Short Prelude & Fugue No.4

Johann Sebastian Bach

Short Prelude & Fugue No.4 in F major

BWV556

About this work

This is No. 4 in the set of Short Preludes and Fugues (8), a group of compositions once attributed to Bach but now generally dismissed as the work of another. Yet some musicologists still believe that Bach could be the author or at least the author of parts of these eight pieces. For one thing, passages from the works often divulge characteristics associated with Bach's style, and those that show a more simplistic, less-Bach-like manner may be the result of the composer designing these pieces for keyboard students. This F major effort bears some similarity to the D minor Second (BWV 554) and to the G minor Sixth (BWV 558) in that their prelude sections are in ternary form. No. 4's Prelude here is lively and bright, even if its harmonies are not particularly imaginative. It features a motif that bears a likeness to one in the finale of Bach's Pastorale in F major (BWV 590). The Fugue has a more stately manner, but also exudes a measure of joy. Again, while the main line is engaging, the accompaniment does not divulge Bach's usual deft contrapuntal skills, nor is the development noteworthy. Still, this two-and-a-half or three-minute work is attractive, if relatively simple and straightforward.

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