively scenario indicating that it is major, though Bach's frequently used mordents are not as common in this prelude.[]

Correction: there is no left hand staccato pattern in Bach's Little Prelude in E major, BMV 937.[]

Little Prelude in E minor, BWV 938

This E minor prelude contains features similar to the composer's inventions.[][6] Bach follows a pattern used in many of the pieces in the set, in presenting the main thematic material twice in more or less the same form, then developing it.[] This piece is approximately one-and-a-half minutes long.


  1. ^ BWV 933 in The Mutopia Project: Praeludium Nr. 1, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
  2. ^ BWV 934 in The Mutopia Project: Praeludium Nr. 2, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
  3. ^ BWV 935 in The Mutopia Project: Praeludium Nr. 3, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
  4. ^ BWV 936 in The Mutopia Project: Praeludium Nr. 4, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
  5. ^ BWV 937 in The Mutopia Project: Praeludium Nr. 5, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
  6. ^ BWV 938 in The Mutopia Project: Praeludium Nr. 6, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

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